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work study

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A systematic examination of human work processes, designed to identify the ways in which the efficiency and effectiveness of these processes can be improved. It usually consists of a method study to compare existing methods with proposed methods and work measurement to establish the time required by a qualified worker to do the job to a specified standard. Traditionally, work study techniques have been associated with the school of scientific management and applied by specialists known as industrial engineers (or more colloquially as time-and-motion experts), working in management services departments. The introduction of such approaches as total quality management has enabled managers and staff to take responsibility for the design and management of their own systems. Recent techniques, such as business process re-engineering, share many of the same objectives as work study but exploit information technology, which was not available to earlier industrial engineers.

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