In this paper, we study the reactive scheduling problems in a stochastic manufacturing environment. Specifically, we test the several scheduling policies under machine breakdowns in a classical job shop system. In addition, we measure the effect of system size and type of work allocation (uniform and bottleneck) on the system performance. The performance of the system is measured for the mean tardiness and makespan criteria. We also investigate a partial scheduling scheme under both deterministic and stochastic environments for several system configurations. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.