efficiency

There are conflicting notions of efficiency in everyday work-life. Technical efficiency is relatively straightforward, and describes the relation of various energy inputs into equipment, in relation to output (though it may be difficult or meaningless to measure the latter). But there is no necessary reason why a technical optimum should coincide with maximum economic efficiency. Perfectly functioning equipment may well be closed down for financial reasons. The efficient use of human beings often crosscuts both, whether one is dealing with optimum use of physiological effort; psychological well-being (such as avoidance of stress) which may be vital to long-run as opposed to short-run task performance; or organizational and social efficiency, such as avoiding waste of human capital through unemployment or structural dislocation. Quite apart from these conflicting meanings, the notion of efficiency also raises questions of underlying and perhaps irreconcilable values about what ultimately contributes to individual and social welfare.

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

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  • efficiency — 1590s, power to accomplish something, from L. efficientia (from efficientem; see EFFICIENT (Cf. efficient)) + CY (Cf. cy). In mechanics, ratio of useful work done to energy expended, from 1858. Attested from 1952 as short for efficiency apartment …   Etymology dictionary

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  • efficiency — ► NOUN (pl. efficiencies) 1) the state or quality of being efficient. 2) an action intended to achieve efficiency …   English terms dictionary

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  • efficiency — [n] adeptness, effectiveness ability, abundance, adaptability, address, adequacy, capability, capableness, competence, competency, completeness, economy, effectualness, efficacy, energy, expertise, facility, faculty, know how, performance,… …   New thesaurus

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