To read this content please select one of the options below:

Work, Overwork, and the Work of Randy Hodson

A Gedenkschrift to Randy Hodson: Working with Dignity

ISBN: 978-1-78560-727-1, eISBN: 978-1-78560-726-4

Publication date: 5 February 2016


This chapter examines the ways in which some organizations overstep their bounds by making unlimited claims on their employees’ lives. Organizations that do this are described as “greedy institutions,” using the term coined by sociologist Lewis Coser. Sullivan explains how modern technologies and other factors have enabled employers to make increasing claims on employees, extending the workday beyond its traditional limits and overworking the employees. Technologies such as smart phones have enabled employers to get greedier – often while appearing to do just the opposite. For example, an employer can appear to be generous to employees by issuing company-funded smart phones, but those smart phones become tethers that keep the employees attached to their work and their supervisors 24/7. Sullivan argues that while many corporations are greedy, some universities are now also becoming greedy, partially because of increasing demands for productivity and efficiency in higher education. Sullivan discusses these issues within the context of the work of Randy Hodson, who influenced Sullivan’s thinking and writing on this topic.



I would like to acknowledge the extensive assistance of Jonathan Bowen. A version of this chapter was presented as the Alpha Kappa Delta Distinguished Lecture at the annual meeting in New York City, August 10, 2013.


Sullivan, T.A. (2016), "Work, Overwork, and the Work of Randy Hodson", A Gedenkschrift to Randy Hodson: Working with Dignity (Research in the Sociology of Work, Vol. 28), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 57-77.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016 Emerald Group Publishing Limited