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Labor productivity

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Labor productivity


Workforce productivity is the amount of goods and services that a worker produces in a given amount of time. It is one of several types of productivity that economists measure. Workforce productivity can be measured for a firm, a process, an industry, or a country. It is often referred to as labor productivity because it was originally studied only with respect to the work of laborers as opposed to managers or professionals.

The OECD defines it as "the ratio of a volume measure of output to a volume measure of input".[1] Volume measures of output are normally gross domestic product (GDP) or gross value added (GVA), expressed at constant prices i.e. adjusted for inflation. The three most commonly used measures of input are:

  1. hours worked;
  2. workforce jobs; and
  3. number of people in employment.

Measurement

Workforce productivity can be measured in 2 ways, in physical terms or in price terms.

  • the intensity of labour-effort, and the quality of labour effort generally.
  • the creative activity involved in producing technical innovations.
  • the relative efficiency gains resulting from different systems of management, organization, co-ordination or engineering.
  • the productive effects of some forms of labour on other forms of labour.

These aspects of productivity refer to the qualitative dimensions of labour input. If an organization is using labour much more intensely, one can assume it's due to greater labour productivity, since the output per labour-effort may be the same. This insight becomes particularly important when a large part of what is produced in an economy consists of services. Management may be very preoccupied with the productivity of employees, but the productivity gains of management itself is very difficult to prove. While labor productivity growth has been seen as a useful barometer of the U.S. economy’s performance, recent research has examined why U.S. labor productivity rose during the recent downturn of 2008–2009, when U.S. gross domestic product plummeted.[2]

The validity of international comparisons of labour productivity can be limited by a number of measurement issues. The comparability of output measures can be negatively affected by the use of different valuations, which define the inclusion of taxes, margins, and costs, or different deflation indexes, which turn current output into constant output.International Labor Comparisons Program, and The Conference Board, prepare productivity data adjusted specifically to enhance the data’s international comparability.

Factors affecting labour productivity


In a survey of manufacturing growth and performance in Britain, it was found that:

“The factors affecting labour productivity or the performance of individual work roles are of broadly the same type as those that affect the performance of manufacturing firms as a whole. They include: (1) physical-organic, location, and technological factors; (2) cultural belief-value and individual attitudinal, motivational and behavioural factors; (3) international influences – e.g. levels of innovativeness and efficiency on the part of the owners and managers of inward investing foreign companies; (4) managerial-organizational and wider economic and political-legal environments; (5) levels of flexibility in internal labour markets and the organization of work activities – e.g. the presence or absence of traditional craft demarcation lines and barriers to occupational entry; and (6) individual rewards and payment systems, and the effectiveness of personnel managers and others in recruiting, training, communicating with, and performance-motivating employees on the basis of pay and other incentives.

The 6th factor of motivating performance can further be explored under Psychological Aspects of Work Productivity.

The emergence of computers has been noted as a significant factor in increasing labor productivity in the late 1990s, by some, and as an insignificant factor by others, such as R.J. Gordon. Although computers have existed for most of the 20th century, some economic researchers have noted a lag in productivity growth caused by computers that didn't come until the late 1990s.”[1]

Psychological Factors of Feedback on Performance

Feedback in the workplace can be received in two different types of ways. Positive feedback is when an employee is praised and told what he or she is doing right and negative feedback is when an employee is corrected and told what he or she is doing wrong. [8] Positive and negative feedback in terms of work productivity are very important in the field of Industrial-organizational psychology. Feedback in the work place can be both formal and informal.

Positive Feedback

Positive feedback has the most impact on creating higher quality work and more work productivity overall. Positive feedback will also lead to a higher Job satisfaction level. When receiving positive feedback an employee may be told that his or her work is being done correctly and that he or she should keep up the good work. Positive feedback is used to reinforce good behavior and encourage the worked to keep working hard and creating high quality work.

[9]

Negative Feedback

Negative feedback has the ability to slow work production and create less quality work. [10]However, when negative feedback is given in terms of corrective criticism then high quality work can be produced because it allows for errors to be known and made available to correct. This type of feedback is called Corrective feedback.

General Feedback

Both formal and informal feedback is used in the workplace. When formal feedback is given in the workplace it is usually called a Performance appraisal. This type of feedback can be very useful when informing an employee what they do well and what they need to improve on. [11] Informal feedback does not have specific name but may be demonstrated in terms of a pat on the back or suggestion that comes from another employee or supervisor.

See also

References

External links

  • OCLC 317650570, 50016270 and 163149563
  • Figures for the US from BLS
  • Works management
  • Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • Performance feedback: its effectiveness in the management of job performance
  • Providing Formal Feedback on Job Performance
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