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Introduction Adam Smith came up with the idea that people should do what they’re best at. For instance, …

Division of Labour | Main Forms, Advantages, and Favourable Conditions


Adam Smith came up with the idea that people should do what they’re best at. For instance, a cook should cook, and a professor should teach. This way, everyone becomes really good at their job. It’s like breaking a big task into smaller pieces and having experts handle each piece. This makes the whole process work better.

For example, making shoes has different steps like cutting, stitching, and more. Instead of one person doing it all, different workers do their part. It’s like a team where each person does what they’re best at to create the final product. Professor Benham calls this “specialization.”

Forms of division of Labour

The main forms of division of labour are as under:

(1) Simple Division of Labour: A simple division of labor happens when multiple people work together on the same task, and it’s hard to figure out each person’s specific contribution to completing the job. For example, lifting heavy logs, harvesting crops, or pushing a vehicle are tasks where you can’t easily tell how much work each person did because it’s a joint effort.

Some people think of simple division of labor as work that a single worker does from start to finish, like a carpenter building something or a blacksmith making tools.

Think of it like different roles in a team, where everyone works together, but it’s tricky to see exactly who did what. The occupational division of labor, like the caste system in India, is one form of this simple division of labor where people have specific jobs they do throughout their lives.

(2) Complex Division of Labour. The text describes a complex division of labor in which a piece of work is divided into different processes and various workers or groups of workers specialize in specific functions that contribute to the final product. In a hosiery factory, for instance, some workers dye the wool, others weave sweaters, some finish and press the sweaters, while others handle labeling and packing. This division of labour can be categorized into two kinds:

  • Division of Labour into complete processes: When work in an industry is split into different groups of workers, it’s like a chain of tasks. For instance, a farmer grows cotton, then someone else cards it, another person turns it into yarn, and another weaves it into cloth. Each of these steps is a distinct job, like growing cotton, carding, yarn-making, and weaving. They’re all part of the process of making something, and each step is its own trade or profession.
  • Division of Labour into Incomplete processes: When a whole job is broken into smaller parts, and each part is given to different workers, it’s called division of labour into incomplete processes. In this setup, each worker does just a small piece of the overall task.

For example, making a pair of shoes involves about ninety different sub-tasks, and crafting a man’s suit includes around one hundred and fifty sub-tasks. So, different workers handle various tiny parts of the work to get the job done.

(3) Territorial or Geographical Division of Labour. When different industries are set up in various places around the world or within a single country, it’s called geographic division of labour. For example, the cotton textile industry is mainly found in Bombay and Ahmedabad, while the jute industry is concentrated in West Bengal, and the sugar industry is prominent in places like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in India. This is often referred to as “localization of industries.” It means that certain industries are located in specific regions because they are well-suited for those businesses.

Advantages of Division of Labour

Division of labour is of advantage to both the producers and workers. According to Adam Smith division of labour largely accounts for the efficiency of labour and its power of judgment. The main advantage of the division of labour is as follows:

