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job enlargement and behavoral analysis

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  1. 1. AN INTERDISCIPLINARY ANALYSIS OF JOB ENLARGEMENT: TECHNOLOGY, COSTS, AND BEHAVIORAL IMPLICATIONS EATON H. CONANT and MAURICE D. KILBRIDGE SINCE the beginning of the industrial revolution humanists have alleged that excessive specialization in the in- dustrial division of labor has adverse effects on the morale of workers. More recently, this concern about extreme specialization and industrial morale has been accompanied by advocacy for job enlargement: the practice of restoring to jobs some of the skill, responsibility, and variety that have been lost through work simplification} There are indi- cations that advocacy for job enlarge- ment is becoming something of a “move- ment, ” and this method of job modifi- cation is becoming pervasive in Ameri- can industry. ” At the same time, it is diflicult to be satisfied with our knowl- edge of job enlargement and its im- plications. The available reports are principally of two kinds: (1) relatively partisan management reports of pro- gram successes, and (2) academic ac- counts that focus largely on worker Eaton H. Conant is assistant professor of industrial relations, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago. Maurice D. Kilbridge is professor of production management, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago. A few passages of this article are taken, with per- mission of the publisher, from Maurice Kil- bridge, "Reduced Costs Through job Enlarge- ment: A Case, " The Journal of Business, vol. 33, no. 4 (October 1960), pp. 357-362. The cost as- pects of the study are there reported in detail. ——El)1'! ‘0R 377 responses to enlargement? ’ In general, the studies have not examined in any detailed way economic and technological aspects of job enlargement, nor have they closely related worker responses to eco- nomic and technological attributes of the changed jobs.4 There remain, therefore, many in- teresting questions to be examined. Concerning economic factors, job en- largement by definition is regressive of the industrial division of labor. The question immediately occurs: Under what conditions is job enlargement an economically viable method of arranging work? Students of administration would also raise questions about managerial ‘Cf. Robert H. Guest, “Job Enlargement—A Revolution in Job Design, " Personnel Adminis- tration, vol. 20, no. 2 (March-April 1957), pp. 13-14. ‘Cf. Chris Argyris, Personality and Organi- zation (New York: Harpers, 1957), pp. 177-181; and J. Douglas Elliott, "Increasing Office Pro- ductivity Through Job Enlargement, ” The Hu- man Side of the Manager's Job, Oflice Manage- ment Series, No. 124 (New York: American Management Association), p. 13. ‘Elliott, ibid. , pp. 5-15, offers representative management perspectives. ‘The Ph. D. dissertation study of A. R. N. Marks, "An Investigation of Modifications of job Design in an Industrial Situation and Their Effects on Some Measures of Economic Pro- ductivity” (University of California, 1954) is one of very few studies that have examined re- lationships between technology, costs, and worker performance in a detailed investigation of job enlargement. Copyright © 2001 All Rights Reserved
  2. 2. 378 INDUSTRIAL AND LABOR RELATIONS REVIEW objectives in pursuing job enlargement, while engineers would wish to be in- formed of technical amendments re- quired for production systems. The principal reasons for interest on the part of industrial relations scholars have been that advocates have claimed that en- larged work enhances worker morale and satisfaction with work. “ What is needed, therefore, are studies that ob- tain economic, technological, and behavioral observations about job en- largement from interdisciplinary per- spectives. THE INSTITUTIONAL SETTING AND RESEARCH PERSPECTIVES This article reports a study of a job- enlargement program that is being car- ried out in a midwestern manufacturing company. The firm is a manufacturer of home laundry equipment and is located in a town of some 20,000 in a rural setting in a midwestern state. In recent years, approximately 2,000 per- sons have found employment in the two local plants operated by the firm. A United Automobile Workers’ local is bargaining representative for blue-collar workers. For five years the firm has deliberately pursued a program of re- moving work from progressive assembly lines and restoring it to single-operator bench stations. In accomplishing this transfer, the company has attempted to add skill, responsibility, and task variety to bench jobs that have replaced con- ventional assembly-line positions. , In the period from 1959 to 1963, the company established 14 bench assembly jobs and 50 bench positions. Thirteen of these bench jobs were designed from ‘C. R. Walker, “The Problem of the Repetitive Job, " Harvard Business Review, vol. 28, no. 3 (May 1950), pp. 54-58. See also Elliott, op. cit. , pp. 14-15, and Guest, op. cit. , pp. 13-14. work elements previously performed on conventional progressive assembly lines. At the single-operator assembly benches, individual workers make complete sub- assemblies, such as water pumps or con- trol panels for laundry washers or driers. By 1963, over 60 workers were employed at the company who had at least several months experience on both line and bench assembly jobs. The company and the union permitted the investigators to study the jobs and relevant records, and to communicate with plant personnel almost from the inception of the pro- gram. Within this industrial setting, we pursued the following research goals. The study sought to identify the cir- cumstances that caused the company to adopt and extend the job-enlargement program. This focus led initially to examination of technical, production, and cost circumstances that were as- sociated with the decision to modify jobs. ‘ By including this focus, the investigation obtained original obser- vations about job-enlargement tech- nology and cost factors, and sought to redress the dearth of available knowl- edge pertaining to organizational eco- nomic goals in job enlargement. In addition, the study examined the workers’ job circumstances and their attitudes toward line assembly and bench assembly jobs. The group of workers who had labored on both were available for assessment of attitudes toward both kinds of work. For this aspect of the study the setting offered the added advantages that social, economic, and technical as- pects of the workers’ environment could be studied, detailed observations could °Portions of the data pertaining to job-en- largement costs were previously reported in Mau- rice D. Kilbridge, “Reduced Costs Through Job Enlargement: A Case, " Journal of Business, vol. 33, no. 4 (October 1960).
