1. One of the aims of Donald Roy’s article on quotarestriction and goldbricking was to introduce the effect of human group behavioron the restriction of industrial product output, and to inform the reader aboutwhat quota restriction is and one of the eventual consequences of it called ‘goldbricking’,a term used to describe a person, or in this case, a worker who avoids assignedwork and shirks responsibilities. Another aim was to provide a study for therestrictions of industrial outputs seen through active participation on Roy’spart and observation of his coworkers. Roy goes onto working at a steelcompany for 11 month, without revealinghis academic pursuit, doing ‘piece work’ – workers would have assigned a pointvalue to produce an item, based on what management thought of as easy ordifficult, accompanied by engineers who timed the process.
For instance, if aworker accumulated 125 points in an hour, he would earn $1.25. Additionally, workerswould be paid $0.85 per hour as a base rate, and so if their points were lowerthan 85, they would still ear the minimum of $0.85. Anything over 85 points perhour, the compensation was that one more point made one more cent per hour.
The jobs were divided on ‘gravy'(easy) and ‘stinker’ (hard) jobs. For stinker jobs, the work required was toodifficult in that the workers’ points amassed were too low in relation to theamount of work needed. Roy’s research inferred that workers who clocked in lessthan 35 points per hour risked being fired for blatantly slacking. So, theextent of ‘goldbricking’ was in the 35-54 points her hour range which providedworkers the basic $0.85 salary. The gravy jobs were too easy compared to theirpoint values that the minimum could be reached within a few hours. However, Royfound that whenever a job made more than 134 points per hour, the timers woulddrastically lower the point value for the job, thus workers applied ‘quotarestriction’ – they limited their output by loafing or working at a slow paceto avoid the lowering of the price or avoiding the demand for increased output.
2. One of the main theoretical findings of the articlewas that organizations are ‘social arrangements’ that people in that societyuse for resources. Organizations comprise of individuals with their ownpersonalities, goals, values, whether it be an employee or manager, whoeventually come together to ensure the organization functions and works to itsfull potential with the help of co-operation in some form, although sometimesthis doesn’t happen. This was the heart of the problem in the steel factory–workers put their own interests’ first using quota restriction. Roy refers to a study done by Elton Mayo whoreasoned that this came from a lack of understanding of economical logistics ofmanagement.
However, Roy argued that it was exactly because workers knew abouttheir managers economic interests that made them establish quotas. The workersthought that if they produced more than needed, the piece-rate would decreaseas management would deduce that a full day’s work would actually produce waymore than what they thought, thus reducing the piece-rate to save money. On theother hand, another theoretical finding was the lack of information on whatobligations the managers had, such as to reduce prices and costs to eventuallyincrease profits could’ve also resulted in quota restriction. Perhaps ifworkers were told that although piece-rate would decrease, the increase inproductivity would increase the output of products, increasing sales as therewas more to sell and eventually increasing wages as a result or more profitbeing generated. 3. The main empirical findings were obviously a waste oftime and productivity loss. According to Roy, Ed Sokolsky (coworker) stated hecould complete a ‘gravy’ job in 6 minutes, however due to quota restriction Sokolskymade enough in 4 hours and wasted the remaining 6 hours doing nothing.
Additionally,using his jobs as an indicator, Roy estimated the amount of time wasted was 286hours. Moreover, the limit of output was drastic. Roy’s coworker would limithis output to $0.
68 per hour, thinking he could make $0.85 “limited output by44 per cent instead of by the assumed 20 per cent.” (Roy, 1952, p.
440). Also, day-rate,(non-piece work) workers also participated in ‘goldbricking’ by being mindfulof their output, cautious of the moment when management would decide to timeand price non-piece work jobs. 4. Overall, to an extent, I do find Roy’s arguments convincingas he conducted research using a micro-level analysis by working and communicating with the employees, makingobservations of employees, (and arguably strong assumptions of managers), resultingin a deduction or a “picture” of the steel company. Also, Roy’s argument on the’output restriction’ due to the lack of up-keep on technological advances isconvincing. However, Roy’s research lasted only 10 months, hardly enough timeto investigate the organization at a deeper level. Even more, observation ofmanagers would have offered a better variety of perspectives, resulting inbetter consolidation of the study.