All Theses, Dissertations, and Capstone Projects

Year of Award



Master of Business Administration (MBA)


College of Business & Professional Studies

Degree Program



Business Administration


Railroads, Job Specialization, Operating, ACF Industries Inc., Union, Labor Costs


The thesis submitted for consideration contains background information concerning job specialization in the railcar repair industry. Evidence has been provided in the paper to confirm that overspecialization has resulted in increased operating costs. These increased costs have diminished the competitive position of those railcar repair plants where implementation went too far.

Due to the adverse affects on costs arising from overspecialization a decision was made by the management of ACF Industries, Inc. to correct the problem. However, as pointed out in the paper the interests of others must be considered when a change of this nature is contemplated. The workforce must be advised of the requirement for making changes in their work environment. The union representation must be included in the planning and implementation of.change that impact on compensation and the conditions of employment.

Changes of the magnitude and nature that will be required to correct a problem, such as the one identified, will in all likelihood encounter significant resistance. Open and continuing communication with the workforce will help overcome this resistance.

The introduction of robotics into the workforce has provided some help in relieving workers of the burdens of boring, repetitious and hazardous jobs. They may be viewed as a threat to the security of workers unless management takes steps to eliminate the causes for such suspicions.

The division of labor and job specialization have transformed our means of production and resulted in numerous. benefits. However, it has been carried too far in some cases. In the case of our firm, it was the root cause for costs. in our plants being approximately $21.00 per labor hour higher than our competitors. Steps have been taken to correct the situation and we have made considerable progress toward recovery as of this writing.

Document Type

Restricted Thesis


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