  1. Right man at the Right place: Each labourer is given work according to his ability and skills Work requiring hard labour is entrusted to a strong labourer and work requiring intelligence is entrusted to a skilled and trained labourer.
  2. Increase in Production: The division of labour promotes the efficiency of labour or the use of machines. Both, in turn, increase production. If the production of pins, from beginning to end, is entrusted to one labourer he will produce 48 pins in a day. If its production is divided into 18 sub-processes and sub-process is entrusted to a different labourer then 48,000 pins can be produced in a day.
  3. New Inventions: When a labourer does only a particular job, day in and day out, he has new inventions and devices and new techniques for doing it. This encourages the spirit of Invention among the workers.
  4. Superior Production: Each process of production is assigned to a worker who is skilled. Thus the finished product turns out to be superior as it is the result of so many skilled workers.
  5. Less Cost of Production: The division of labour reduces the cost of production. It is so that division of labour results in large-scale production and hence reduction in cost per unit. Low-cost and low price of the product.
  6. Saving of Time: Since a labourer has to do only a part of the job, he needs a few tools. There is no need for changing tools or shifting the same from one place to the other. This saves a lot of time.
  7. Saving of Tools: The division of labour admits of saving tools and implements. Labourer hardly has one or two tools relating to their part of the production.
  8. Increase in efficiency of Labourer: By doing the job of one’s taste continuously one became efficient and adept in it.
  9. Increase in Co-operation and Discipline: Workers have to work in cooperation with one another. This inculcates the spirit of cooperation and discipline among them.
  10. Trade Unions: On account of the division of labour, many labourers work in one place. It militates the forming of unions to solve their common problems.
  11. Territorial Division of Labour: Different regions in the country produce those goods that can be produced at a lower cost than in other regions. For example, Bombay and Ahmedabad specialize in the production of cotton cloth, and Agra and Kanpur in the production of footwear, as these places are adorable for their production. Consequently, the cost of production of these goods goes down. This facilitates urgent of the urgent market of these goods.
  12. Development of Civilization: Thousands of labourers come into contact with one another on account of the division of labour. They hail from different places and regions, having different customs, Shares, and food habits. When they work under one roof, eat, and sit together, they develop a spirit of tolerance and comradery. It paves the way for the development of civilization.
  13. Good Organiser: Due to the division of labour work is divided into processes and sub-processes. To coordinate the work of different workers, highly skillful organizers are needed. Division of labour, therefore, has also generated an army of competent and efficient organizers as a class in itself.

Disadvantages of Division of Labour

Chapman thinks that the division of labour has an adverse effect on the labourers and society. The main disadvantages of labour are as follows:

  1. Monotony: A labourer repeats the same process again and again. He loses all interest in his work as it becomes monotonous and dull.
  2. Loss of interest: By doing part of the work, again and again, a laborer becomes like a cog in the machine. He becomes ignorant of all other trades and processes.
  3. Lack of responsibility: Under the division of labour one product passes through the hands of many workers. If the finished product turns out to be defective one is ready to take the responsibility. It abets carelessness among the workers.
  4. Conflict between labourers and employers: The number of workers working in a factor grows large. There is no direct relation between employer and employees. Both have conflicting interests. Labourers put up a demand for higher wages, but employers oppose it. The result inevitably is in the lockout. It adversely affects production.
  5. Harmful dependence: Since work is divided into several parts, the production of one labourer serves as a raw material for the other. If one labourer stops his production the other labourer who de dem on him will be rendered unemployed.
  6. Fear of Over-production: Volume of production increases tremendously under the impact of the division of labour. Sometimes production exceeds demand. Producers are therefore forced to effect excess production at throw-down prices. It causes depression in the market. Production is reduced because throwing thousands of workers out of employment.
  7. Disadvantages of Division of Labour: On account of geographical division of labour units producing the same types of goods are set up in one place. It leads to the evils of localized industries e.g. dependence, unemployment, etc.
  8. Loss of Artistic Production: The division of labour has encouraged the use of machine production as a result of which production of artistic goods is fast disappearing.

Limitation of Division of Labour or Factors influencing Extent of Division of Labour

The extent of the division of labour depends on several factors. These factors constitute a limited division of labour. To what- extent the division of labour can be extended in an industry is determined abo the limitation of the division of labour. The following are its limitations:

