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Multi-Task Learning and the Reorganization of Work. From Tayloristic to Holistic Organization

  • Lindbeck, Assar

    ()

    (Stockholm University)

  • Snower, Dennis J.

    ()

    (Kiel Institute for the World Economy)

The paper analyzes the contemporary organizational restructuring of production and work within firms. We emphasize the shift from a Tayloristic organization of work (characterized by significant specialization by tasks) to a 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 can also help explain the recent widening of wage differentials and disparities in job opportunities, not only between groups with similar characteristics, but also within these groups.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp39.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 39.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Apr 1999
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Labor Economics, 2000, 18 (3), 353-376
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp39
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  1. Lindbeck, Assar & Dennis J. Snower , Dennis J., 1995. "Reorganization of Firms and Labor Market Inequality," Working Paper Series 448, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  2. Becker, G.S. & Murphy, K.M., 1991. "The Division of Labor, Coordination Costs, and Knowledge," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 92-5, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  3. repec:iza:izadps:dp56 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Edward E. Leamer, 1994. "Trade, Wages and Revolving Door Ideas," NBER Working Papers 4716, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. Alan B. Krueger, 1991. "How Computers Have Changed the Wage Structure: Evidence From Microdata, 1984-1989," NBER Working Papers 3858, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Mathias Dewatripont & Patrick Bolton, 1994. "The firm as a communication network," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9595, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  12. 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.
  13. Paul Osterman, 1994. "How Common is Workplace Transformation and Who Adopts it?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(2), pages 173-188, January.
  14. Rosen, Sherwin, 1983. "Specialization and Human Capital," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 43-49, January.
  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. 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.
  17. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1995. "The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 997-99, September.
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  1. Industrial Sociology (FCT-UNL)

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