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Maximization of Labor Productivity Through Optimal Rest-Break Schedules


  • Stephen E. Bechtold

    (College of Business, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida 32306)

  • Ralph E. Janaro

    (Department of Management, Clarkson University, Potsdam, New York 13676)

  • De Witt L. Sumners

    (Department of Mathematics, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida 32306)


This paper focuses upon the maximization of labor productivity through selection of the optimal number, duration, and placement of rest breaks. It is demonstrated that resolution of the limited validity associated with previous models leads to a mixed-integer quadratic programming formulation of this problem. Efficient analytic procedures are developed which allow solutions to be obtained in minutes using a hand-held calculator. Then, the characteristics, properties, and potential effectiveness of optimal solutions are examined through an illustration from an existing work environment. Issues relevant to the implementation of the models are presented in a summary of an initial experiment in which one of the models in this paper was used to select rest break policy. The results of this experiment indicated that the output achieved using the model's policy was 13% higher than the output achieved when the subjects used their own rest break policies. Several future research topics are also identified.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen E. Bechtold & Ralph E. Janaro & De Witt L. Sumners, 1984. "Maximization of Labor Productivity Through Optimal Rest-Break Schedules," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(12), pages 1442-1458, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:30:y:1984:i:12:p:1442-1458

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ian I. Mitroff, 1972. "The Myth of Objectivity OR Why Science Needs a New Psychology of Science," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 18(10), pages 613-618, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Janiak, Adam & Kovalyov, Mikhail Y., 2006. "Scheduling in a contaminated area: A model and polynomial algorithms," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 173(1), pages 125-132, August.
    2. Thompson, Gary M. & Pullman, Madeleine E., 2007. "Scheduling workforce relief breaks in advance versus in real-time," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 181(1), pages 139-155, August.
    3. Thompson, Gary M. & Goodale, John C., 2006. "Variable employee productivity in workforce scheduling," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 170(2), pages 376-390, April.
    4. repec:pal:jorsoc:v:59:y:2008:i:7:d:10.1057_palgrave.jors.2602406 is not listed on IDEAS


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