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Job Specialization Pros & Cons

by Kristine Tucker, studioD

Job specialization is the goal of many companies and organizations because it helps workers become experts in their assigned job responsibilities. Specialization requires training. But once a worker masters a particular skill, she's able to complete assignments without much supervision or oversight. On the other hand, specialized tasks are generally repetitive and may lead to job dissatisfaction if a worker doesn't feel motivated or challenged by her job duties.

Increases Productivity

Job specialization is advantageous because it increases productivity. Workers learn to accomplish work tasks quickly and efficiently, reducing the need for continued training. With specialization, workers have clearly defined goals and well-developed skill sets, so they don't waste time trying to learn new concepts. According to "Forbes," employers want workers with expertise in their field, so people with specialized skills may find work more easily than those without them. Specialization helps workers complete assignments in the shortest time possible, while maintaining high-quality work.

Fosters Independence

Specialized workers become independent employees, once they learn the required skills to perform their jobs. Self-sufficient workers demand less attention, so managers and supervisors can devote their time to training new hires and overseeing company operations. For example, a customer service representative who specializes in addressing consumer complaints doesn't need to contact her boss every time there's an issue with a product or service. She's learned the skills necessary to meet customer needs and address them without continual oversight.

May Lead to Boredom

Workforce specialization can lead to unhappiness and boredom if workers never face new opportunities or challenges. According to the business journal "Accenture," workers may lose interest in a particular job that requires specialized, repetitive tasks to complete projects and assignments. A specialized worker might lose initiative and begin to view his work as humdrum, eventually leading to job dissatisfaction and apathy.

Diminished Career Development

Managers may neglect to help expert workers develop more advanced skills. Because supervisors can usually trust specialized workers to do the job right, they may forget to encourage further career development. According to "Accenture," management must develop programs for helping specialized workers take their job responsibilities to the next level. Without career development and advancement opportunities, workers may decide to leave a dead-end job for one that has the potential for personal and professional growth.

About the Author

As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.

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