  3. 3. JOB ENLARGEMENT 379 be made on specific attributes of jobs, and questions could be framed to ac- knowledge these attributes. The study also sought to establish whether worker preferences for either kind of work were related to differences in personal characteristics. We had avail- able no developed body of theory to guide this part of the investigation. There is in the folklore, carried almost to a science, one depiction of people who are suited for simplified work be- cause they are dull, dependent, and tractablef‘ But these depictions are surely value-laden, perhaps even when they stem from close association with the scientific study of work. Accordingly, we followed an exploratory course and collected data on a number of personal variables by questionnaire and from records. These were subsequently cor- related with work-preference responses of workers. This article will indicate that the company originated the job-enlargement program primarily for the purpose of realizing assembly cost savings and pro- duction quality improvements. The firm achieved these purposes. Workers strong- ly approved the program, although a minority responded negatively to new incentive standards that were established for enlarged bench jobs. The first part of the article discusses the job-enlargement concept and identi- fies characteristics of the enlarged jobs. The second part examines economic aspects of job enlargement and reports how the firm obtained cost benefits "This depiction is referred to in the earliest studies: R. N. McMurray, “Efficiency, Work- Satisfaction, and Neurotic Tendency: A Study of Bank Emp1oyees, " Personnel Journal, vol 11, 1932, pp. 201-210. S. Wyatt, J. A. Fraser, and F. G. L. Stock, “The Effects of Monotony in Work, " Report No. 56 (London: Industrial Fatigue Research Board, 1929). through redesign of work. The third part examines implications of job-en- largement technology for worker social interaction patterns. Finally, the fourth part reports the study of worker attitudes. “JOB ENLARGEMENT" Before discussing the case it is neces- sary to examine the job-enlargement concept. The term is useful for it is familiar and descriptively concise, but it refers in a very general way to a cluster of work attributes and could prove an encumbrance for a study that focuses on particular work attributes and their relationship to work attitudes. Job en- largement is not an entity. The following work attributes have been cited as aspects of job enlargement:3 Increased number of job tasks: A central assumption of job-enlargement advocates is that work simplification creates boredom, fatigue, disinterest in work, and loss of self-esteem. Giving workers more to do is recommended as a means of eliminating these negative responses and restoring interest and esteem. Increased variety of job tasks: The assumptions are essentially the same as those for increasing the number of tasks. Self—determination of pacing: Most of the prior assumptions also apply, but the self-pacing attribute is presumed to give scope to needs for independence and autonomy. Responsibility for work quality: This attribute is presumed desirable because it may foster pride in work and identi- fication with product. ‘Walker, op. cit. , pp. 54-58. Guest, op. cit. , pp. 9-16. Attributes cited are those we have dis- cerned in a general review of the literature. Walker and Guest, however, are responsible for the most comprehensive, initial discussion of attributes. Copyright © 2001 All Rights Reserved
  4. 4. 380 INDUSTRIAL AND LABOR RELATIONS REVIEW Discretion for working method: An attribute specified as one permitting expression of individual worker dif- ferences in technique. Completion of work unit: A feature of job enlargement espoused because it permits completion of an entire product or sub-part; an attribute believed to foster achievement feelings associated with completed work. Are the assumptions of advocates about each of these attributes and their positive effect on attitudes correct? It would require a volume to assess the additive evidence, and then apparent contradictions would not permit a simple answer.9 Because the literature offered no satisfactory definition of job enlarge- ment, the following concise definition was originated: job enlargement is the expansion of job content to include a variety of tasks, and to increase the worker’s self-determination of pace, re- sponsibility for checking quality, and discretion for method. In this definition, “job content" re- fers to all work that must be done to perform a specified job. With regard to the added work associated with en- “The pacing feature alone provides a good illustration of contrasting scholarly views and evidence. Walker and Guest identify mechanized pacing as an attribute of work most disliked by auto plant assemblers. See The Man on the As. - sembly Line (Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard Uni- versity Press, 1952). For a view that identifies conveyor pacing as often a source of pleasure in work, see W. Baldamus, “Type of Work and Motivation, " British Journal of Sociology, March 1951, pp. 44-58. There is, in fact, evidence of contrasting kinds for nearly all of these attributes. The point is not that additive evidence does not exist, but much of it is very conditional or exhibits limited gener- ality because of the research designs employed in studies. For a well-conceived review of job attitude studies and data, see F. I-Ierzberg, et al. , Job Attitudes: Review of Research and Opinion, Psychological Service of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, 1957. larged jobs, this definition requires that an enlarged job possess an increase in the variety of tasks performed, not mere- ly additional tasks of a similar nature. With respect to giving the worker re- sponsibility for pace, quality, and method ——the second aspect of job enlarge- ment——it must be acknowledged thas this responsibility cannot be abso- lute in production. But our observations indicate there are significant oppor- tunities for relative increase in work freedom and responsibility when the change is made from line to bench assembly. In the flow production of manufac- tured goods, a worker on the assembly lines is usually paced by the line through- out the day. On bench work, even if production norms are established, a worker can slow down or speed up at will as long as his average productivity is adequate. Responsibility for checking quality and discretion for method also cannot be absolute in a mass production setting. It is feasible, however, in many situations to transfer intermediate in- spection operations to bench workers and assign quality responsibilty to them. It is more difficult to make this assign- ment in line work where workers’ specific contributions to product quality are more anonymous. On enlarged bench jobs, in addition, individual differences can be respected by allowing workers greater discretion in less specialized methods of work. Job enlargement, therefore, involves giving the worker more to do and more latitude for self- determination in doing it. As the following section indicates, the enlarged jobs at the company offered workers these attributes. The section first details the characteristics of one representative job, a water pump as- sembly. Then, because it is impossible to
  5. 5. JOB ENLARGEMENT 381 discuss in detail features of all the en- larged jobs, technical data are presented in summary form about the other en- larged jobs that permit comparison of their characteristics with line jobs from which they were derived. THE ENLARGED JOBS The company began to remove as- sembly work from progressive assembly lines and to restore the work at single station benches in 1959. In designing bench jobs the essential process was to remove work previously performed by several assemblers on the conveyor line and to combine these work elements at one-bench jobs. A water pump for an automatic washer was the first sub- assembly to be engineered for bench assembly. The washing machine pump is a centrifugal water pump composed of 27 parts. In 1958 the assembly was orig- inally being done by six operators on line. The time required to assemble a pump was 1.77 minutes, or about 0.30 minutes per operator. Each operator performed an average of six work elements. When the pump assembly was re- designed for bench assembly, the ob- jective was to have all work previously performed by six men performed at one-man benches. In 1959 the job was changed to a one-man operation re- quiring l.49 minutes for a pump. The work previously done on the line is now done at four one-man work stations. At the enlarged job the variety of tasks has been increased, for each operator does 35 elements in 1.49 minutes while building the complete pump. Free- dom from line pacing is absolute, for no line work is involved. Each operator checks his pumps and stamps them after assembly with his identifying mark. Therefore, operators at. the bench stations perform a substantially greater number of tasks in a longer time cycle and have greater freedom of pace, dis- cretion for method, and responsibility for quality. Table 1 presents data pertaining to the 13 other enlarged jobs. We offer the following generalizations from the data. Production standards: The average time standard for enlarged jobs exceeds line standards by 2.35 minutes. Most bench workers have a job time cycle approxi- mately two to three times as long as they did on their previous line jobs. Work elements: The number of work elements per operator has been very much increased for enlarged jobs, the figures being an average of nine on line and an average of 33 at benches. Average rejects: The averages of 2.9 percent rejects for line and 1.4 percent for enlarged assembly demonstrates a considerable quality improvement gain for the company. The enlarged figures are conservative because the average in- cludes operator learning time when re- ject experience was inflated. Average efiiciency: For several reasons the averages for efficiency are not entirely useful for comparative purposes, but they do indicate that workers exceeded new production standards with a base of 100 on bench jobs. The enlarged-job averages are not truly comparable be- cause they include operator learning periods when performance is naturally substandard. In addition, the enlarged- job averages are more efficient averages per unit of time than line averages. Thus, as is detailed subsequently, the firm obtained more productive labor time with enlarged standards than with line standards of similar time duration. Copyright © 2001 All Rights Reserved
