What is the specific term for this worker:

A worker who outputs more than other workers at the same wage, therefore now the owner doesn't have to pay workers as much since he gets the same total output for less

  • $\begingroup$ nono i mean the specific thing where a worker does more for the same wage - therefore posing a threat to other workers. Almost like self-exploitation. $\endgroup$ – javaproblem201 Feb 1 at 10:39
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    $\begingroup$ I mean im asking for the (precise term) for such a worker who does this, i remember there is one, like wage-wrecker or something $\endgroup$ – javaproblem201 Feb 1 at 10:41
  • $\begingroup$ its related to the term 'underselling/underseller' but this time its from a worker's point of view. A worker who over-outputs, for the same wage. $\endgroup$ – javaproblem201 Feb 1 at 11:37
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    $\begingroup$ The question seems to imply that the most productive worker is causing others to take a lower wage. However management in some contexts has the power to impose a wage structure based on productivity. Mining and logging operations in remote areas based on manual labor often did pay the highest wage to the most productive workers. A friend once told me his father was paid by the ton to dig coal as a young man in Germany. The wage structure would be set by the business model of the firm and attitudes of managers if labor does not organize to change the outcome from the bargaining game. $\endgroup$ – SystemTheory Feb 1 at 17:33

There are two aspects to your question. One is indeed (marginal) productivity of workers. The other is the "depressing wages" [for others] angle. (In more neutral terms, the latter would be "wage adjustment".)

Wages are generally downward sticky, so lowering everyone else's wages when one more productive worker shows up is a bit mythical (or at least uncommon), I think, in a salaried environment anyway. For wages to get lowered due to worker competition, it would have to be a more sustained effect, like finding cheaper labor "in bulk" due to some systemic reasons (e.g. finding labor abroad, or there being substantial unemployment etc.)

If there really is term for this pertaining to an individual worker... it might be:

The term Stakhanovite (стахановец) originated in the Soviet Union and referred to workers who modeled themselves after Alexey Stakhanov. These workers took pride in their ability to produce more than was required, by working harder and more efficiently, thus strengthening the socialist state. [...] The movement eventually encountered resistance as the increased productivity led to increased demands on workers.

But note it assumes some kind of political motivation on behalf of the worker... In a more "normal" capitalist setting, that could be substituted with other hopes/goals, e.g. not being (the one) fired or maybe even being promoted... but I am extrapolating.

I'll also say that the term is somewhat unrelated to how Stakhanov actually improved productivity (not only of his own, but of his mine). His innovation was no different in what it involved than what Ford or McDonalds did for other kinds production: a combination of task sequencing (pipelining) [more] specialized workers and using new technology, although the Stakhanovite movement in the Soviet Union later involved training workers in highly specialized roles, in view of increasing their individual productivity. Stakhanov himself was promoted to mine management, so even in the Soviet Union you can't say there were no individualized incentives.

It's even been claimed that Stakhanovism was merely the Soviet form of Taylorism, however this ignores that Taylor proposed a clear process for deriving quotas, piece-rate (with a subunitary bonus for over-quota), and firing the least productive workers continuously, while Stakhanovism in practice had a haphazard approach to these. As far as terminology goes, Taylor only named the opposite behavior, i.e. "soldiering", which he defined as working at the slowest pace that goes unpunished.

There may actually be some terms in Japanese that more or less equate "Stakhanovite" in a different context, namely

The victims of karoshi are known in their companies as moretsu shain (fanatical workers) and yoi kigyo senshi (good corporate soldiers).

cf. Organizational Behavior and Management, 9th ed., p. 252. (I'm not really familiar with Japanese work slang and a bit of searching finds that at lest "moretsu shain" can have some positive meanings as well, so take that with a grain of salt.) Another (English) term given in this book (p. 288) that's probably more clear is

rate-busters (Producing above the group norm of acceptance).

Oxford Reference actually links this term with Stakhanovite

An employee who is highly productive and exceeds the formally agreed rate of output for the particular task. Whilst this is advantageous for management, rate-busters are usually disliked by their colleagues because their action provides managers with the excuse to raise the rate of output for all the other employees. Typically, there is informal social regulation of work in most workgroups where rate-busting is deemed antisocial behaviour and potential rate-busters are brought into line by their work colleagues through a mixture of persuasion and coercion. [See Stakhanovite.]

The Merriam-Webster definition for the same term more clearly links it to a reduction in income for co-workers, albeit in a per-piece rather than salary setting:

a pieceworker who produces to the utmost of his ability despite opposition by his fellows who fear that his high earnings may cause a reduction in the piece rate.

A similar term that in even more specific circumstances may be "strikebreaker".

If you go just by dictionary defs, you'd think rate-busting is always viewed negatively by co-workers, but that's not really the case, see e.g. a case study done at a warehouse, which involved a gamification aspect to a certain extent, but which also had loads of "standard" Taylorism elements.

  • $\begingroup$ rate-buster, yes you got it. $\endgroup$ – javaproblem201 Feb 1 at 18:31

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