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That aspect of the factory’s activities on which Thompson’s report focused is the inspection department described by Taylor[4,5]. He notes that in this department the women inspectors were employed at the task of inspecting ball-bearings for defects. This was work that required great skill and very close attention. When Taylor began work at the plant the women were employed ten-and-a-half hours per day. On Saturdays, a half holiday was allowed, so the women worked a 58-hour week which was the full limit allowed by law.
For the first two months after piecework was introduced, the women continued to labour ten-and-a-half hours per day. It was found, however, that they had difficulty maintaining the degree of concentration required. On both day work and piecework, the inspectors became tired before the day was done. Accordingly, in August of 1897 the hours of labour were shortened from tenand-a-half to nine-and-a-half per day and a recess of five minutes was allowed in the middle of the morning and the middle of the afternoon. Notwithstanding this shortening of hours, both the quality and the quantity of output improved.
Do Women Really Work Harder Than Men? One of the standard feminist claims heard every March during International Womens Day and Womens History Month is that women do the work of the world. This argument was publicized by the United Nations during the 1970s (Women constitute one half of the worlds population [and] do two-thirds of the worlds work) and reinforced in 1995 with the release of its ...
Overall, the workers produced 33 per cent more work than they had the previous month. As the inspectors were still adjusting to piecework, Taylor decided it was not possible to determine to what extent the increased output was a result of the shorter hours. However, the next increase in hourly productivity he perceived as being solely the product of the reduction of worktime. Once convinced “things were working very smoothly” in the inspection department, Taylor reduced the workday to eight-and-a-half hours and increased the morning and afternoon breaks to ten minutes[8, p. ]. This hour’s reduction again had a positive effect on hourly output. The increase in productivity, however, was only sufficient to balance the reduction in hours. In other words, although overall output was maintained, it did not increase as it had in July. As output had only been maintained with the second reduction it was assumed the most efficient balance of worktime and work intensity had probably been achieved. Given this situation it was decided to leave the working day at eight-and-a-half hours and no further reductions in hours were introduced.
In concluding the report, Thompson observed that it should not be believed that the eight-and-a-half hour day was an optimum that ought to be adopted in all situations. Different types of work would almost certainly require a different balance of working hours and work intensity. Knowledge of the optimum time schedule in any given case should not be presumed but should be based on careful, empirical testing. If this form of testing was undertaken, he concluded, a very substantial case could be developed for extending the reduction of working hours throughout industry: Taylorism and hours of work 11 JMH 1,2 2 It is not too much to claim … that in a vast number of cases, especially in industrial establishments, the length of day might be shortened to the advantage of both the workman and the capitalist, provided that some incentive be given to the worker, such as the promise, if he is a piece-worker, that his rate per piece will not be cut if he exerts himself[8, p. 9]. A second most important observation regarding the limits of worktime reductions was also advanced. Thompson noted that logically there must be a limit to the extent to which the shortening of hours, in itself, has a positive effect on output.
I never realised how important time is until I started university. Getting the best out of you studies in university is forgoing one thing for another. (opportunity cost). When I first started university I was working full time. As time went by I realised that I just could not cope, so I decided to work part-time while studying. I can now cope better with my school work load and can produce a ...