  6. 6. 382 INDUSTRIAL AND LABOR RELATIONS REVIEW Table 7. Technical Comparison of Line and Enlarged jobs (Before and After). Prod. Std. (Min/ pr) Work Elements/ Operator Average % Reject: Average % Efiiciency Job No. —————-———— Line Enlarged Line * Enlarged Lina 1' Enlargedi Lin: § Enlarged I _ 1 . . . . . . . . .36 1.93 6 31 4.0 1.2 134 130. 2 . . . . . . . . .66 1.62 8 22 4.2 1.6 135 119. 3 . . . . . . . . .65 1.78 6 20 4.0 3.0 140 113. 4 . . . . . . . . .82 1.36 11 20 3.0 0.8 150 121. 5 . . . . . . . . .62 1.19 8 16 2.0 0.5 140 117. 6 . . . . . . . . .65 1.01 6 12 1.0 1.0 135 98. 7 . . . . . . . . .36 8.88 5 101 2.5 7.8 134 104. 8.. . . ... . .46 1.17 5 11 0.1 0.7 133 147. 9]! (Job never performed on line) Stations: 1 6.25 54 N. A. 126. 2 4.04 30 0.1 127. 3 5.33 67 1.0 1 38. 4 6.89 53 1.5 N. A. 10 . . . . . . . 1.41 2.81 13 23 4.0 0.5 138 N. A. 11 . . . . . . . 1.41 2.64 13 22 4.0 0.6 138 137. 12 . . . . . . . 1.41 2.86 17 36 3.0 0.6 138 138. 13 . . . . . . . .53 0.73 5 8 3.0 0.0 137 149. Average .78 3.15 9 33 2.9 1.40 138. 126. ‘Average for all operators on the line. These are not necessarily irreducible work elements, but broken down as required for a time study. The precise level of breakdown is not as important as the fact that for this comparision the same level of breakdown was used for both line and enlarged jobs. 1-For a period of two months just before job enlargement. This is the figure for the line in total and is comparable, therefore, to that coming from the enlarged stations. : l:Average for all operators assigned to the enlarged job over the period of its operation. All enlarged jobs but 5 and 6 require operators to inspect for quality, and all but 5, 6, and 10 require them to stamp an identification mark. §For a period of two months just before job enlargement. “job 9 was originated as an enlarged job. It was never performed on line. These data summarize physical and creased job learning time that is required technical differences and, incidentally, for mastery of bench work. The company provide some basis for inferences about found that workers on line jobs would the extent to which workers would learn and reach at least average efficiency perceive these differences. There are in about one week while workers at features of job-enlargement engineer- benches required approximately two ing, however, that are conspicuous to and one-half weeks. workers but are not demonstrable in Finally, it might be expected that the measurement forms in Table 1. At differences in payment methods would most enlarged jobs, workers were re- influence worker perceptions of jobs. sponsible for work quality; at line jobs The company had a group incentive they were not directly accountable. The plan at line jobs and an individual attribute of completing an entire prod- incentive plan at bench jobs. Workers uct sub-assembly is another inconspicu- tended to view the pacing imposed by ous feature. Another aspect is the in- the incentive standards as an intrinsic
  7. 7. JOB ENLARGEMENT 383 aspect of job enlargement. The con- sequences of this perception of incentive pacing will be explored later in the re- port of worker attitudes. JOB ENLARGEMENT: COST ASPECTS The transfer of work from line to bench assembly would appear to be an economically regressive technique that voids obvious efliciencies obtained by extension and simplification of the in- dustrial division of labor. Company data indicate, however, that the decision to enlarge jobs was based on expectations of assembly cost savings and improve- ment in assembly quality. Company officials were deliberate in considering enlargement as a job technology that might improve workers’ attitudes toward work. Our observations indicated that management anticipated that quality and cost savings might not be obtained if workers did not respond favorably to the new job design. The job-enlargement program, however, was initiated pri- marily in response to the following cost—technical problems associated with line assembly. There is an optimum extent to the division of labor on assembly lines. When division of work proceeds and worker assignments become highly specialized, a point may be reached at which the costs of non-productive work and line balance-delay exceeds savings resulting from the division. On assembly lines it is diflicult to divide work evenly among all operators, and operators hav- ing shorter assignments will have some idle time. In engineering parlance this idle time in total is termed “balance- delay’’ time. ” Balance-delay is usually "For a discussion of balance-delay on assembly lines, see Maurice Kilbridge and Leon Wester, “The Balance Delay Problem, ” Management Science, vol. 8, no. 1 (October 1961). attributable to restrictions imposed on the ordering of work elements by fixed facilities and machines on the line. The total standard assembly work time has three components: (1) pro- ductive work time, the hard core time required to perform all the productive work elements. This time is usually the same, regardless of how the job is sub- divided. (2) Non-productive work time, the time spent in handling of product and tools and in operator movement to and from the work position. (3) Balance- delay time, the amount of “idle” time on the line due to the imperfect division of work among operators. The company had experienced costs that were deemed excessive and attributable to balance- delay. When the firm reduced the ex- cessive line division of labor by resorting to bench assembly, balance-delay costs were engineered out of assembly because the one man positions posed no balance problems and idle time could be minimized. In 1959 the firm began experimenting with job designs in order to overcome these problems. The first job trials were made with the washer pump assembly performed by six men. During 1959 four- man lines were used before the compa- ny finally resorted to single-operator benches. An earlier article has presented a detailed comparison of annual costs of six-, four-, and one-man jobs. “ That comparison showed that the bench- enlarged job realized tangible savings of $2,000 yearly, savings obtained princi- pally because the enlarged-bench job design sharply reduced non-productive and balance-delay time. In the case of the six-man line, 21 percent of standard work time was lost through these two causes. The $2,000 annual saving at 1-‘See Maurice Kilbridge, “Reduced Costs Through Job Enlargement: A Case, " pp. 357-362. Copyright © 2001 All Rights Reserved
  8. 8. 384 INDUSTRIAL AND LABOR RELATIONS REVIEW enlarged benches was gained largely be- cause only 7 percent of work time was non-productive and balance-delay was eliminated. Since 1959 when the compa- ny demonstrated the economies obtain- able by reversing the division of labor and shifting line work to benches, it has pursued a deliberate, controlled program for shifting work that has in- cluded more than a dozen assembly jobs. The case demonstrates, then, that there is an optimum extent for division of labor on assembly lines. When the excessive division was reversed, hidden costs of non-productive work and bal- ance-delay were squeezed out of oper- ations and assembly time was shortened. The cost savings identified are based on tangible savings, principally labor costs. Improved quality, greater production flexibility, worker satisfaction, and other considerations are important to the economic arguments favoring job enlargement but are not needed to establish its desirability in this case. But beyond this illustration of job- enlargement economies, other sources of less tangible savings can be cited for which there is evidence of cost savings. Thus, a second important reason for the company's establishment of bench positions was the objective of gaining improvements in the quality of assembly work. A number of limitations in- herent in line assembly brought manage- ment to question it for reasons of quality control. Workers on line are restricted in their capacities to correct faulty work for they often lack sufficient time when faulty work originates at, or passes by, their work stations. Moreover, the worker’s contribution to line assembly often is not specifically assignable for quality control purposes. But on bench assembly a single operator can be held responsible for the entire sub-assembly he begins and