The Industrial Revolution was a rapid development of industries, which transpired in England in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The period saw the transition to new manufacturing processes from about 1760-1820 and 1840. This transition included the replacement of hand production methods with machines. The period is marked by the invention of steam power, spinning jenny, new chemical manufacturing, and iron production processes along with the introduction of the factory system. The Industrial Revolution marked a major turning point in history, which has brought about significant changes in all walks of life. Today’s topic- How Did The Industrial Revolution Change Jobs And Organizations?
Industrialization involved the complete restructuring of the existing production process. Technological innovations increased tremendously. In addition to this, work was now organized under a new organization known as the factory system. This new system emphasized the increased division of labor and specialization of functions. With change being the new constant in this period, here’s how industrialization impacted jobs and organizations.
- Prior to the establishment of factories, almost every job was predominantly performed by hand. The establishment of factories and the technological innovations of this period made the work a lot easier.
- The period of industrialization brought about significant changes in the lives of workers in Europe. Skilled artisans now faced stiff competition from unskilled workers who started working in the factories.
- Though the period started off with short-term job losses, it soon created jobs in different fields that were non-existent previously.
- The technological innovations of this period pushed many people towards entrepreneurship.
- The setting up of new factories led to a more organized way of work, conscious management of workers, and managers realizing the importance of customer relations and learning how to delegate with them.
- The organizational principles were carried beyond the factories to the households. Production operations of this period predominantly centered around the households, prioritizing synergistic tasks. There was a complete re-definition of work discipline.
How Did The Industrial Revolution Change Society?
One fundamental transformation of this period is the work experience. Industrialization led to the formation of a new class in society- the working class. With agricultural laborers embracing factory work, there is rapid migration from the countryside to the urban areas.
With the rise in availability of labor, factory workers experienced phases of poverty due to low wages and increased prices of goods. However, there was another group of workers who won modest benefits from the industrial revolution and improved their standards of living.
The growing competition forced factories to speed up their production process, paving the way to the imposition of harsh job conditions. Workers were made to believe that hard work was the rhythm of life. They were now governed by strict rules that led to their exploitation.
The industrial revolution completely changed the family structure and redefined the roles of women and children. Gradually, the ‘family economy’ was replaced by the ‘family wage economy’ as industrialization caused the growth of wage labor and shift in production, outside the household to factories. With the shifting of production outside the households, there was the removal of work from home.
Families were no longer centers of production, though the transformation was gradual and remnants of older domestic activity persisted into the 20th century.
The essence of the Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution saw a decisive shift in the methods of industrial production, a historically unique breakthrough in the evolutionary process of technological change, rather than as a discrete event occurring in a brief, sharply demarcated time-span. The distinctive growing points of Industrialization were in the cotton, iron, engineering, machine tool, and transport industries.
Even in its early stages, in the last three decades of the 18th century, when the pace of innovation in these sectors began to gather joint momentum, they carried along with them other less strategically significant industries (such as pottery and paper making) which also began to modernize their modes of production.
The cotton industry presented the most dramatic example of rapid transition from a traditional, loosely organized, geographically dispersed, putting-out system of production, dependent on hand-tool technology, to a centrally managed and centrally located factory system using large-scale machinery, powered by intimate sources of energy.
Advantages And Disadvantages of Industrial Revolution
Just like every coin has two sides, the industrial revolution has its own share of advantages and disadvantages.
- The coming of the industrial revolution saw an increase in employment opportunities. People started earning more by working in factories.
- With the rise in new establishments, there was an increased emphasis on administration and management. This created a need for skilled employees, increasing the job supply and overall wages.
- The industrial revolution completely changed the living standards of people. The new technological innovations made work simple.
- The poor working conditions and exploitative work laws gave rise to the formation of labor unions that made the lives of workers better.
- As factories were located in cities, the migration of workers to cities resulted in the rapid expansion of the cities and improvements in city planning.
- As innovation received great attention, this motivated the people to be educated and resulted in rapid technological advancements.
The rapid changes brought by the industrial revolution came with their own disadvantages.
- The newly created factories provided money and job security. This led to a great migration of workers from uncertain agricultural sectors into the factories. This resulted in a shortage of food production.
- Increased migration to cities resulted in overcrowding and unsanitary living conditions for the workers.
- In addition to this, the wastage from the factories increased urban pollution. Liquid waste from the factories was dumped into the rivers and other water bodies. Contaminated water used for drinking resulted in illness among the population. The Government started implementing laws and regulations for the safety of its citizens.
- With families migrating to production houses, it became imperative for every person in the family to work in order to sustain themselves. This forced the working-class families to push their children to work, leading to child labor.
The period of industrialization saw significant changes and innovations. By the middle of the 19th century, it was obvious that the technological advances taking place in certain limited sectors of late 18th-century industry had triggered a continuing process of technological and organizational change that had already transformed the character, structure, and productive potential of the whole economic system.