Management Notes

Reference Notes for Management

The 17 basic units of motion, identified by frank and lillian gilbreth, were named _____.

The 17 basic units of motion, identified by frank and lillian gilbreth, were named _____.


A. gilbreths
B. time frames
C. therbligs
D. units
E. action works

The Correct Answer Is:

  • C. therbligs

The correct answer is C. “therbligs.” Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, pioneering figures in the field of industrial engineering and time-motion studies, introduced the concept of “therbligs” to analyze and categorize the basic units of motion involved in performing tasks. Let’s delve into why “therbligs” is the correct answer and why the other options are not accurate.

Why “Therbligs” is the Correct Answer:

1. Historical Significance:

Frank and Lillian Gilbreth made significant contributions to the field of time-motion studies and efficiency in work processes during the early 20th century. They were among the first to systematically analyze and categorize human motions during work tasks.

2. Invention of the Term:

The Gilbreths coined the term “therblig” by reversing the letters in their last name (“Gilbreth”) and adding an “r.” They used this term to represent a set of fundamental elemental motions or actions that make up all work activities. The creation of this term is unique to the Gilbreths and is specifically associated with their work.

3. Categorization of Basic Motions:

“Therbligs” are essential in the context of time-motion studies because they provide a standardized and systematic way to identify and categorize basic motions involved in performing tasks. These motions include actions like reaching, grasping, holding, releasing, and various other movements required in a work process.

4. Practical Application:

The concept of “therbligs” is practical and has been widely used in industrial engineering and ergonomic studies. It enables researchers and professionals to break down complex tasks into their fundamental elements, making it easier to analyze and optimize work processes for efficiency.

5. Recognition in the Field:

Over time, “therbligs” have become recognized as a valuable tool in the field of industrial engineering. The concept is taught in many engineering and ergonomics courses, and professionals use it to improve productivity and reduce unnecessary movements in various industries.

Why the Other Options Are Not Correct:

A. Gilbreths:

While the Gilbreths were indeed instrumental in developing the concept of “therbligs,” their name was not used to represent the basic units of motion. Instead, they created the term “therblig” specifically for this purpose.

B. Time Frames:

“Time frames” are a different concept altogether. They refer to periods of time or specific time intervals, not the fundamental units of motion. Time frames are used in scheduling and time management, but they do not have a direct connection to the Gilbreths’ work on motion analysis.

D. Units:

“Units” is a very generic term and does not accurately describe the specific concept introduced by the Gilbreths. The term “therbligs” was created to provide a distinct and standardized way of categorizing the elemental motions in work tasks, which “units” does not convey.

E. Action Works:

“Action works” is not a recognized term associated with the Gilbreths’ work on motion analysis. It lacks the historical and practical significance of “therbligs” in the field of industrial engineering and time-motion studies.

In conclusion, “therbligs” is the correct answer because it is a term coined by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth to represent the basic units of motion involved in work tasks. This concept has historical significance, is widely recognized in the field of industrial engineering, and is a practical tool for analyzing and optimizing work processes.

The other options, A (Gilbreths), B (time frames), D (units), and E (action works), do not accurately represent the concept introduced by the Gilbreths and are not recognized terms in the context of motion analysis and efficiency studies.

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