finishes himself. Job en- largement has the advantage for manage- ment that it permits more precise con- trols over worker quality contributions and related costs. Quality control records indicated that the firm gained significant advantages in quality experience in shifting work from lines to benches. The data consistently show that line re- jects for the same work previously aver- aged almost 3 percent of production while rejects for the enlarged bench stations averaged less than 11/2 percent of production. The company has been able to reduce inspection and material-handling labor because of the quality control and local storage changes associated with the new job design. A more important gain is that fluctuations in production levels can be accommodated by increasing or decreasing the number of operators at bench stations. Thus it is no longer necessary to frequently rebalance line work and labor for each major fluctua- tion which contributed to general delay problems. Finally, in making the changes the company was able to reconstitute the prevailing effort bargain on line work. In labor relations generally it is not uncommon for managements to resort to job redesign to modify existing plant workpace standards. ” The individual incentive standards established at en- larged jobs were used by the firm, in effect, to replace the pacing of the line. More important, bench output standards were set at levels that permitted the company to capitalize on the shrinkage of non-productive and balance-delay “Sumner I-I. Slichter, James J. Healy, and E. Robert Livernash, The Impact of Collective Bargaining on Management (Washington: The Brookings Institution, 1960), pp. 503-519.
  9. 9. JOB ENLARGEMENT 385 time that was obtained in the redesign of work. This is not to say the standards were “speeded up” absolutely, for the work element time standards for both line and benches were set by a system of predetermined times, assuring a high degree of consistency between standards for both kinds of job. Element times, therefore, were virtually the same at benches. But the work pace was re- constituted by the elimination of non- productive and balance-delay time. This is precisely the kind of case where en- gineers would claim no “speed up, ” only more eflicient engineering. This is a correct engineering perspective, but one that workers might, nevertheless, per- ceive as “speed up” in terms of the pre- vious effort bargain. It is extremely difficult to price the net gains of such an outcome, but the tangible gains previously illustrated on the pump assembly, and the other evi- dence of less tangible savings, suggest the net gains would not be negligible. JOB ENLARGEMENT AND SOCIAL INTERACTION An attribute of job enlargement that is a necessary consequence of engineer- ing and space requirements is relative social isolation. Because bench positions are stationary and parts do not arrive by conveyor flow, the job design requires considerable storage of materials. This local storage feature means that con- siderable square footage is allocated to the work area of one position. The re- sult is that workers tend to be some dis- tance from each other. Because we anticipated that social distance dif- ferences of this sort might influence worker attitudes, the differences in jobs were examined by two methods. One investigation measured social interaction opportunities and another observed actual worker interaction pat- terns. The interaction opportunity study was designed to measure spacial and visual relationships in enlarged work stations and to compare these relation- ships with an equivalent number of typical line stations. The social inter- action activity study was designed to measure the kind and amount of social interaction actually engaged in by workers on enlarged jobs and to com- pare these with the social interactions of workers in typical line jobs.13 The data from both studies in- dicate that opportunities and amounts of interaction at work stations are sharply curtailed in the change to bench work. The data also support the in- ference that conditions are less favorable for development of stable informal groups among workers at enlarged jobs. Work attitude data, reported later, re- veal that workers do respond to these differences. “ The summary in Table 2 shows the average opportunity for social inter- actions for typical assembly-line and “The social interaction opportunity study was performed as follows: For each of the fifty enlarged-job stations in the company, sketches were prepared, work-place distances were measured, and neighboring operators counted. This was done independently by three persons. Each person recorded the data for each work station on a “social setting” form and these data were averaged to arrive at a pooled judgment for each station. The fifty stations were then totaled and averaged to give the summary data of the table. The same general procedure was used in ar- riving at the summary data for the line stations. “These studies tell nothing about actual in- formal group structure before or after job en- largement. We have no way of knowing from these studies what groups existed previously on the lines, whether they were disrupted by job enlargement, or what group structure, if any, has evolved around the enlarged jobs. We did not make observations about informal group structure, given competing objectives of the study. Copyright © 2001 All Rights Reserved
  10. 10. 386 INDUSTRIAL AND LABOR RELATIONS REVIEW Table 2. Social Interaction Opportunity —— Average Station. * Line Enlarged 5!‘ -ltL>JNv- Distance to nearest neighbor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Distance to second nearest neighbor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.88 ft. 16.04 ft. Number of operators stationed within distance of twenty feet of subject. . . . 5.03 2.68 Number of other operators he can talk to in normal, loud factory voice, considering noise level . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.84 ft. 9.58 ft. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.97 1.76 Number of other operators within his vision to whom he can shout . . . . . . . . 8.09 3.62 6. Number of other operators within 70 feet that he can see from his normal working position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12.25 5.56 7. Of which, within 30 feet (limit of lip reading and sign language) . . . . . . . . 6.62 3.42 8. And between 30 to 70 feet (limit of interest) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.63 2.14 9. Percent of 360-degree vista normally open for view out of work station. . . . 74.4% 57.5% 10. Distance to nearest aisle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11.09 ft. 21.36 ft. 11. Of which, percent are main aisles (traflfic of 20 or more persons per hour) 81% 20% 12. Visitations per day by personnel on business: Supervisor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.06 3.46 Inspector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64 2.28 Supply man . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.03 2.16 Other (time keeper, industrial engineer, union steward) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 1.01 Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.86 8.91 ‘Based on 32 typical line stations and 50 enlarged-job stations. Only 32 of the enlarged-job stations were being used at the time of the study, but the data were recorded as though all 50 stations were occupied. enlarged-job work stations. The table indicates that, for the enlarged job, the distances to the operator’s nearest and next nearest neighbor are about twice what they had been on the line. Add to this relative isolation the fact that their work is in no way interdependent, and it would seem that the occasion for the formation of groups is reduced. Apart from the formation of groups, the worker in the enlarged job is rela- tively deprived of casual social contacts. This is due to the sparsity of workers in his vicinity and to the blocking of his view by his work station which is built up around him to hold necessary materials and tools. The worker is also more remote from aisle traffic. In general, the study indicated that opportunities for social interaction are reduced by about one-half at enlarged work. The social interaction activity study consisted of a large number of instan- taneous observations of workers activity taken at random intervals over an ex-' tended time period.15 The workers ob- served occupied thirty-two enlarged-job stations and thirty-two line stations. The results of the sample study are given in Table 3. For each category of activity the precision interval is given as absolute error for a confidence level of 5 percent. Categories 4 and 6 clearly indicate that the enlarged-job worker's social “Seven predefined categories of worker ac- tivity (working, idle, silent, talking, watching own work, watching another worker, out of station) were established, and each observation recorded in the appropriate category. From the proportion of observations in each activity category, inferences were drawn regarding the total pattern of social activity. That is, the ratio of the number of observations recorded for a specific activity to the total observations in the sample was used to estimate the percent of time spent in that activity. For a given level of con- fidence, the precision of the inference from a number of observations to percent of time for any activity is a function of the sample size.
