Assembly line production is an example of specialisation. Image credit Youtube.com
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.