Comparison of Mass/Lean Production/Socio-Technical Systems

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Throughout history, a myriad of approaches have been taken in order to develop the most efficient and cost-effective work systems for the American and global economies. The designs and division of labor of these numerous work systems directly affect productivity, work optimization, and the overall success of the economy. Production of goods of any sort stemmed from the division of labor. Production teams were originally thought to increase quality of work, dexterity, productivity and quantity. The Wealth of Nations discusses that if every country specializes in what they do best, then this must result in a more efficient economy for everyone. Before the rise of corporations, American farms relied on a local, craft production market. Craft production consisted of high skilled workers, high costs, low value, and little to no technology. During the Industrial Revolution however, Americans discovered they could depend on unskilled workers to eventually transform the local market of production into a flourishing global economy. The division of labor, scientific management, mass production, lean production and socio-technical team-based production approaches each have contributed to specific industries’ successes.

During the 1880’s, Frederick Taylor developed scientific management – a theory of management as a solution for the inefficiencies in the Americas. Taylor considered work to be a science, and the system of management should be regarded as a job consisting of laws and principles. His invention of the vertical division of labor standardized tasks; by deskilling the tasks and laying out exactly what needed to be done, he was able to make each task take a similar amount of time. Taylor wanted the manager to control all aspects of work, resulting in vertical integration. In the past, traditional knowledge of the work process was possessed by the workmen and foremen. Now, it was the manager’s responsibility to classify the knowledge, rules and laws...
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