GMS401- Chapter 7: Design of Work Systems
Introduction and Job Design
Work system design involves job design (content and method), determination of working conditions, work
measurements (i.e. establishment of standard times) and compensation.
Job design: Specifying the content and method of a job to increase long term productivity
Current practice in job design contains elements of two basic schools of thought. One the efficiency school,
which emphasizes a systematic, logical approach to labour cost reduction; the other is called the behavioural
school and emphasizes satisfaction of wants and needs of workers as a motivator for increased
A refinement of Taylor’s scientific management concepts
Systematic, logical approach to job design
Labour cost reduction
Specialization: focuses jobs to a narrow scope
Specialization Advantages and Disadvantages
For company: For worker:
1. Simplifies training 1. low education and skill requirements
2. High productivity 2. Minimum responsibilities
3. Low wage costs 3. Little mental effort needed
For company: For worker:
1. Difficult to motivate quality 1. Monotonous work
2. Worker satisfaction, possibly resulting in absent2,. Limited opportunities for advancement
high turnover, disruptive tactics
3. Little control over work
4. Little opportunity for self-fulfillment
Job Enlargement: giving a worker a larger portion of the total task by horizontal loading
Job Rotation: workers periodically exchange jobs
Job Enrichment: Increasing responsibility for planning and coordination tasks, by vertical loading
Self-directed teams: Groups who perform the same function and are empowered to make certain decisions
and changes in their work
Also known as autonomous team e.g. the milling operation in a plant
Benefits of teams
Fewer managers are necessary
Greater worker satisfaction
Method analysis: breaks down the job into a sequence of tasks and elements and improves it
Identify the job to be studied and gather information
Discuss the job with the operator and supervisor
Study and document the present method
Question the present method and propose a new one
Analyzing and improving methods is facilitated by the use of various charts, such as process charts and
Process charts: chart used to examine the overall sequence of an operating by focusing on movements of the operator
or flow of material
o Why is there a delay or shortage at this point?
o How can travel distances be shortened/avoided?
o Can an operation be eliminated?
o Can the sequence be changes?
1 GMS401- Chapter 7: Design of Work Systems
o Can similar activities be grouped?
o Would additional or better equipment help?
Work-machine chart: used to determine portions of a work cycle during which an operator and equipment are busy
Helps to see portions of work cycle during which an operator and equipment are busy or idle
Can help determine how many machines one operator can manage
Refer to Figure 7-4 page 225
Motion Study: Systematic study of the human motions used to perform and operation or task
Purpose was to eliminate unnecessary motions and identify best sequence of motions
Evolved form Frank Gilbreth, who originated the concept in the bricklaying trade in the early twentieth
Motion economy principles:
guidelines for designing motion - efficient work procedures
Analysis of elemental motions (therbligs):
basic elemental motions into which a job can be broken down
Micro motion study:
use of motion pictures and slow motion to study motions that otherwise would be too rapid to analyze
Simultaneous hand motion chart:
a chart that shows the elements performed by each hand, side by side, over time
Note: “therbligs” is Gilbreths backwards. The Gilbreths are the subject of the movie “Cheaper By The
There is a story that Frank Gilbreth tried to save time by shaving with a razor in each hand, but stopped this
practice because the amount of time spent tending his cuts took more than the time saved.
Micro-motion study: use of motion pictures and slow motion pictures that otherwise would be too rapid to analyze
This approach is applied not only in industry but also in some other areas such as sports.
Frank and his wife were also responsible for this
Simo Chart: A chart that shows the elementary motions performed by each hand, side-by-side, over time
Working Conditions pg.226
Canadian Labour Code
o safety and other work standards (e.g.. min wage)
o Workers have rights to:
refuse dangerous work,
participate in improving health & safety,
know about hazards in the workplace.
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS),
mandates proper labeling of hazardous material
making available material safety data sheets.
Selection and placement of equipment