Why Work Matters in the Division of Labour

The division of work, which is also known as division of labor, is breaking down a work into a sequence of stages and assigned to a group of people, so it requires several steps to fully complete the job.

A French sociologist Emile Durkheim is considered as the father of sociology. In his book The Division of Labor in Society he introduced how the division of labor, meaning different individuals being responsible for certain jobs, benefits society as it increases productive capacity of workers. Specialization is the way for people to compete in larger societies.

Durkheim also developed model of contrasting social order types, mechanical solidarity, and organic solidarity. For mechanical solidarity, it refers to social bonds based on people’s common belief, likeness, or common ritual. People who participated in mechanical solidarity are identical in many ways and are united automatically. However, organic solidarity is based on individual differences. Such solidarity is supported by division of labor, in which people specialize in various occupations. In Durkheim’s opinion, division of labor is positively correlated to dynamic density, which refers to the combination of population density and the amount of social interaction within the population. Density can occur through growth concentration of people, development of ways of communications and emergence of towns and cities. Once these conditions are satisfied, labor starts to become divided and works become specialized. Mechanical solidarity will ultimately be replaced by organic solidarity as it is the key to characterize cities. As cities developing and

urbanization taking progress, social cohesion based on bilateral interdependence will be created. Division of work and dissimilarities bring about more interdependence in society. Interdependence can be seen in human morality.

There are lots of advantages of division of labor. Firstly, as mentioned before, division increases productivity and it is also the greatest benefit. We all have heard of the famous pin example introduced by Adam Smith; it is said that procedure of pin production is divided into several relatively independent operations. Ten men’s output is over 200 times more than that of one man in a day. Another thing is that division is distributed according to the worker’s capability, which ensures from waste of time. As the worker performs same operation every day, he/she become highly adept at the specific work and thus adds to productivity even further. When production is of high volumes, division of work is likely to achieve economies of scale. Moreover, division promotes the emergence of entrepreneurs, whose job is to specialize in organization. Rise of entrepreneurship has contributed to the increase in efficiency as well as the economy as whole. In modern society, globalization has enabled division of labor by unit of country. For instance, some developing countries concentrates on labor intensive production of primary products, which involves massive number of workers with rather low wages. Afterwards these products will be transported to developed countries for further processing, package and selling.

However, division of labor goes beyond economic interests; other than that, it also initiates order within a society. As societies become more civilized, each individual can be distinguished from one another more easily. Density increases the division of work through competition between individual. In order to survive, people must diversify and meanwhile compete for same resources in the society. As they are more divided the competition becomes more effortful.

Human beings have practiced division of labor since the earliest social organizations. All societies have at least some basic form of division of labor, some work is assigned to women, some to men, and some to both sexes. The division of labor is based neither on biology nor simple equality. Another important factor is the status of the husband and the status of the man in society. Whatever how demanding male’s tasks, they seems to receive more respect. A few decades age, sexual division of labor is obvious and even continues to exist till today. Since taking care of children and housework are effort-intensive, married women spend less effort each hour of work than that of married men under the same working length. As a result, married women usually have lower hourly wages in the same market. Some of them choose comparatively less demanding jobs. Responsibilities society puts on married women for childcare and housework has a big influence on salary and occupational differences between women and men. This division is justified, and moral precepts are part of the social experience of boys and girls in society. In early social interactions, young people begin to acquire their parents’ values and skills. With the development of industrialization, however, the division of labor became more complex than any other system of production. Work has been divided into several different occupations for which everyone is qualified.

A movie called “On the Basis od Sex” tells story of legendary female judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s career in the struggle of fighting for gender equality, and she is also the second female judge to enter the supreme court. The historical background was in New York in 1960s and 70s, during which time even an outstanding female law school graduate cannot be employed by any of the 13 law firms she visited. Her knowledge and ability was not acknowledged by the employers; meanwhile the man she helped win the case for has never been married and taking care of his mother alone at home, no one believed that a adult male would be willing to do that and doubted him for “stealing tax”. What happened to them was an expression of the gender segregation in employment. People believed that occupations in certain fields are specifically for male or for female only. This also reflected in domestic division of labor. A study in 2016 (Man-Yee Kan, Heather Laurie, who is Doing the Housework in Multicultural Britain) shows that the housework women do is twice that of men in white British and black British household. In India and Pakistani the disparity is more enormous. Study found that education influent housework imbalance that in all ethnic groups, women receiving more education tends to do less housework.

Broadly speaking, social division of labor refers to the division of labor at different levels of society, which constitutes a complex social structure. The division of labor is used in a sociological context and is concerned with social divisions, for example, gender, class, race and with forces of social cohesion and disintegration as well as the importance of solidarity. The division of labor is necessary for every system of production. Simply put, it means the diversity of roles within the enterprise, applicable to all factors of production. It is called specialization of workers in a part or operation of the production process. In modern industrial societies the division of labor is complex. All societies have a simple division of labor. This is to some extent natural result. In industrial societies division is extensive because of the small role that technology needs to play.


Division of Labour. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/social-sciences/division-of-labour

Gender Division of Labour. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/social-sciences/gender-division-of-labour

Pettinger, T. (2017, December 22). Specialization and division of labor. Retrieved from https://www.economicshelp.org/microessays/as/specialisation-division-labour/

Pettinger, T. (2017, December 22). Specialisation and division of labour. Retrieved from https://www.economicshelp.org/microessays/as/specialisation-division-labour/

Sexual division of labour. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/sexual division of labour

Essays, UK. (November 2018). Division of Labour And Central Features Of Modernity Sociology Essay. Retrieved from https://www.ukessays.com/essays/sociology/division-of-labour-and-central-features-of-modernity-sociology-essay.php?vref=1   

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