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Multitask Learning and the Reorganization of Work: From Tayloristic to Holistic Organization

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  • Lindbeck, Assar
  • Snower, Dennis J

Abstract

The article analyzes an important aspect of the contemporary reorganization of work within firms: the shift from "Tayloristic" organization (characterized by specialization by tasks) to "holistic" organization (featuring job rotation, integration of tasks, and learning across tasks). We examine four driving forces behind this restructuring process: advances in production technologies promoting technological task complementarities, advances in information technologies promoting informational task complementarities, changes in worker preferences in favor of versatile work, and advances in human capital that make workers more versatile. Our analysis also helps explain the recent widening of wage differentials and disparities in job opportunities within narrowly defined groups. Copyright 2000 by University of Chicago Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Labor Economics.

Volume (Year): 18 (2000)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 353-76

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:18:y:2000:i:3:p:353-76

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  1. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Howard J. Shatz, 1994. "Trade and Jobs in Manufacturing," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(1), pages 1-84.
  2. Rosen, Sherwin, 1983. "Specialization and Human Capital," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 43-49, January.
  3. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1993. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing Industries: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 4255, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lawrence F. Katz & Gary W. Loveman & David G. Blanchflower, 1993. "A Comparison of Changes in the Structure of Wages," NBER Working Papers 4297, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Lindbeck, A. & Snower, D.J., 1996. "Reorganization of Firms and Labor Market Inequality," Papers 605, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  6. Jacob Mincer, 1991. "Human Capital, Technology, and the Wage Structure: What Do Time Series Show?," NBER Working Papers 3581, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1992. "The Division of Labor, Coordination Costs, and Knowledge," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1137-60, November.
  8. Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1992. "U.S. Earnings Levels and Earnings Inequality: A Review of Recent Trends and Proposed Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1333-81, September.
  9. Paul Osterman, 1994. "How common is workplace transformation and who adopts it?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(2), pages 173-188, January.
  10. Mathias Dewatripont & Patrick Bolton, 1996. "The firm as a communication network," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9597, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  11. Krueger, Alan B, 1993. "How Computers Have Changed the Wage Structure: Evidence from Microdata, 1984-1989," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(1), pages 33-60, February.
  12. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1995. "The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 997-99, September.
  13. repec:iza:izadps:dp56 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
  15. Yang, Xiaokai & Borland, Jeff, 1991. "A Microeconomic Mechanism for Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 460-82, June.
  16. Edward E. Leamer, 1994. "Trade, Wages and Revolving Door Ideas," NBER Working Papers 4716, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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