Assembly line production is an example of specialisation. Image credit

Assembly line production is an example of specialisation. Image credit

ZIMSEC O Level Business Studies: Specialization and division of labor.


  • A situation where, by agreement, people who are more suited to perform a task as a result of technical skill, location or any other qualification assume greater responsibility for the performance of that task.
  • Under specialization people perform tasks that they are good at only.
  • There are various types of specialization:
  • Job specialization-this is where individuals that are adept at certain tasks are confined to those tasks within the business. For example in a garage we have one person dealing with wheel replacements and repairs, another dealing with auto-electronics, another with the suspension, yet another with painting etc depending on the specialty of the people involved.
  • Regional Specialization-certain areas concentrate in producing certain products e.g. Hwange Produces coal and Katiyo tea estates produces tea.
  • International specialization– certain countries have a comparative advantage in producing certain goods for example Japan produces motor vehicles because they have a distinct technological and skill advantage over Zimbabwe.


• No time is wasted moving from one job to another. For example going from the pottery wheel to the furnace to complete the making of a clay pot.
• Workers become efficient and very skilled at the tasks they have been allocated.
• Makes mechanization and automation possible thereby greatly improving the speed of manufacturing products.
• Take advantage of the comparative advantage of certain areas.
• Time saved in training employees since they only need to learn the task which they have been allocated.
• Allows employees to concentrate in areas that interest them only.


• Loss of flexibility since workers stick rigidly to their allotted tasks.
• Monotony and workplace alienation can result from workers who constantly perform the same repetitive tasks.
• Can lead to stress and injury for example workers that have to bend constantly during work have a higher risk of developing back complications.
• Workers risk losing their jobs if their skill become obsolete.

Division of labour.

  • Each worker does one job.
  • Division of labour is an example of specialization.


To the business.
• Specialist workers become quicker at producing goods.
• Reduced wastage and increased efficiency
• Less time is wasted moving from one job to another.

To the worker.

• Less time is needed in learning the skill
• Worker becomes more productive and has the opportunity to earn more.

See disadvantages of specialization
The need for exchange (Trade)

  • As a result of specialization people can no longer subsist on their own since they no longer produce all they need.
  • For example a farmer would need a blacksmith to work on his hoe and conversely the blacksmith would need to eat.
  • In order for both to satisfy all their needs and wants they need to trade outputs: the blacksmith exchanges his hoes for food from the farmer.
  • This exchange is known as trading and it has been perfected over time through the use of money as a medium of exchange.
  • People trade in order to be able to satisfy to meet those needs and wants they cannot satisfy on their own.
  • Specialization therefore results in trade.

To access more topics go to the Business Studies Notes page.