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The one bright spot in the economic downturn may be prolonging it. Since the current recession began, worker productivity has been increasing. The upswing is not due to investment in technologies. It is simply the result of swelling worker output.


  1. Before reading the article, look at the brief section on productivity in Chapter 18. What are potential ways that American workers could increase their productivity?
  2. Revisit the section on organizational performance in Chapter 1. Which measure do you believe is contributing to the productivity gains described in the article?
  3. What changes in work processes are also contributing to this productivity increase?

SOURCE: N. Irwin, “Holding Back Job Growth? Workers’ Awesome Output,” Washington Post (Retrievable online at

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