Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Seminar Papers,
Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies

No 628: The Division of Labor Within Firms

Assar Lindbeck ()
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Assar Lindbeck: Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University, Postal: Stockholm University, S-106 69 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: The paper examines the determinants of the division of labor within firms. It provides an explanation of the pervasive change in work organization away from the traditional functional departments and towards multi-tasking and job rotation. Whereas the existing literature on the division of labor within firms emphasizes the returns from specialization and the need for coordination of the work of different workers, the present analysis focuses on the returns from multi-tasking, which is shown to arise from informational and technological complementarities among tasks as well as from the exploitation of the versatility of human capital.

Keywords: Division of labor; specialization; multi-tasking; organization of work; technological change; information flows

JEL-codes: J23; J24; L23; M12; O33

11 pages, October 30, 1997

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