What is Division of Labor?

Definition: Division of labor is a work method where a given production process is separated in small portions to increase productivity. It is a way to split the workflow within different workers, allowing them to focus entirely on a simple-to-perform task.

What Does Division of Labor Mean?

This work system has been employed since ancient times to increase the efficiency of production processes. It can be applied to almost any process since its fundamental essence is to divide activities into small portions that can be performed by almost any individual regardless of their skills or training. This concept was one of the essential methods employed during the Industrial Revolution. It created a lot of job positions for unskilled workers and it was very effective for mass production.

The idea behind it is that, the less complicated the activity, the easier it is to hire someone to fill the position. On the other hand, since the tasks given were very mechanical and required almost no analysis or reasoning, the workforce was cheap and that increased the company’s profitability. A regular assembly line will start with a given raw material manipulated and passed on by certain worker and along the line many others were waiting for the person next to them to finish their part so they can start doing theirs.

Example

Granny Cards LLC is a company that produces greeting cards for many different life situations. It is a small business founded by Mrs. Laurie and she operates everything alongside with her two daughters. They offer many different designs picked by its customers on an online website. They can customize their card as they wish and after that, the design is sent trough the site to Mrs. Laurie who divided the workflow into these stages: spelling and grammar review, printing, folding, wrapping and shipping.

All card designs are received and checked by Mrs. Laurie, after that the design is sent to her oldest daughter, who is in charge of printing, folding and wrapping the card. Finally the card is handled and shipped by the younger daughter. This division of labor have created a highly efficient work environment and the business is growing bigger each day.