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Article
Publication date: 21 August 2009

Ronald J. Burke and Ghada El‐Kot

The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship of measures of work intensity and work hours on potential antecedents and work and well‐being consequences.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship of measures of work intensity and work hours on potential antecedents and work and well‐being consequences.

Design/methodology/approach

Data are collected from 242 male and female managers and professionals working in a variety of organizations in Egypt using anonymously completed questionnaires, with a 48 percent response rate.

Findings

Work intensity is significantly correlated with work hours, but weakly. Work hours and work intensity share only one common personal demographic and work situation predictor (level of education) but it has opposite relationships with the work hours and work intensity measures. Work hours and work intensity also share one common stable personality predictor, non‐required work, and a workaholic job behavior. This measure however likely reflectes the requirements of managerial jobs more than the addictive and negative aspects of workaholism. Work intensity is more strongly and consistently related to both work and well‐being outcomes. Interestingly, work intensity is positively related to work outcomes and negatively related to indicators of psychological well‐being.

Research limitations/implications

The sample is likely non‐representative of Egyptian managers and data are collected at one point in time making it difficult to determine causality.

Practical implications

The results suggest that work intensity may be more important than work hours as factors in employee work experiences.

Originality/value

The paper fills a gap in understanding of human resource management practices and experiences in Egypt.

Details

Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-7983

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Article
Publication date: 9 February 2010

Lisa Fiksenbaum, Wang Jeng, Mustafa Koyuncu and Ronald J. Burke

The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship of work intensity and of work hours on potential antecedents and work and well‐being consequences.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship of work intensity and of work hours on potential antecedents and work and well‐being consequences.

Design/methodology/approach

Data are collected from 309 male and female managers working in 3‐, 4‐ and 5‐star hotels in Beijing, China using anonymously completed questionnaires with a 90 percent response rate.

Findings

The 15‐item measure of work intensity is found to have high internal consistency reliability. Work intensity is significantly correlated with work hours, but modestly. Gender, age and organizational level predict work intensity but not work hours; males, younger hotel managers and hotel managers at higher organizational levels indicate greater work intensity. Hierarchical regression analyses, controlling for personal demographic and work situation characteristics, show that work intensity but not work hours is a more consistent and significant predictor of work outcomes (e.g. work engagement) and psychological well‐being (e.g. exhaustion, work‐family conflict). Somewhat surprisingly, neither work intensity nor work hours have significant relationships with important work outcomes (job satisfaction, career satisfaction, intent to quit). The interaction of work intensity and work hours is not a significant predictor of work or well‐being outcomes. Interestingly, work intensity is positively related to work engagement and negatively related to indicators or psychological well‐being.

Originality/value

These findings are only partially consistent with previous conclusions suggesting the possible role played by cultural values and level of economic development.

Details

Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-7606

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Article
Publication date: 13 April 2010

Ronald J. Burke, Parbudyal Singh and Lisa Fiksenbaum

The purpose of this exploratory research is to examine the relationship of a measure of work intensity with potential antecedents and consequences.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this exploratory research is to examine the relationship of a measure of work intensity with potential antecedents and consequences.

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire was developed and pre‐tested. It included a new 15‐item measure of work intensity. Data were collected from 106 respondents enrolled in three university business courses using anonymously completed questionnaires. Regression and factor analyses were used in developing the measure and testing the relationships.

Findings

The 15‐item measure of work intensity was found to have high internal consistency and reliability. Work intensity was significantly related to respondents' organizational level and work status. In addition, respondents indicating higher levels of work intensity also reported working more hours, a higher workload, and greater job stress. Work intensity was unrelated to organizational values supporting work‐personal life imbalance, three workaholism components, or to indicators of work engagement. Factor analysis of the work intensity measure produced three factors: emotional demands, job demands, and time demands, the first two were fairly consistently related to other study variables, whereas time demands was not.

Research limitations/implications

The sample was relatively small and the data were collected using self‐reports. The design was cross‐sectional, thus limiting causal inferences.

Practical implications

Managers will find the study useful in assessing the effects of work intensity and working long hours for employees, including stress levels and work engagement.

Originality/value

The study developed a work intensity measure and examined its properties and correlates, something that is lacking in the literature.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 39 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2017

Janet A. Boekhorst, Parbudyal Singh and Ronald Burke

The purpose of this paper is to examine a moderated mediation model that investigated the moderating role of psychological detachment in the relationship between work

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine a moderated mediation model that investigated the moderating role of psychological detachment in the relationship between work intensity and life satisfaction via emotional exhaustion.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from 149 hospital-based nurses who completed a questionnaire about working conditions and individual outcomes. The data were analyzed using hierarchical moderated regression and bootstrapping techniques.

Findings

The results confirm that work intensity is negatively related to life satisfaction via emotional exhaustion. The results also demonstrate that psychological detachment diminishes the negative influence of emotional exhaustion on life satisfaction. The conditional indirect effect model shows that the indirect relationship between work intensity and life satisfaction is strongest at low psychological detachment.

Research limitations/implications

This research advances our understanding of the negative work and non-work implications associated with work intensity. The key limitation of this research was the cross-sectional data set. HRM researchers should seek to replicate and expand the results with multi-wave data to extend our understanding of the implications of work intensity.

Practical implications

HRM practitioners need to begin implementing measures to address work intensity in order to thwart its negative effects. HRM practitioners need to implement policies and procedures that limit the intensity of work demands to promote positive employee work and non-work outcomes.

