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Gender in Organizations

Gender in Organizations

Are Men Allies or Adversaries to Women’s Career Advancement?

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Debra A. Major

Diversifying the workforce is becoming increasingly important, with gender equality being a central feature of overall equality. Men seem to be part of the problem and a necessary part of the solution. This collection ties these themes together in the context of talent management and organizational effectiveness.

Chapter 7: The causes and consequences of workaholism

Shahnaz Aziz and Benjamin Uhrich

Subjects: business and management, diversity and management, gender and management, organisational behaviour


Workaholism, a progressive and compulsive disorder, is a common term in popular culture that describes individuals who are addicted to work. Often, people view so-called ëworkaholicsí as hardworking employees who are devoted to their careers. In fact, many individuals believe that being a workaholic is a requirement to having a successful career. Over the last several decades, the concept of workaholism has become an accepted way of life and engrained in the culture of North America. Workaholism has a positive connotation in our society and, as Spruell (1987, p. 44) put it, ëworkaholism is the most rewarded addiction in our cultureí. With all of the interest surrounding workaholism and its prevalence in North America, it is surprising that there is still a dearth of empirical research on this topic. There are several reasons for this neglect that are thematic in the workaholism literature. First, researchers have failed to agree on a unified definition for workaholism (Scott et al., 1997; Burke, 2001b; Buelens and Poelmans, 2004). Second, the most commonly used measures of workaholism are methodologically flawed and often criticized for their lack of validity and reliability (McMillan et al., 2002; Ersoy-Kart, 2005). Last, researchers have not been able to impress upon society that the behavioral component of workaholism, working excessively, can lead to negative outcomes. Instead, organizations prefer that their employees work longer hours, which presumably leads to financial gains for both the organization and the employee.

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