Most of the companies do have an overall organizational structure to cope up with the variety of work that is to be handled. In such cases, the company would decide upon the responsibilities that each job category would need to carry and thereby the human resource categorizes employees to suit to the work specialization.
What is Work Specialization?
The process of job specialization is to split up the process of work into individual tasks that is necessary for the organization or business and that cannot be handled by one person.
Definition of job specialization, in other words, it is actually a division of labour wherein it is realized that by giving more emphasis on the scope of activities, productivity increases.
Hence, once the recruitment process is initiated everyone would be looking out for the positions advertised which indicates the specialization they are experts in.
Job specialization is particularly necessary for larger organization where the manufacturing sector would require a different category of work in individual production unit to be done by the workers.
Besides, if the job gets complicated then it needs to be broken down to simpler process so that each task can be handled by people expert in that work.
Division of labour is an inescapable component of the advanced industrial system. It is the advantages and disadvantages of labour in the accompanying ways.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Work Specialization:
Advantages of Work Specialization:
The following mentioned are few benefits or advantages of specialization related to work.
1.Defined skill set:
When we say advantages it is seen that it can be visualized during the early stages of one’s career. When one is in search of a job, having a specific skill set could help one to land a job. As jobs are nowadays becoming more specific having that specialized skill set, it helps one to acquire those skills through training or through experience.
Having a specific skill or being specialized in that work would also bring growth in that division. They get chances to move up the ladder and gain more expertise in that specialization. Each specialization has its own uniqueness depending on the weightage and the depth of knowledge.
3. Good package:
A job specialization means a person is knowing how to do that work and complete it. Companies are ready to pay if they find that person is really expert in that work as there is no one to replace them.
So if you want to be paid then get to know the market trend and specialize in those fields where you would get paid well.
4. Defines quality and excellence:
When a company declares employing specialists for their tasks it means that they take care of the type and quality of work being executed.
It ultimately brings excellence to the work done. In other words, it can be said that each department would be proud of their special skill set with them.
5. Brings in trust:
There is a general understanding among customers that having specialists to carry out services means that their work is done without flaw. Besides that, they also know that there would be quality in the work executed. This is the way specialists are renowned that brings trust in their name.
6. Proud of their work:
Specialists are those who have a specific skill set and if those skills sets are rare to be found then generally those people are really proud of their specialization.
They take pride in their work and often execute with care and respect. They often show their pride in the job they do as there is no one who could replace them.
7. Increases productivity:
It is generally found that allowing work to be done by people who are expert in that field would have fewer errors. As correcting errors not only takes time and resource, it also reduces productivity. Thereby training is provided to make employee specialized in that work.
Hence, having a person who can do the work without flaws will eventually bring out more output which directly leads to more productivity.
8. Wastage costs cut down:
When a portion of the job is being handled by one person then he/she concentrates on executing those tasks without error. Thereby the quality control costs are cut down.
As you may be aware that manufacturing units are more specific on the quality of the output, having specialized people will not allow the production of defective products. It means wastage is reduced
9. Higher revenue:
Having quality control in place with experts or specialized task force to execute the job, will definitely reduce the defects. This is directly impacting the revenue of the business.
10. Without supervision:
As specialization requires training, the workers become experts in their assigned jobs and they do not flaw much. Besides the intention of giving training is that the worker would be handling the work without any supervision. Decision making at a lower level is being handled by the employees who get trained.
Having a specialized skill set does have advantages over the non-skill set category of people. During the hiring process, these people have more preference to be being selected. There are jobs that require workers to have specific knowledge and skills. Such people would be desirable than the others with general skills.
12. Cannot be replaced:
An employee with a specialized skill that others don’t know or have would be difficult to be replaced. If the person has a skill that other employee does not have then he would be the first in line to be laid off during times of downsizing
13. Solidarity within groups:
It may seem funny but you would be seeing that people performing a particular category of work tend to share their views and show solidarity. They often unite for causes or other issues.
Their common job role unites them, join to form unions, socialize together and tend to understand each other based on their similarity in their lives.
Disadvantages of Work Specialization:
The following mentioned are few limitations and cons of work specialization.
1. Becomes outdated:
This is often experienced during mid-career life. When a new trend is set in and the business changes to adapt them, the jobs carrying out those tasks become outdated.
Like for instance, there were demands of ‘skilled typists’ in any organization during the earlier period. But with the advent of personal computers and laptops, this job profile is losing its shine.
2. Mastering one skill set:
Having mastered one skill and having gained experience in only that field of work would eventually hinder career growth. This becomes even difficult when the job becomes leaner throughout the job market.
3. Omitted from managerial positions:
As you keep focusing on doing the specialized job you would eventually be sidelined when a position of managerial is required for.
Specializing in doing a particular set of tasks, people would not make you as their choice for a managerial post as those tasks wouldn’t have an impact on the business.
