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

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  • Lindbeck, Assar

    (Stockholm University)

  • Snower, Dennis J.

    (Hertie School of Governance)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Lindbeck, Assar & Snower, Dennis J., 1999. "Multi-Task Learning and the Reorganization of Work. From Tayloristic to Holistic Organization," IZA Discussion Papers 39, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp39
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Restructuring; work organization; technological change; information flows; multi-tasking; job rotation; learning;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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    1. Industrial Sociology (FCT-UNL)

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