Work management is defined as the “application of techniques designed to establish the time for a qualified worker to carry out a specified job at a defined level of performance”. Work measurement is also known as performance evaluation or performance analysis or performance audit. Work measurement by its very nature is more applicable to those kinds of activities which are measurable and repetitive in character. It seeks to develop a relationship between “work” and “Manpower”.

Objectives of the Work Measurement

The purpose of Work Measurement is to achieve economy in staffing consistence in administrative efficiency.

The objectives of work measurement are:

  1. Establishing standards of performance.
  2. Forecasting staff requirements.
  3. Grading jobs in terms of their content and responsibilities attached to the post.
  4. Ensuring utilisation of staff sanctioned for a particular purpose or object to do only that job.
  5. Ensuring elimination of clearly redundant and profitless activities.
  6. Ensuring work simplification so as to result in direct economy in staff without sacrificing efficiency.

Techniques of Work Measurement

Work Measurement studies can be conducted by employing the following techniques:

  1. Practical Estimation Method. Under this method work is measured by trial and error method and conclusions are arrived at. The main advantage of this method is that it is simple and it does not involve expenditure in terms of time and cost. However, this method suffers from lack of accuracy and reliability. This method is useful only with regard to some simple mechanical operations.
  2. Time and Motion Studies. This method is basically applied where the jobs are of a large volume and primarily consists of repetitive operations. It requires a highly trained analyst and it involves considerable amount of time and expenditure. This method is best applied for measuring various permutations and combinations of different work units. Taylor used this technique for the first time in Scientific Management Theory.
  3. Work Sampling Techniques. Based on the principle that small sample can produce accurate results, the work sampling techniques, as the name indicates, analyses a small representative sample and arrives at conclusions. The main advantage of this method is that as results are based on statistical analysis of observable facts, it is relatively more accurate than the trial and error method. However, this method involves expenditure in terms of both time and cost.

Advantages of Work Measurement

Some of the advantages of Work Measurement are :

  • Fostering Rationality at Work. Work Measurement studies replace adhoc measures by rational methods based on emperical investigations.
  • Ensures matching of workload with Manpower. Work Measurement studies help the top management to estimate the manpower requirement in relation to the workload of the organisation.
  • Helps Performance Appraisal. Work Measurement studies enable the organisation to know how much work can be performed by a worker with the existing resources. This establishes a standard against which the actual performance of the worker can be measured.

Limitations of Work Measurement

Work Measurement suffers from an inherent limitation that it is applicable only to mechanical and repetitive operations. It is of relatively no help for jobs which cannot be qualified.

Work Measurement in the Government of India

Work Measurement studies in the Government of India have been conducted both in the Pre-Independence period and in the Post-Independence period.

Pre-Independence Period

Work measurement studies in the Government of India were first undertaken way back in 1895. Its first area was the Posts and Telegraphs Department. Work Measurement studies worked out as many as about 150 jobs and they were adopted in the early years of 1900 and were in use till the early fifties when they were revised by Shri Marathe.

Senior Deputy Director General (P&T). He (Shri Marathe) worked out several additional norms and had them enforced. The norms worked well. But for some reason (perhaps resistance to change or lack of salesmanship) the enthusiasm for Work Measurement did not spread within the Government. In fact work measurement did not even find adoption within the P&T’s entire fold.

Post-Independence period

Immediately after independence, the Government of India was anxious to change over from a law order maintenance oriented administration to an economic and developmental oriental administration. In order to achieve its purpose, the Government of India sought to initiate effective management measures in its organisational units. Work measurement was regarded as one of the primary techniques to improve efficiency of the Government.

work measurement

Work Measurement study in the Government of India can be studied under the following heads:

  1. Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar Report
  2. Establishment of ‘Special Reorganisation Unit’
  3. Establishment of ‘Staff Inspection Unit’.


1. Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar Report

In 1940, Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar was assigned the task of reorganising the Governmental machinery and he presented the Government with the report entitled “Reorganisation of the Machinery of Government”. The report inter alia contained various methods to improve the efficiency of the Government. Based on this report in 1952, he also recommended the establishment of a “Special Reorganisation Unit”.


2. Special Reorganisation Unit

In February 1952, a team of officers were trained from the Ministry of Home and Finance and pooled under a new unit named “Special Reorganisation Unit”. The Special Reorganisation Unit (SRU) assigned the function of examination of staff requirement of various ministries and their attached and subordinate offices with a view to suggesting economies and reorganisation in order to achieve greater efficiency.

In 1956, the SRU started utilising scientific management tools such as method study. Work measurement and organisational analysis. Soon thereafter various ministries passed on a number of assignments to SRU acknowledging the utility of the methods adopted by them.


3. Staff Inspection Unit (STU)

The staff inspection unit was established in the Department of Expenditure in the Ministry of Finance with the objective of economy in staffing and consistent administrative efficiency. The unit was expected to review the staffing of the Government establishments through a programme of inspections and adhoc studies.

The staff inspection unit has conducted various studies in many departments like the food Corporation of India. The Regional Passport Office, the P&T Departments, the L. I. C., the Income Tax Department etc. The STU has done commendable work since its inception and its help is being solicited by various departments. Ahmadnagar Experiment or Lakhino Experiment or Reorganisation of the Ahmadnagar Collectorate.

