By division of labour we mean an arrangement where by people perform different functions at the same time. Though the term. ‘Division of labour’ is applied in the field of economics, yet in fact division of labour in modern society is not limited simply to labour but applies to all the factors of production and exists beyond the purely economic field. There may be three forms of division of labour.
(i) Social division labour
This means division into occupation. Thus, there are farmers, weavers, teachers, priests, labourers etc.
(ii) Technical division of labour
This means the division of labour within a particular enterprise. Thus within a factory there are weavers, spinners, designers, accountants, managers and engineers.
The work may be divided into complete tasks like spinning, weaving, bleaching, designing, finishing etc. or it may by divided into incomplete processes.
It is said that work in a modern spinning factory is divided into 18 processes. Technical division of labour is marked feature of modern machine age.
(iii) Territorial division of labour
This is also known as localization of industries. Certain places or regions come to specialize in the making of certain articles; Hosiery at Ludhiana, Cotton textiles at Ahmedabad and Bombay, Jute industry at Calcutta, Leather industry at Agra and Kanpur etc.
Division of labour is based on the principle of co-operation or interdependence. The different persons among whom the work is divided co-operate in the production of a thing for example, to make a chair, one group is engaged in making backs another seats and still another joining them and finally there is group of workers polishing the chairs.
All of them co-operate and through their cooperation a chair is made. Division of labour is both a divisional and integrating social principle.
Division of labour is found in all societies. In the earlier societies marked by handicraft economy it was a simple division of labour. The societies in those days were a simple organization biased upon primary group relationships.
Such a society neither needs nor permits a wide range of economic specialization. Economy was a self sufficient type. There were little trades and techniques were few and simple. There was a little need for supervision and authority.
In modern machine age division of labour is a complicated phenomenon. Now there are thousands of workers in an industry to perform different specialized task in order to produce, say a pair of shoes. A line of command is necessary to ensure that all these workers perform their individual tasks in an integrated manner.