  11. 11. JOB ENLARGEMENT 387 Table 3. Social Interaction Activity — Average Station. Percent of Time Spent Activity Line (7,996 Observations) Enlarged (1,762 Observations) % Time Precision % Time Precision Interval, % Interval, % _: .¥ 1. Working . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91.1 11.3 84.1 : l:1.7 2. Idle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.4 : l:1.0 3.5 : l:0.9 3. Silent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 85.9 d:1.6 83.7 : |:1.7 4. Talking, shouting, gesturing . . . . . . 9.1 : l:1.3 3.9 : |:1.0 5. Watching own work only . . . . . . . . . 78.7 : l:1.8 83.4 : l:1.6 6. Watching another person . . . . . . . . . 16.8 ; l:1.7 4.2 11.0 7. Out of station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.5 : l;1.0 12.4 : l:1.6 Of which: Getting supplies . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.5 : |:0.3 2.6 : |:0.8 Personal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.0 $0.9 6.2 : l:1.2 activity while in station is about one- third that of the line operator. Category 7 shows that the enlarged-job operator is out of station almost three times as frequently as the line operator. This is to be expected, since the line operator cannot leave his station unless relieved by another operator. Many of the enlarged-job operator’s excursions, of course, would produce social contacts. The data of the interaction activity study reveal marked reduction in social activity in enlarged stations as compared to line, and support a judgement that most social activity for the bench worker finds expression out of the work station. The data of both studies provide observations that are interesting in them- selves. But for our special purposes they indicated that questions about social satisfactions at either kind of work were required for the attitude study. WORKER RESPONSES TO SPECIALIZED AND ENLARGED WORK To recapitulate, the study had two principal objectives in examining worker attitudes toward assembly work. The first was to detail attitudes toward specialized line and enlarged bench work. The second objective was to deter- mine if preferences for either kind of work were associated with differences in personal characteristics. In deriving the questionnaire used in this part of the study we were guided by our job studies and references in the literature. Each of the nine attributes of work referred to below were cited in the questionnaire in four-interval, Likert- type questions that gave workers op- portunity to express strong or moderate like or dislike for each attribute as they were perceived on line and on bench jobs. Two questions also permitted expression of over-all feelings toward both kinds of jobs on multi-interval scales, ranging from extreme dislike to extreme approval. Finally, workers were asked to indicate which kind of job they preferred to work at, and written explanations for this choice were solicited. ” "The worker group consisted of all (61) workers who had worked for at least three Copyright © 2001 All Rights Reserved
  12. 12. 388 The results indicate that workers ex- pressed preference for job enlargement two to one, and most of the minority were biased against enlargement be- cause of experience with the individual incentive system. Regarding the second objective, the investigation did not find that workers preferring either kind of work could be differentiated according to personal data. The entire group was quite homogeneous in terms of personal data we obtained. This relative similari- ty of personal characteristics, as well as question responses, made the worker differentiation objective of the study unimportant in this industrial setting. Our observations and analysis of the jobs suggested that the following at- tributes would most influence worker attitudes toward assembly work: Pacing characteristics: Differences in pacing on the two kinds of jobs were conspicuous. We assumed that most workers would dislike line pacing and favor self-pacing bench work. The rationale for this prediction was that line pacing obviously restrained workers’ freedom of movement and discretion for pace. Relative tie to work position: The jobs differed markedly in terms of require- ments for workers to remain or not re- main at positions. Line work imposed maximum ties; a break could be had only by bringing relief operators to positions. If workers left positions and created de- lays, they were recipients of strong fellow- worker disapproval. Because bench workers faced none of these problems, we anticipated disfavor for line work and favor for bench Work in question responses about this attribute. __. ______. _:_. ____. _.—. %_ months on both line and bench jobs at the firm at the time the questionnaire was issued. Their general identity in terms of personal characteris- tics is referred to in later pages of this section. INDUSTRIAL AND LABOR RELATIONS REVIEW Amount and variety of work elements: The data of Table 1 demonstrate the differences in work elements at line and bench jobs. Line jobs had typical con- veyor specialization and bench jobs many more tasks. It was expected that workers would dislike specialized work and approve enlarged work. In forming this expectation we accepted the view- point that extreme specialization can promote monotony and disinterest in work. Work quality contribution: Bench work- ers could control their qualitative con- tributions to work. Line workers often could not correct errors because of pac- ing. The prediction was that workers would respond negatively to line and positively to bench quality-contribu- tion attributes. Work quality assignability: Question- naire items distinguished between work- ers’ abilities to contribute work quality and the attribute of receiving credit and responsibility for quality work. Our expectation was that workers would favor the quality assignability feature at bench work and exhibit negative feel- ings toward the absence of this attribute on line jobs. Relative contribution to total product: Critics of work specialization have stressed that workers who contribute little to the total manufacture of a prod- uct may have small interest or gain small satisfaction from participating in production. The bench jobs, as noted, were designed to permit workers to complete sub-assemblies such as a pump. The prediction was that they would register approval. Social interaction opportunities: Our studies had indicated that interaction opportunities were curtailed at bench work relative to opportunities at line work. The prediction was that workers S
  13. 13. JOB ENLARGEMENT 389 would favor line work interaction charac- teristics and dislike bench interaction attributes. job learning time: Job learning time was often one week longer on bench jobs, in terms of time required to learn to perform at standard efficiency. When the questionnaire was being designed, there were no apparent reasons to pre- dict either favorable or unfavorable responses to this attribute. Payment system characteristics: There also were no prior indications that workers would have positive or negative feelings about the line group-incentive or the bench individual-incentive systems. Table 4 identifies the attributes, the questions, and responses to the questions. The responses are substantially more favorable for enlarged bench work. Very large majorities responded affirmatively to most of the bench work questions with the exception of two, 7 and 9, which had smaller majorities. In contrast, sizable majorities of workers responded negatively to most line work questions with the exception of three: 15, 16, and 18. Questions 19 and 20 gave workers the opportunity to indicate over-all feelings toward line (19) and bench (20) work and provided several categories on a scale for rating. On this rating, line work fared somewhat better. The over- all line responses (19) shows that nearly one-fourth expressed dislike while the other three-fourths indicated neutral, to moderate, to strong approval for line work. The over-all response to bench work was much more favorable than line work. Only four expressed dislike, 11 were neutral and the remainder were very favorable on balance. The answers to l9 and 20 reveal preponderant favor for enlarged work, but one-half of the Table 4. Worker Responses to Bench and Line Assembly Attribute Questions. (N = 61) Question Bench Attribute Like / Dislike Question Line Attribute Like / Dislike No. No. 1. Bench self-pacing 48 /1 3 10. Line mechanized pacing 24/37 2. Bench tie-to-work 5 5 /6 ‘ll . Line tie—to-work 19 / 42 3. Bench sub-assembly completion 50/1 1 1 2. Line absence of completion 29 / 32 4. Bench quality responsibility 53 / 8 13. Line quality anonymity 14/47 5 . Bench quality opportunity 52/9 14. Line quality opportunity 10 /51 6. Bench amount and variety of 15. Line task specialization 32 /29 tasks 47 /1 4 7. Bench social interaction 33 /28 16. Line social interaction 45/16 8. Bench individual incentive 5 3/8 17. Line group incentive 1 8 / 43 9. Bench learning time 38/23 18. Line learning time 44/1 7 “Over-all” Attitudes to Line and Bench Work (questions 19 and 20) Emphasis expressed Like extremely well 20 Like very much 12 Like fairly well 14 Neutral feelings 11 Dislike 4 0 Extreme dislike Bench (question 20) Line (question 19) 4 8 1 8 16 Copyright © 2001 All Rights Reserved
