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

Listed author(s):
  • 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
Publication status: published in: Journal of Labor Economics, 2000, 18 (3), 353-376
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp39
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  3. Baumol, William J, 1982. "Contestable Markets: An Uprising in the Theory of Industry Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 1-15, March.
  4. Alan B. Krueger, 1993. "How Computers Have Changed the Wage Structure: Evidence from Microdata, 1984–1989," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(1), pages 33-60.
  5. Lindbeck, Assar & Dennis J. Snower , Dennis J., 1995. "Reorganization of Firms and Labor Market Inequality," Working Paper Series 448, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  6. Xiaokai Yang & Jeff Borland, 2005. "A Microeconomic Mechanism For Economic Growth," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: An Inframarginal Approach To Trade Theory, chapter 18, pages 409-436 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
  7. 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.
  8. Patrick Bolton & Mathias Dewatripont, 1994. "The Firm as a Communication Network," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 809-839.
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  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1995. "The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 997-999, September.
  16. Jacob Mincer, 1993. "Studies In Human Capital," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 316.
  17. 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 1333-1381, September.
  18. 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.
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  20. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1962. "The Economic Implications of Learning by Doing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(3), pages 155-173.
  21. Hammer, Michael & Champy, James, 1993. "Reengineering the corporation: A manifesto for business revolution," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 90-91.
  22. Lindbeck, Assar & Snower, Dennis J., 1999. "Centralized Bargaining, Multi-Tasking and Work Incentives," IZA Discussion Papers 56, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  23. Bound, John & Johnson, George, 1992. "Changes in the Structure of Wages in the 1980's: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 371-392, June.
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