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Journal Article

Multitask Learning and the Reorganization of Work: From Tayloristic to Holistic Organization

Assar Lindbeck and Dennis J. Snower
Journal of Labor Economics
Vol. 18, No. 3 (July 2000), pp. 353-376
DOI: 10.1086/209962
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/209962
Page Count: 24
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Multitask Learning and the Reorganization of Work: From Tayloristic to Holistic Organization
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Abstract

This article analyzes an important aspect of the contemporary reorganization of work within firms: the shift from “Tayloristic” organization (characterized by specialization by tasks) to “holistic” organization (featuring job rotation, integration of tasks, and learning across tasks). We examine four driving forces behind this restructuring process: advances in production technologies promoting technological task complementarities, advances in information technologies promoting informational task complementarities, changes in worker preferences in favor of versatile work, and advances in human capital that make workers more versatile. Our analysis also helps explain the recent widening of wage differentials and disparities in job opportunities within narrowly defined groups.

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