  14. 14. 390 INDUSTRIAL AND LABOR RELATIONS REVIEW group expressed some approval for line work, an expression that perhaps quali- fies the intensity of the predominantly negative responses given when particular line attributes were considered in ques- tions 1-18. Questions 21 and 22 (not shown in the table) further affirrn the patterns of favorable enlarged-work responses. Question 21 asked workers whether, all things considered, they preferred to work at line or bench jobs. Question 22 soli- cited their written explanation for the choice made in Question 21. Forty of the 61 workers indicated they preferred to work at enlarged bench jobs. This is a conservative number, because analy- sis of the written explanations of pref- erence in question 22 revealed that workers choosing line work did so pri- marily because of a substantial bias against the bench-work incentive system. Table 5 presents factors mentioned by workers in these written statements. These categories could be broadened, but the data are presented so that quali- fications and specifications mentioned by workers are evident. An interesting aspect of the bench statements is that pacing, in the several categories, is clearly the factor most often cited. More specifically, 20 of the 40 who preferred bench work cited pac- ing in the context of general preference for self-pacing, or relationships between pacing and earnings, or quality. To some extent, self-pacing is also associated with other attributes cited, especially general independence, independence of earnings, and ability to influence quality. Referring again to bench comments, the quality contribution attribute could be considered second in importance if the pacing-quality factor (seven per- sons) is equated with “ability to influence qua1ity” (three persons). Earning pref- erences appear third in importance to the pacing attributes except that these attributes are related and are not neatly separable. A total of eight workers noted that improved earnings situations were related to bench work pacing and in- centive opportunities. Other specific at- tributes are not often cited by persons who favored enlarged work. Amount Table 5. Preference Factors Cited by Workers Preferring Bench or Line Work. (N = 61) Those Preferring Bench Work (N = 40) Those Preferring Line Work (N = 19) Can set own pace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Bench pace excessive; rates tight . . . . . . 6 Can set pace and influence quality. . . . . 7 Bench pace excessive; line easier . . . . . . 3 Can set pace and influence earnings. . . . 6 Bench pace excessive; earnings same. . . 1 General independence and autonomy. . . 5 Bench: lump of labor theory . . . . . . . . . . 2 General preference not qualified . . . . . . . 5 Line pace easier; more earnings . . . . . . . 2 Ability to influence work quality . . . . . . . 3 Prefer group to individual incentive . . . 1 Amount and variety of work . . . . . . . . . . 2 Line work easier because of experience . 1 Identification with product . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Prefer line pacing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Discretion for work methods . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Can exchange jobs on line . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Individual incentive and earnings . . . . . . 1 General preference not qualified . . . . . . 1 General earnings improvement . . . . . . . . 1 No difference or preference . . . . . . . . . . . 1 No response to this question . . . . . . . . . . . 1
  15. 15. JOB ENLARGEMENT 391 and variety of work and discretion for method rank very low. The workers preferring line jobs did not so much aflirm for line work, but instead 15 of the 19 indicated that they preferred the work pace and earnings circumstances on line jobs as alternatives to negatively perceived effort-earnings characteristics on bench jobs. Only four of these workers mentioned positive reasons for selecting line jobs that re- ferred to other than earnings aspects. The statements of most of the rest regis- tered complaints against incentive standards and/ or earnings experienced at bench work. Most workers who made a choice for line work, therefore, were not responding to necessary or essential attributes of enlarged bench work. They also were not responding, for the most part, to line features that were positively favored. It must be stressed that the large majority of workers who chose bench work had few complaints about bench standards or earnings. Eight of them specifically approved the influence of bench pacing upon earnings opportuni- ties. Also, bench pacing was a factor that contributed to more preferences, less directly, for the majority. The com- plaints of the minority stem from several sources. First, when the new standards were engineered, there was, of course, a range of initial rates and some were at extremes that were perceived to be “tight. ” This is not surprising, for it has been noted that the company did reduce non-productive and delay time in the transfer to enlarged jobs. To a large extent, workers in the minority group consisted of those who perceived their jobs to have “tight” standards. Among the 19 workers choosing line work, 13 of the 19 had incurred declines in in- centive system efficiency ratings and earnings in the shift to bench work. Fifteen of the 19 were employed at the one plant where the firm made its first job-enlargement installations. At the second company plant, where jobs were engineered after experience had been accumulated in the first plant, only 3 of 25 responding workers complained of standards or chose line work. These facts indicate that the firm was becom- ing more sophisticated in designing and installing enlargement technology in ways that gained worker approval. For purposes of this assessment of attitudes, these facts point to the possibility that, without the incentive system, or with more time for management installment experience, nearly all workers would have preferred enlarged jobs. As things were, most of the unfavorable minority responded negatively to the extraneous incentive factor and not to specific en- largement attributes. ” ATTITUDES TOWARD PARTICULAR ATTRIBUTES Worker responses to the questions about particular line and bench attributes reveal further strong preferences for bench work. As Table 4 indicates, the group expressed majority preferences for all attributes of bench work: 47 to 55 workers were affirmative for features except bench-work social relations (33) “The incentive ma-tter poses the question: Is it probable that job enlargement involving shifting work from moving assembly lines to individual benches may not be economically viable for most installations unless individual incentive systems are used to obtain pacing con- trol? In this case it is doubtful that the firm could have profitably established longer cycle times with more elements at benches without using incentives to replace the pacing controls of assembly lines. We suggest that incentive systems are necessary to the economical uses of this kind of job enlargement, and so would limit the pacing autonomy usually envisaged by job-enlargement advocates. Copyright © 2001 All Rights Reserved
