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Workaholic, or Just Hard Worker?

Douglas, Evan J. & Morris, Robyn J. (2006) Workaholic, or Just Hard Worker? Career Development International, 11(5), pp. 394-417.

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Abstract

Methodology/Approach: There is a lack of theoretical development on the question of why people work long hours and the nature of ‘workaholism’. This paper uses the economist’s utility-maximization model to build a conceptual model of voluntary work effort that explains the work effort decision of individuals. We demonstrate a variety of reasons that induce a person to work ‘excessively’. The paper advances our understanding of work motivation and workaholic behavior and presents a series of researchable propositions for empirical testing. Propositions: Individuals will work long hours when motivated to do so by the satisfaction they derive separately and collectively from (a) income (materialism); (b) leisure; (c) perquisites; and (d) work per se. It is argued that only the person who is strongly motivated by the latter reason is properly called a workaholic, and that the imposition of negative externalities on co-workers is a separate issue that might also involve work enthusiasts. Originality of the Paper: This paper discerns three subcategories of the ‘work enthusiast’, which we call ‘materialist’, ‘the low-leisure’ and the ‘perkaholic’ hard workers. We demonstrate that these work enthusiasts work long hours for relatively high job satisfaction, while workaholics gain relatively low job satisfaction. Inflicting negative externalities on fellow workers is argued to be a separate issue – any one of the hard workers might irk their fellow workers by working ‘too hard’ or by their individual mannerisms.

Impact and interest:

16 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 5536
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Douglas, E, workaholism, workaholic types, work effort, discretionary work effort, work motivation
DOI: 10.1108/13620430610683043
ISSN: 1362-0436
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Human Resources Management (150305)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Small Business Management (150314)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 Emerald
Copyright Statement: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Deposited On: 27 Nov 2006
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2011 23:28

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