4. Gets boring:
As you are aware that specialized work allows a person to concentrate on one aspect of work and day after day they perform the same work. With time, this work does not pose any challenging assignments and becomes boring. When the job becomes boring, it leads to dissatisfaction and loses interest.
5. Cannot multitask:
Sometimes, being specialized in one work does not allow one to perform multitasking jobs. As they would have been concentrating and functioning in only one aspect of the work, they would find it difficult to multitask.
If they were trained from the beginning then these categories of people cannot be allowed for multitasking work assignments.
6. Restrictions to apply:
If there is a vacancy in another section or department where the job profile would pay better, these candidates who are specialized would be restricted from filling in those posts. As they are said to working for that specialization, vacancies that might arise cannot be taken up by them.
7. Company suffers:
If the company is performing well due to the expert working in that category, his/her absence would definitely create a vacuum. This absence is sure to affect the performance and the company suffers in due course of time.
8. Limited skill set:
As the word says, specialized work means having a specific skill set. If we look closer we would realize that the skill set is focused and hence looks small. The other category of people who work with the non-skill set would be having more skill sets than specialized people.
9. Difficult to find jobs:
Specialization is when employees practice specific skills for a specific function. Hence, employees get trained in executing the work that is suitable for that specific business.
But when there is downsizing or company tends to become leaner, these people find it difficult to find jobs as they have limited or specific skill set.
10. Loses overall sight:
Companies often see the sections that cater to the needs of their section with the help of specialized task force that focus more on their goals thereby losing track of the overall goals of the company.
There is a lack of communication between the units thereby hindering the production cycle. Coordination issues incur when the production team does not collaborate with the other team or units.
11. Cannot take breaks:
When the specialized workforce members do require to take breaks for a special reason, they often cannot take as there is no one else to replace them. This hinders their recreation and makes it awkward for the employee. This is the moment that the company is faced with this challenge of getting someone to replace their absence.
In case they do get leave or break, it affects the production line as the replacement is not qualified and does not have the necessary experience to run the production efficiency.
12. No socializing opportunities:
As these job categories require them to continue work until the end of work hours, they don’t have time to socialize with their other team or other units. This affects their motivation level to some extent. It indirectly affects their working and dissatisfaction levels.
13. More absenteeism:
As the job is a repetitive task and with no breaks, causes a worker to become bored. There are no changes to the work and it becomes cumbersome to his eyes and hands. The lethargy makes him abstain from work.
The frequency in the leaves increases and thereby decreases the output. Having to do the same job without socializing or coffee breaks every day is quite a boring job.
14. Fewer job improvements:
As the same job is being done day after day, the worker does not have the opportunity to think out of the box. Changes that may be needed for the job is not thought about. Hence, when opportunities do not exist there is no chance for improvements.
Improvements are seen only when the worker gets a chance to review the work process and given time to ponder.
15. Not meeting end-users:
Prior to specialization a worker who makes a product was involved from the finish till the end or sometimes till delivery to the customer or end-user. Mass productions or business needs have broken the work down to specific jobs wherein the worker gets involved with the making of one unit. He / She does not feel that they are part of the product that was produced. Their labour is not valued and is considered as a commodity.
Examples of Work Specialization:
Work specialization is a term which is used when an employee or worker is specialized or becomes an expert in that particular work or task. Usually during project development and management, the project is divided in to several smaller units and then each unit will be designated to individual team or employee.
Here comes the work specialization factor where the employee who is expert in a particular task is assigned the work. Tasks are generally assigned to people who are professional in that type or kind of work.
Example – 1:
“In a florist shop, that utilizes batch productions there are different type of workers, one semi skilled worker collects the flowers, the other worker cuts the flowers and leafs according to the size of the bouquet. This is again followed by a worker who combines all the flowers, leafs, plastic and and a base to prepare a beautiful bouquet. This same set of workers also create bouquets and other small flower pieces as per customers choice. There are another team of people who deliver bouquets at the specified address.”
Example – 2:
“In a restaurant, there are different type of workers, one semi skilled worker does all the purchases for the restaurant, one set of worker does the chopping and other works that ease the cooking. This is again followed by a set of workers who cooks food. Another set of people for serving and another set of workers for take away counter. A set of workers for setting up the tables. A separate set of people for managing the counter. Couple of workers for managing everything.”
Hence, it can be seen that work specialization is indeed having its own advantages and disadvantages. Many companies do not consider them as obsolete nor do they think that it would help to increase productivity. There needs to be a balance of having work specialization but need to allow workers to switch in between or shuffle their responsibilities.
In other words, job rotation could be considered an alternative way. Also by broadening the job role, increasing the tasks and responsibilities, empowering them, expanding the scope of work, are some ways to increase the morale of the worker. Even allowing employees to have time for coffee breaks boosts morale.
It is also found that getting feedback of the performance appraisal motivates workers to have face to face interaction with their bosses. This generates a feeling of being considered and recognized.