  16. 16. 392 INDUSTRIAL AND LABOR RELATIONS REVIEW and learning time (38). The more bal- anced response to the social relations question is consistent with observations made in the studies of social opportunity and interaction, and indicates that workers perceived the bench work limita- tions for interaction. The response to the question of learning time indicates that workers may approve the increased amount and variety of bench tasks (47 affirmative), but that it is not painless to learn and master them (23 negative). The aflirmation for all other bench features is uniformly strong and requires no comment. There were only three attributes of line work that a majority of workers liked. A small majority of 32 expressed favor for the small number of work ele- ments (specialization) on line jobs; 44 liked the short learning time on line jobs; 45 were affirmative for line social relation pattems. The latter response to the social question again is not surprising in view of the findings of the social-interaction studies. The learn- ing time answers are consistent with the negative responses to the bench learning- time attribute. More interesting is the majority (32) reply that indicates approval for per- forming simplified work on lines. It is this simplification feature of the extended division of labor which observers have most condemned as injurious to worker morale. A bare majority aflirmative is no accolade for this attribute, but all other technical attributes of line work were rated inferior to this one by workers. Also, the fact that 29 (question 12) workers were well disposed toward performing a small part of total sub- assemblies on line reinforces the in- terpretation that workers, all in all, did not perceive work simplification as extremely onerous. More precisely, it was one of the least disliked of many dis- liked attributes. It is also notable that 32 of these as- semblers had favorable attitudes to line simplification, while at the same time 47 expressed approval for performing a greater amount and variety of tasks on enlarged jobs. Many workers thus liked line specialization and also ap- proved the enlarged-bench attribute of increased tasks. ” In summary we note that 61 workers expressed approval for enlarged- job attributes in this order: freedom from tie—to-job (55), quality assignability (53), individual incentive opportunity (53), ability to contribute quality (52), opportunity to make a complete sub- assembly (50), ability to set own pace (48), greater amount and variety of work (47), and learning time (38). There were few line attributes favored by a majority of workers. They most disliked their inability to control quality on line (51), absence of quality assignability (47), the group incentive on line (43), the attachment to line jobs (42), and line pacing (37). There is strong evidence that workers’ inability to contribute workmanship (quality) and obtain credit for it was a most important source of dissatisfaction on line. The general pattern of line re- sponses is impressively negative. “This finding that nearly one-half of the workers approved both line-specialized and bench-enlarged attributes is worth stressing for methodological reasons. Studies of attitudes toward specialization have sometimes been de- signed with an apparent assumption that at- titudes will range in a favorable—unfavorable continuum that mirrors or corresponds to de- grees of specialization. Many workers in our sample, however, responded by considering de- grees of specialization in both kinds of work and aflirmed for both, independently. It is the intellectual, of course, who perceives a con- tinuum and may introduce it into his research design, perhaps spuriously.
  17. 17. JOB ENLARGEMENT 393 WORKER CHARACTERISTICS AND JOB PREFERENCES The responses indicated that the re- search plan for analysis of characteristics of workers preferring line and bench work should be modified. Our pre-investi- gative assumptions were that worker preferences might exhibit wide disper- sion, and that workers would possess di- verse personal characteristics. But the responses revealed substantial favoritism for bench work, and the indications were that the extraneous incentive factor biased most of the minority. Furthermore, an examination of work- er personal data did not indicate that workers favoring either kind of work could be distinguished from each other. The data show that the entire group, in fact, was quite homogeneous in terms of personal background data. Thus, in this rural setting the parents of 54 of the 61 were native born and were virtual- ly all farmers, farm laborers, or semi- skilled workers. All the workers were native born. Fifty-four were born and raised on farms or in very small towns, and 56 still lived in essentially the same kind of setting. Fifty-six were Protes- tant, 55 were married, and 49 owned their own homes. Other characteristics display similar uniformity. Truly this was a homogeneous group whose features would contrast sharply with the diversity to be expected in most urban plant work forces. This uniformity precluded our chances of observing characteristics that might distinguish worker preference groups. When the groups preferring line and bench work were separated and the usual tests of differences in means and dispersion were applied, the results were not significant. Table 6 presents results of another form of analysis; coeflicients obtained when correlation was carried out between workers’ responses for line and bench work (questions 19 and 20) and personal data as independent vari- ables. The coeflicients are all small and insignificant. We conclude that personal data variables are not associated with work preferences for this relatively homogeneous group. Furthermore, we attempted to avoid errors in individual observations by inspecting individual Table 6. Coefficients between Personal Data Variables and Expressed Preferences for Line and Bench Work. (N = 61) Correlation qf Response: to Question 79 (Line) Correlation qf Response: to Question 20 (Bench) wzth: wzth: Age . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . —.12 Age . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Years education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Years education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . —.16 Length service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . —.17 Length service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 Union membership . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Union membership . . . . . . . . . . . . . —.04 Number children . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .09 Number children . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -.27 Home ownership . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . —.02 Home ownership. . . . . . . . . . . . . . —-.03 Political affiliation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .04 Political affiliation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Religion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -.09 Religion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .08 Rural-urban upbringing . . . . . . . . . . ——.09 Rural-urban upbringing . . . . . . . . . —.09 Rural-urban residence . . . . . . . . . . . . —-.05 Rural-urban residence . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Father’s occupation. . . . . . . . . . . . . —.04 Father’s occupation . . . . . . . . . . . . . -.11 Father’s education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .07 Father’s education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . —.06 Copyright © 2001 All Rights Reserved
