Current Research and Practice
New Horizons in Management series
Chapter 7: Work Addiction co-authored with Dr Aline Masuda
, Escuela de Alta Dirección y Administración (EADA) OVERVIEW The workaholic is the man with the bulging briefcase who arrives at the office before anyone else has gone home. He eats lunch while working at his desk and spends weekends and holidays at the office catching up. He’s a fountain of information whose projects are always done ahead of time. He’s adored by top management and often viewed with suspicion by his colleagues and subordinates. Workaholism may undermine his family and marriage, weaken his friendships, or destroy his health. And it’s bad for his company too. (Stevens, 1972) Some readers may have recognized themselves in the first lines of this quote, but may have experienced a growing feeling of unease when reading the second half. In the article ‘Beware of the work addict’ Stevens paints a gloomy picture of the workaholic. We should not underestimate the number of people that lead these busy lives, but are considered as heroes; they are the innovating entrepreneurs, the industrious small shop owners, the successful executives, the thriving artists, the dedicated doctors, the engaged politicians. It is this paradox that has fascinated scholars from a variety of disciplines including economics, clinical and occupational psychology, philosophy, management, medicine and health sciences, and sociology. Researchers in these fields have studied this phenomenon with a view to finding the answer to the central questions: how and when exactly does spending more time at work become unproductive, or unhealthy for the individual, the group, the organization or...
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