Design of jobs: selected readings; (Penguin education) by Louis E Davis

By Louis E Davis

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It is false to assume that the growing complexity of machines is reflected in the skills of workers who operate them; a hasty visit, for example, to modern shops filled with transfer machines will supply convincing evidence on this point. The most refined form of the optimistic thesis, as defended by Ford and by admirers of the new methods of 1. The term used by M. Touraine is l'ouvrier sp~cialis~. the specialized worker; unfortunately this gives in English an impression quite the reverse of the French, implying as it does a worker with specialized skills.

1. The subordination of those aspects of the job concerned with skill to the social and organizational aspects, rules out of phases B and C the illusions of the technocrats. That in the course of the development of industry the role of the technician will be increased is incontestable, but output and productivity depend more and more on organizational social factors, the 'climate' of the enter· prise, and above all on the attitude of the workers to their work. 8. In recalling here the expressions employed by G.

Taylor gave his first lectures to American engineers in 1895 (the year, one might note wryly, that Freud and Breuer published their Studies in Hysteria, the 'breakthrough' of psychoanalysis). But it was in 1899 that Taylor achieved fame when he taught a Dutchman named Schmidt to shovel forty-seven tons instead of twelve-and-a-half tons of pig iron a day. Every detail of the man's job was specified: the size of the shovel, the bite into the pile, the weight of the scoop, the distance to walk, the arc of the swing and the rest periods that Schmidt should take.

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