Job enlargement at IBM by Peter Drucker

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The story goes that Mr. Thomas J.Watson, IBM’s President once saw a woman operator sitting idly at her machine. Asked why she did not work, the woman replied-I have to wait for the set-up man to change the tool setting for a new run. Couldn’t you do it yourself?- asked Mr. Watson. The woman said- Of course but I am not supposed to. Watson then found out that each worker spent several hours each week waiting for the set-up man. It would however only take a few additional days of training for the worker to learn how to set up his own machine. Thus machine set-up was added to the worker’s job. And shortly thereafter inspection of the finished part was included too.

Enlarging the job in this way produced such unexpected improvements in output and quality of production that IBM decided systematically to make jobs big. Increase in the worker’s pride in the job he is doing is the most important gain.

From- The practice of management

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