Stopwatch Time Study: An Investigation Of The Statistical Validity Of Current Practices

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Management Psychology


The primary objective of this dissertation was to determine if Industrial Engineers conduct time studies according to standard statistical procedures. Another objective was to investigate Industrial Engineers' awareness of the work of Dr. W. Edwards Deming with respect to work standards.Since its inception, stop-watch time study has been criticized for its inherent problems with regard to; the selection of the "average" worker, the determination of the number of cycles to time, the assignment of performance rating and the selection of the personal, fatigue and delay allowances.This study, based on a scientific survey of a random sample of Industrial Engineering professionals in the United States, confirms that stop-watch time study, as currently practiced, falls short of the ideal practice in two ways: (1) in not following the prescribed statistical procedures and (2) in being inherently subjective.The survey consisted of a questionnaire mailed to a random sample of members of the Work Measurement and Methods Division of the Institute of Industrial Engineers. A response rate of 80.82% was achieved after two mailings.One of the main conclusions of this study was that time standards are questionable because of the lack of adherence to the prescribed statistical approaches to stop-watch time study procedure. It was also shown that Industrial Engineers had very little awareness of the work of Dr. W. Edwards Deming with respect to the philosophical and administrative aspects of work measurement.


Engineering, Industrial

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