Thema: “Organizational Working Time Regimes”
Gast-HerausgeberInnen: Blagoy Blagoev, Sara Louise Muhr, Renate Ortlieb und Georg Schreyögg
Freier Zugang zu allen Artikeln bis zum 17. Oktober 2018
Organizational working time regimes: Drivers, consequences and attempts to change patterns of excessive work hours
Blagoy Blagoev, Sara Louise Muhr, Renate Ortlieb and Georg Schreyögg
German Journal of Human Resource Management, 32(3+4): 155–167. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2397002218791408
Abstract: A 40-hour working week is the norm in Europe, yet some organizations require 60 or more working hours and in investment banks an alarming 120-hour weeks are known to be worked. What is more, these organizations often require workers to be permanently on call and demonstrate high production rates. Consequences of such practices include frazzled employees, with their families’ and their own health under pressure. This article introduces our special issue of the German Journal of Human Resource Management. It tackles the many reasons behind excessive work hours and failed attempts to change working time arrangements in organizations. It first identifies three core ideas in previous research, namely the dispersed nature of regimes of excessive working hours, their high levels of persistence and their constitution at multiple levels of analysis. It then summarizes the contributions in this special issue. Finally, it proposes avenues for future research, such as focusing on the genesis and the historicity of organizational working time regimes, studying the interrelation of factors across multiple levels of analysis, and probing new theories to explain the extreme persistence of excessive working hours. The overarching aim of our special issue in this core area of human resource management is to contribute to an understanding of organizational working time regimes and the tenacity of excessive working hours in an effort to deepen our knowledge of how to change them.
Digital technology, work extension and acceleration society
German Journal of Human Resource Management, 32(3+4): 168–176. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2397002218775930
Abstract: This essay is based on a keynote speech given at the Organizational Working Time Regimes conference on 30 March 2017 at the University of Graz, Austria. It challenged the widespread assumption that digital technologies are radically altering our perception of time: as if we are mere hostages to the accelerating drive of machines. Digital devices are sold to us as time-saving tools that promote a busy, exciting action-packed lifestyle. But all technologies are inherently social: they bear the imprint of the people and social context from which they emerge. Time is lived at the intersection of an array of social differences in which some people’s time and labour is valued more highly than others’, and where some groups gain speed and efficiency at the expense of others. Overall, then, the talk argued that while there is no temporal logic inherent in technologies, artefacts do play a central role in the constitution of time regimes. The design of technologies matters for how we work, live and communicate, which in turn sets the tempo and texture of social time. So, it is striking that the people who design our technology and decide what is made are unrepresentative of society. The most powerful companies in the world today are basically engineering companies and employ few women, minorities and people over 40. To control our time, we must not only contest the imperative of speed and workaholism, but also democratize the making of engineering. Only then can we harness our inventiveness to fashion an alternative politics of time.
How do differing degrees of working-time autonomy and overtime affect worker well-being? A multilevel approach using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP)
Julia Seitz and Thomas Rigotti
German Journal of Human Resource Management, 32(3+4): 177–194. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2397002218780630
Abstract: Flextime, or Flexitime, leads to greater worker satisfaction and well-being, but evidence shows increased working-time autonomy also leads to a greater risk of burnout and overload. The aim of this study is to estimate the effects of working-time arrangements with differing levels of autonomy on job and leisure satisfaction as well as subjective health. It uses working excessive hours as the threshold moderator. Based on German data, hypotheses were tested using a balanced sample of 4019 individuals spanning 16,076 person-years. Changing to or remaining in autonomous working-time arrangements had a positive effect on job satisfaction. Advancing to self-managed working time (trust-based working time) had a negative effect on satisfaction with leisure time, although remaining in self-managed working time related positively to general health. This study shows that measures are needed to govern working-time autonomy in order to prevent employees excessively extending their working hours.
Resisting long working hours: The case of Spanish female teleworkers
Ana Gálvez, Francisco Tirado and Jose-Manuel Alcaráz
German Journal of Human Resource Management, 32(3+4): 195–216. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2397002218782174
Abstract: Spain has some of the longest working days in the European Union and this presents problems for women employees, especially with regard to their work–life balance. Teleworking has been introduced as a possible solution. Our article analyses this working relationship and shows how female teleworkers produce new interpretations of time, space and agency. When it comes to time, we conclude that there is ‘gendered time’ and ‘resistance time’. This (a) illustrates how women who telework deploy different approaches in the way they relate to their temporal, spatial and material worlds, and (b) defines a particular type of agency associated with teleworking that vindicates their condition as both female workers and mothers, and denounces a patriarchal labour model designed by and for men.