  1. Extent of the Market: It has been said by Adam Smith, “Division of labor is by the extent of the market.” It implies that the smaller the extent of the market lower the goods. The level of production and the use of machines will be low. Consequently, opportunities for division of labour will be very limited. For example, if the demand for shoes in a village is confined to that then one shoe maker will be enough to cater to that demand. He will not need anything, nor will there be any division of labour. On the other hand, if people from neighboring also come to that shoemaker to meet their demand for shoes, then it would surely mean that his shoes have increased, that is, extended beyond that village. To meet this enlarged demand have to engage some assistants and divide the work of Shoe-making into different parts.
  2. Nature of Demand: The division of labor also depends upon the nature of demand then production will be a continuous process and division of labor will take place. On the other hand, if demand is temporary, production will be on a small scale and the possibility of di labor will be remote.
  3. Nature of Industry: The Nature of some industries is such that their work cannot be divided into processes and sub-processes, e.g. agriculture. In this occupation, different processes and sub-processes are not simultaneous. The same is undertaken in a sequence e.g. cultivation, sowing, harvesting, etc. It also holds good in the case of painting, wherein an artist is to demonstrate his skill.
  4. Facilities of Trade: The division of labour also depends on facilities of trade. Facilities like banking, insurance, means of transport, etc. widen trade facilities. It will extend the size of the market and demand. Production will be undertaken on a large scale. Consequently, there will be more division of labour.
  5. Availability of Resources: Division of labour will be more if factors like adequate capital, sel efficient labour, fertile land, etc. are available in ample measure. If these factors are scarce, production will then be limited & so also the division of labour.
  6. Mutual Co-operation of Workers: Division of labour implies a dependence of one worker on the other. As such their mutual co-operation is an essential condition of the success of division of labour.
  7. Laws of Returns: The limit of how much we can divide labour depends on something called the “Laws of Returns.” When it comes to industries that follow the “Law of Diminishing Returns,” dividing labour too much can actually make things more expensive. So, big-scale production in those industries isn’t very profitable because it costs more per unit. On the other hand, industries that follow the “Law of Increasing Returns” become more efficient as production increases, and the cost per unit goes down. In these industries, it’s a good idea to divide labour even more because it makes things cheaper and more profitable.
  8. Efficiency of the Organiser: The division of labour results in large-scale production. Such a large-scale production can be managed and controlled only by an efficient organizer. Hence without efficient ganiser division of labour will not be carried far.
  9. Inventions: Those industries will have little division of labour whose methods of production are old and machines are obsolete.
  10. Scale of Production: The division of labour is also limited by the scale of production. Division of labour will take place only if goods are to be produced on a large scale. The scope of the division of labour will be limited if the scale of production is small.

Favorable Conditions for Division of Labour

Conditions favorable to the division of labour are as follows:

  1. Sufficient Quantity of Labourers: Division of labor is possible only when the number of favorable working in a factory or occupation is very large. Because then alone work can be divided into to the division of labor is as processes and sub-processes.
  2. Co-operation: Workers must cooperate with one another to make a division of labour a success.
  3. Monetary System: The invention of money has facilitated exchange and widened the extreme market. Consequently, there is large-scale production and division of labour.
  4. Development of means of transport: The size of the market is extended by the development of means of transport and communication. A rise in demand necessitates large-scale production division of labour.
  5. Continuous Production: When wants to multiply and trade develops then demand for commodity increases and so production also rises permanently. It stimulates the division of labour.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What is a division of labour?

    Division of labour is a concept where a complex task or production process is broken down into smaller, specialized tasks, each performed by different individuals with specific skills and abilities.

  2. What is the division of labour in modern?

    In the modern context, the division of labor is the practice of breaking down complex tasks or production processes into specialized and efficient roles, often within a large, interconnected workforce or industry.

  3. What are the 4 forms of division of labor?

    The four forms of the division of labor are:
    1. Horizontal Division of Labor: Separation of tasks at the same skill level, such as assembly line workers.
    2. Vertical Division of Labor: Hierarchy-based task distribution, like supervisors and workers.
    3. Spatial Division of Labor: Geographic separation of work, like global supply chains.
    4. Functional Division of Labor: Allocation of tasks based on specialized functions, such as marketing, production, and distribution.

  4. What causes division of labour?

    The division of labour is primarily driven by factors such as specialization, efficiency, technological advancements, economic growth, and the desire to increase productivity in various industries and sectors.

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