MONOTONY

Most research on monotony has been concerned with industrial work, since monotonous tasks frequently lead to lowered output and greater energy expenditure than varied and interesting tasks. The reason appears to be that many workers resent these jobs because they find them boring; and the necessity of forcing themselves to keep at the work results in overfatigue. This relationship between boredom and fatigue is not, however, a universal one. Workers can become tired after a long spell of interesting work, and light but monotonous jobs can be highly boring without leading to fatigue. See fatigue.Earlier studies by the Industrial Fatigue Research Board in England (1929) showed a tendency to large fluctuations in output as well as a sharp end spurt among workers who reported they were bored. Apparently the fluctuations were due primarily to lapses of attention, and the end spurt to the necessity of catching up when they realized that their output was below normal. More recent studies, however, have shown that the work curves of bored and interested workers do not differ materially, probably because all workers have to keep up with the pace that is set for them (Smith, 1953).Monotony and boredom depend upon many factors: the nature of the task, the working environment, the incentives, the worker’s intelligence level and personality. Some studies indicate that semiautomatic tasks are the most boring since they require constant attention without arousing much interest. A completely routine and repetitive job such as packing light bulbs is often less boring, since it requires so little concentration that the worker can let his thoughts wander or talk with his neighbors.The surroundings and contact with fellow workers have much to do with monotony. On the whole, uniform, single-operation tasks performed in plants where the workers are far apart and are given no bonuses or other special incentives tend to be the most monotonous of all. In an interview study of assembly-line operators in an automobile factory, the percentage of men who judged their work boring was 67 per cent for single-operation jobs, 56 per cent for jobs involving two to four operations, and only 30 per cent where there were five or more operations (Walker and Guest, 1952).On the whole, more intelligent persons tend to find repetitive tasks boring, but no appreciable differences in intelligence have been found between people who do and people who do not Snd a particular job boring. There is, lowever, a close association between personality and susceptibility to bore- lom. To take one example, a research :tudy has shown that women sewing nachine operators who found the work nost boring tended to dislike the reg- llarity of daily routine, to be dissatisfied vith their personal and home life, to how a strong interest in leisure ac- ivities, and to be under twenty yearsof age. On the other hand, those who did not find the work dull were relatively placid, contented, and rigid.these individual differences in susceptibility suggest that one way of combating monotony is to pay greater attention to personality characteristics in placing people on jobs. Other remedies are: carefully scheduling rest pauses, improving the working environment, placing machines in such a position that operators can converse, introducing music, arousing interest through films and plant tours, and carefully planning the work itself. Such planning might include job rotation and grouping the work itself into broader units or batches so that the worker performs varied operations and has a greater feeling of satisfaction as each unit is completed.

Cite this page: N., Pam M.S., "MONOTONY," in PsychologyDictionary.org, November 28, 2018, https://psychologydictionary.org/monotony/ (accessed May 17, 2019).
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