The impact of long working hours on the health of German employees
Anita Tisch, Grit Müller and Anne Wöhrmann
German Journal of Human Resource Management, 32(3+4): 217–235. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2397002218786020
Abstract: Excessive working hours have negative consequences for employees’ health. Looking deeper into this problem, this article examines how employers’ needs for more intense working or more flexible working hours affect their employees’ psychosomatic health. A German representative survey of 13,452 full-time employees found that long working hours, work intensity (deadline and performance pressure) and flexibility requirements (permanent availability, changes in working hours) were significantly related to psychosomatic health complaints. When considering future work design and practices, these findings show which unfavourable working conditions are to be avoided to maintain the psychosomatic health of employees.
The cost of shiftwork: Absenteeism in a large German automobile plant
Bernd Frick, Robert Simmons and Friedrich Stein
German Journal of Human Resource Management, 32(3+4): 236–256. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2397002218788839
Abstract: Using a balanced panel of some 400 organizational units in a large automobile plant, we analyse changes in absenteeism following a company innovation intended to improve worker health and well-being. During the period under consideration (January 2009–December 2011) the firm replaced its traditional shift schedule associated with high health risks for workers with an ergonomically more advantageous system. Our findings show that this innovation was accompanied by a statistically significant and economically relevant decrease in absenteeism. However, when workers started to express discontent with the new system, management after a few months implemented another shift system that was, from an ergonomical perspective, again associated with higher health risks than those associated with the second one. Absentee figures quickly returned to their initial levels. This suggests that short-term leisure preferences can override long-term health concerns in worker responses to the implementation of different shift schedules.
How social acceleration affects the work practices of academics: A study in Brazil
Lucia Rotenberg and Elisa Carlos
German Journal of Human Resource Management, 32(3+4): 257–270. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2397002218788781
Abstract: Applying industrial and market-driven logic has brought radical change to universities in the past few decades. Knowledge production and transmission as well as academics’ subjectivity have been substantially altered by neoliberal policies. This article introduces a social acceleration perspective and explores what happens to university teachers’ work practices in the face of increasing demands. The article draws on a study into the effect of social acceleration on a group of 15 professors in Brazil. Consequences include (a) producing ‘guilty subjects’ due to lack of time, (b) burnout from the feeling of ‘running uphill just to stay in place’, (c) an impact on work–life balance and retirement, (d) devaluing experience and expertise and (e) lack of identification with the work and workplace. The academics reported impossible demands on them, or even retiring. Reconciling their work practices with professional expectations generated a conflict of values: they no longer recognized themselves as good teachers, dedicated supervisors or innovative researchers. The article argues that the role of education is compromised by the accelerated university, which is transforming universities and academics into entrepreneurs in search of production.
Working time regimes: A panel discussion on continuing problems
Jana Costas, Susanne Ekman, Laura Empson, Dan Kärremann and Sara Louise Muhr
German Journal of Human Resource Management, 32(3+4): 271–282. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2397002218791389
Abstract: This article records a panel discussion at the Organizational Working Time Regimes conference on 31 March 2017 at the University of Graz, Austria. The discussion was moderated by Sara Louise Muhr and the panelists were Jana Costas, Susanne Ekman, Laura Empson and Dan Kärreman. The discussion both departed from yet centred on the concept of time itself: how we understand time as academics, employees and managers, and how the notion of time guides and controls all of us in various ways. Through the different perspectives that the panelists have on time and work regimes, it became evident that time – and discussions of time – is complex and context-dependent and needs to be researched as such. The discussion passionately weaved in and out of key questions on work intensification, inequality regimes and resistance to working time regimes that are deeply entwined with dynamic dialectics such as personal/professional, past/future, individual/organizational, worker/leader, good/bad. The panel in this way takes the reader through difficult discussions about what is ‘extreme’, for whom is it extreme and what interventions (if any) can be made by academics. Doing so, the panelists sensitively drew attention to our own line of work, academia, and the work regimes controlling academics.
Excessive work regimes and functional stupidity
Mats Alvesson and Katja Einola
German Journal of Human Resource Management, 32(3+4): 283–296. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2397002218791410
Abstract: In order to understand why individuals accept and reproduce excessive time regimes, this paper addresses five key drivers: (1) intrinsic motivation, (2) extrinsic motivation, (3) organizational norms, (4) the principle of reciprocity, and (5) identity, including having the ‘true grit’ and belonging to the ‘elite’. It also points to how various elements in excessive work regimes – tendencies towards a closed occupational system, the combination of incentives and ego-boosting and limited time outside work – contribute to functional stupidity, making people disinclined to ask critical questions about work practices and norms, be self-reflective or imagine alternative forms of work organizations, careers or personal objectives.