The Ahmadnagar Collectorate, was only a few years ago a dirty, dingy and disorderly place. It has now been transformed into neat and orderly ones humming with purposeful activity. This experiment deserves careful study because its lessons have wider applicability. A brief account of the reorganisation follows :


1) Reorganisation in Outline. 

The reorganisation of the Collectorate was done keeping in mind two points:

  • Provision of better service to the public;
  • Improving the performance standard of the staff itself.

2) Serving the Public.

The Collectorate is the nerve centre of the district administration. Naturally a Collectorate has to deal with a large number of people in different capacities and for different purposes. It is essential that members of the public are not required to waste their time when they visit the Collectorate. And it is equally essential that employees are able to concentrate on their work and use their time without wasting it. Visitors are, therefore, classified according to the nature of their work.

Classification Category (Name of work) Normal Visitors
 1. Matters of general interests, progress of various schemes. MLAs, MPs, MLCs and Social and Political Leaders
 2. Settlement of bills, issue of purchase orders for various suppliers Traders, Contractors, Businessmen.
 3. Individual cases pertaining to land records, permits licences, etc. General Public.


Matters falling in category-1 are the most importance and a separate register is maintained in respect of the visitors falling in this category. This ensures that the Collectorate does not loss sight of important matters and it will be well attuned to the reactions of the important representatives of the people.

Visitors in category II are mostly business and contractors who visit the Collectorate to expedite the settlement of their bills. The programmes of this work are reviewed every week.

Visitors falling in the third category may not be individually important but collectively they are most important because ultimately the Collectorate’s performance is to be measured in terms of its services to the common man.


3. Introduction of Counter System

This system is introduced with a view to expedite disposal of applicants. Every applicant is issued with a token which is to be returned when licence/permit is issued, as the case may be. It injected a sense of urgency in the working of the Collectorate.


4. Educating the Public and the Staff

Government administration is inevitably regulated by a range of complex rules, regulations and acts. The need to simplify the procedures is overwhelming. It is also necessary to explain them to all concerned in a simple way. The Collectorate has accordingly issued a number of booklets on different topics such as granting licence, permits and benefits available under various schemes.

Notice boards are generally unnoticed and unnoticeable. They are not neatly and conspicuously displayed. An index card is maintained for every village giving basic information about the village. This data bank is found to be greatly useful.


5. Accessibility of documents to the staff

  • Disposal of Work is often delayed owing to non-availability of relevant papers. The Ahmednagar Collectorate has now effectively re-introduced the old six bundle system.
  • Transformation of the Record Room. The record room is the information centre of any office. Very often it is in a chaotic condition. The Ahmednagar Collectorate has created order out of chaos. The record room is now splendidly organised. Unnecessary records have been weeded out. It is now possible to locate any file within a few minutes. The records room has now the appearance of a meticulously organised library. Flower pots at the entrance make it all the more pleasing.


6. Desk Manuals

Desk manuals have been prepared which are found to be useful in various ways. First the preparation of the manuals themselves offers an opportunity for a critical review of the current practices. It is thus possible to simplify procedures. Secondly, the staff can be interchanged without much difficulty. Even a leave reservist can manage the work when necessary.


7. Physical conditions of Work

Physical conditions of work have definite impact on the morale of the workers and the pace of work. Using modern techniques of work-study, the Collectorate has been reorganised. Practically, every important aspect such as ventilation, illumination, cleanliness, sanitary facilities, provision of suitable furniture has received careful attention. Clerks sit in a straight row, each facing the back of the person sitting in front of line. Their placement is in accordance with the sequence of work so that papers move in a straight line. The tables are painted cream and provided with parrot green coloured rexin top. The supervisory staff is provided with separate cabins with large sized glass window so as to facilitate supervision. Visitors are provided with special reception enclosures so that the staff can work undisturbed and visitors are also comfortable.

One innovation deserves special mention. Dusters have been provided to the staff so that everyone can clean his own table. This is apparently a small matter; built can be said without hesitation that in an office where employees clean their own tables, the morale is exceptionally high.


8. Training of Staff

Training is sadly neglected in the district administration. The Collectorate has tackled this question with vision and determination. A lecture hall has been improvised. Suitable courses have been designed for different categories, such as resident. Naib Tahsildar, clerks doing different types of works, such as revenue, accounts, and for magisterial matters. A novel feature is that the senior clerks teach the junior clerks. Study materials in the form of booklets has been provided. Each new recruit is required to. undergo a two-day induction course. It is noteworthy that all these activities are initiated without any training staff.

Another unique feature of this experiment is that it was not initiated by government. The Collectorate has conceived the plan and implemented it on its own. But every innovation involves at least some marginal deviation from rules and procedure. The State Government has viewed such deviations in the proper spirit and thus blessed this experiment. The government can legitimately take pride in itself, on these achievements as this experiment has evoked widespread interest throughout India. It was adopted by Maharashtra Government under the “Satpathy or 7-Point Programme” and extended it to other districts of the State. This experiment is also known as Lakhina Experiment after the name of the D. C. Lakhina who was the District Collector of Ahmednagar.

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