  18. 18. 394 INDUSTRIAL AND LABOR RELATIONS REVIEW worker records. There are no important differences to report. For this group then, preferences for specialized or enlarged work- are best explained by worker self- reports. CONCLUSIONS This study has examined in some de- tail economic, technical, and behavioral features associated with a job-enlarge- ment program. Concerning cost aspects and managerial economic objectives for production, it has been shown that this is a case where reversion of the industrial division of labor obtained a variety of production benefits. Assembly labor time costs were reduced, quality con- trols were improved, work-balance prob- lems were eliminated, and other minor advantages resulted. We did not gather direct evidence indicating improved worker attitudes to have affected pro- duction. This is a genuine possibility because output standards were met and quality in production improved signi- ficantly. But the data of the case indicate more directly that improvements in production variables were gained by technical means: more efficient work methods, and new quality control op- portunities that were obtained by bench work arrangements. The firm also gained amendments to the existing assembly effort bargain. This did not go unnoticed by a minority of workers. A very detailed inspection of the jobs and their attributes enabled the study to determine that workers strongly favored bench work and most of the specific attributes of this work. They especially endorsed the self-pacing and quality contribution attributes of en- larged work. Workers did not respond as strongly for the increased-task at- tribute of job enlargement, and in general, their responses for the “counter- specialization” attributes of bench work were outranked in intensity by the pac- ing and qualitative responses. This find- ing is especially interesting because the added-work feature has been considered central to arguments for job enlarge- ment. The responses to line work were con- siderably more negative, but we did not find workers as totally alienated toward line jobs as some commentaries in the literature have depicted them to be. Nearly one-half expressed favorable over-all attitudes to line work, but of course, their responses to specific line attribute questions were much less favorable. The results demonstrate that it pays to examine job attitudes at dif- ferent levels of specificity. The general conclusions we draw are that workers predominantly preferred enlarged-as- sembly work, that they found many more specific sources of dissatisfaction in line paced work, but that the dissatisfactions engendered were sufficiently mild so that many workers considered line work more than barely tolerable. The study did not find that workers who preferred either kind of work, when asked to choose, could be distinguished according to personal characteristics. Putting it more directly, we did not find that small variations in personal dif- ferences were associated with work pref- erences when the choice was between bench jobs that obtained strong approval and assembly line jobs that were much less preferred. We pass now beyond empirically based observations to offer more general com- ments about job enlargement and its implications for industrial relations. Our experience in this case, as well as other observations, points to a con- clusion that shifts from line to bench assembly are occurring in noticeable
  19. 19. JOB ENLARGEMENT 395 degree in industry today. These shifts may be altering the work experiences of numerous assembly workers, and may have other significance for industrial relations. There are several reasons for suggesting that these changes in job de- sign may be relatively pervasive. The problem of balance-delay and associated labor costs is a prime problem in manufacturing assembly today. It has become more acute as consumers have demanded and technology has permitted production of more sophisticated and complicated goods. Henry Ford was pleased to maximize the advantages of his assembly line technology by inform- ing consumers that they could have any color Model A they desired as long as it was black. Today changing demand pat- terns, upgraded product performance requirements, new technologies, and competitive market forces have required many manufacturers to increase variety, complexity, and quality of products. Firms are attempting, in effect, to pro- duce custom made products by mass production techniques. Partial failure in this is forcing more firms to recon- sider assembly methods, and in some cases to revert to bench assembly, which fosters job enlargement. The significance of these develop- ments for industrial relations is that managers may increasingly be using job enlargement, or bench assembly, as a means for redesigning inadequate conventional assembly methods to meet new technical requirements. ” Workers may be affected in large numbers, and it may also happen that traditional human sources of dissatisfaction with assembly line work will be diminished. Equally important, in the past manage- ments have resorted to job redesign where contractual and institutional rigidities prohibited unilateral changes in existing effort bargains during times of swift technological change. Job en- largement, of the form analyzed here, has the advantage of permitting a re- definition of pace, quality, and effort standards under circumstances where workers may, nevertheless, respond af- firmatively because they favor intrinsic attributes of bench work. “We recognize, of course, that shifting as- sembly work from line to bench is only one form which job enlargement can take. The principle has many applications in both factory and office that are quite unrelated to progressive assembly. Copyright © 2001 All Rights Reserved
  20. 20. AMERICANIZATION AT THE FACTORY GATE GERD KORMAN N THE decade of World War I the mil- itant wing of the Americanization movement tried to impose its solutions for national vigor and harmony upon welfare and safety programs designed to make industrial relations less exploitive and wasteful. Convinced that the teach- ing of English and civics was essential for the nation's welfare, militant American- izers used the war in Europe to launch a campaign for disciplining the loyalties and languages of America’s immigrant. This crusade brought them to factories employing large numbers of newcomers. They tried to make existing welfare and safety programs instruments of their cru- sade and sought to institute practices designed to make immigrant workers learn English and civics. Though they failed to make welfare and safety pro- grams an integral part of the American- ization movement, militant American- izers helped shape the educational programs large employers of labor were developing for their workers. The setting for this article is the decade of World War I, when a substantial group of disci- plinarians strove to modernize American society. The study examines the interplay between the Americanization movement and developing wel- fare and safety programs, and evaluates the effects which Americanizers had on these pro- grams. Gerd Korman is assistant professor at the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Rela- tions, Cornell University. This article is part of a book scheduled for publication later this year. —— Emron 396 BEGINNINGS OF THE MOVEMENT The twentieth-century origins of the Americanization movement reached back to the 1880's and 1890's when fear about the future composition of America's pop- ulation and her economic life gripped many native Americans and “old” immi- grants} By the 1900's, many influential elements had joined the clamor for legis- lation that would restrict immigration from southern and eastern Europe. Among them were New Englanders spin- ning out racist arguments, and eugenicists perverting the science of human genetics to fit their preconceptions about immi- grants not of “Anglo-Saxon" or “Teuton- ic” stock? Numerous attempts were made to pass variations of the literacy test. In 1907 Congress established the Immigra- tion Commission. Under the chairman- ship of Vermont’s Senator William P. Dillingham, the Commission labored for three years in order to demonstrate that the nation had to adopt effective restric- tive legislation to keep out southern and eastern Europeansfi The growing clamor for restricting ‘Merle E. Curti, The Roots of American Loyal- ty (New York: Columbia University Press, 1946), pp. 74, 184-187; John Higham, Strangers in the Land: Patterns of American Nativism, 1860-1925 (New Brunswick, N. ].: Rutgers University Press, 1955), pp. 1-182. ’Ibid. , pp. 131-157; see also Oscar I-Iandlin, Race and Nationality in American Life (New York: Doubleday, 1957), pp. 57-73. ’Ib: 'd. , p. 79.