What is Job Specialization?

Definition: Job specialization is a process where individuals or employees develop specific skills and expertise to perform certain activities. It involves training the person to excel in a given set of tasks.

What Does Job Specialization Mean?

Assembly lines are an example of job specialization environments. Since productive activities are reduced to very simple tasks performed by various individuals throughout the whole system. These workers are very specialized in what they do since they only do one task. On the other hand, job specialization can also happen in other organizational and academic environments. Individuals can choose certain academic paths that will lead them to be specialists at their specific field.

Organizations can also train its employees to take control over certain unique activities such as digital marketing, social media or human resources recruitment. This will cause the person to specialize in that particular tasks, but it will also create a highly inflexible work situation since it will be difficult to shift his career path after some years have passed.

This is perhaps the most important disadvantage of job specialization, since workers can have a hard time to either change their field of expertise easily or to obtain a new job if the demand for their expertise starts to decrease or the job itself becomes obsolete because of new technologies.

Example

Marcus is a mechanical engineer working for a big automobile manufacturer based in Detroit. Marcus has 10 years of experience working in the development of engine technologies and maintenance and the company has invested a lot of money into his training, raising Marcus to be an expert in this particular field. Recently, Marcus started to develop interest in finance and he has been trying to apply for a position inside the company at the Finance Department.

Since his training and academic background is not related to this field at all, Marcus is having a difficult time to shift. A career advisor told him that in order to make this radical change he will need to earn an academic degree in that field and start working his way up in the corporate ladder from scratch.