Originality/value

This is the first study to show that work intensity can influence life satisfaction through emotional exhaustion. Contrary to most recovery research, this research is also among the first to focus on the moderating role of psychological detachment, especially within a conditional indirect effect model.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 46 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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Article
Publication date: 7 September 2015

Mark Le Fevre, Peter Boxall and Keith Macky

– The purpose of this paper is to identify whether there are particular employee groups that are more vulnerable to work intensification and its outcomes for well-being.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify whether there are particular employee groups that are more vulnerable to work intensification and its outcomes for well-being.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper utilises data collected in two representative national surveys in 2005 (n=1,004) and 2009 (n=1,016), first to determine which employee groups are most vulnerable to work intensification and, second, to identify who is more vulnerable to the impacts of high work intensity on well-being, in terms of job (dis)satisfaction, stress, fatigue, and work-life imbalance.

Findings

Professionals reported significantly higher levels of work intensity than all other occupational groups, and higher levels of stress and work-life imbalance. In addition, full-time employees experienced greater work intensity than part-timers, and union members than non-union members. Public-sector employees reported greater stress and work-life imbalance than those in the private sector. There was also a small, but significant and consistent, interaction effect that identified women as more negatively impacted by high work intensity than men.

Research limitations/implications

Professionals have become vulnerable workers, in the sense of high levels of work demand, and the notion of worker vulnerability needs to recognise this. Future research on vulnerable employees would benefit from a broader conception of what constitutes vulnerability, exploring a wider range of employee groups who might be considered vulnerable, and including a wider range of potential outcomes for the lives and well-being of the individuals concerned. In particular, a more finely grained examination of the working conditions of professionals would be desirable, as would a more detailed examination of the reasons for the higher negative impact of work intensity on women.

Practical implications

One way of improving the sustainability of professional working is to foster higher rates of part-time working, which brings better outcomes in terms of stress and work-life balance. This, however, is hardly a societal remedy and the question of how to reverse deteriorating job quality among professionals, particularly those struggling to balance work and family demands, is something that needs much greater attention.

Originality/value

The paper expands the notion of “vulnerable workers” to recognise those groups most at risk of work intensification, and the outcomes of that intensification for satisfaction, stress, fatigue, and work-life balance. The authors add to the small group of studies highlighting the degradation of professional work, as well as identifying other types of employee who are more vulnerable to work intensification. The use of two large-scale surveys, with a four-year gap, has allowed a high degree of consistency in the patterns of vulnerability to be revealed.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 36 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

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Article
Publication date: 17 October 2008

Yuri W. Ramirez and Harry J. Steudel

The purpose of this paper is to present the knowledge work (KW) quantification framework – a mathematical model to quantify KW. The framework calculates a knowledge work

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the knowledge work (KW) quantification framework – a mathematical model to quantify KW. The framework calculates a knowledge work score (KWS) that positions each worker in the KW continuum.

Design/methodology/approach

The framework states that KW is a continuum and that eight KW dimensions can be used to differentiate between manual and KW. A methodology was developed that follows a series of steps to calculate the KWS. Operational definitions are presented and explained.

Findings

By assigning a knowledge work intensity score to the tasks a worker does, the knowledge work quantification framework (KWQF) calculates the intensity score for the job hence an intensity score for the worker. KWSs are calculated for two example jobs to illustrate the KWQF and the allocation of the jobs in the KW continuum.

Research limitations/implications

Since there have been no previous studies like this, it is difficult to compare results. A larger sample of workers for different work types would provide more data points in the KW continuum. Other limitations are discussed in the paper.

Practical implications

The knowledge worker (KWr) has become the predominant type of worker in today's economy. With most of manual work being researched and optimized, it is in scientifically improving our understanding of the KWr where the opportunities for improving productivity lie.

Originality/value

In the past, the field has lacked a scientific approach and has been studies more in terms of opinions and theories rather than an empirical research frame of mind. This paper is the first attempt to create a methodology that quantifies KW.

Details

Journal of Intellectual Capital, vol. 9 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1469-1930

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Article
Publication date: 31 May 2011

Jalil Heidary Dahooie, Abbas Afrazeh and Seyed Mohammad Moathar Hosseini

This study attempts to identify the different types of activities that comprise a worker's job, and provide a framework for quantitative definition and segmentation of

Abstract

Purpose

This study attempts to identify the different types of activities that comprise a worker's job, and provide a framework for quantitative definition and segmentation of knowledge works (KWs).

Design/methodology/approach

Every KW has two main parts: working with knowledge and establishing communication. Thus, in order to provide an exact definition for the KW it is necessary to calculate the knowledge intensity score of a job (JKIS) and communication intensity score of a job (JCIS). For determining these two parameters precisely, jobs were broken hierarchically to tasks and then activities. To identify these activities, an initial list of activities mentioned in the literature was created and then completed with generalized work activities of O*NET. A six‐step framework for calculating of JKIS and JCIS was proposed and finally, different groups of knowledge workers (KWrs) with respect to JKIS and JCIS were identified by using a clustering method.

Findings

This article shows how KW can be defined and segmented based on two dimensions (i.e. knowledge intensity score of a job (JKIS) and communication intensity score of a job (JCIS)). The proposed framework was used to analyze 133 jobs in 11 organizations. Practicality and validity of framework were examined based on this empirical study.

Research limitations/implications

This study is a base for the identification of appropriate managerial frameworks corresponding to each discovered group of KWrs. Using more data can improve the results obtained in this study.

Practical implications

This work emphasizes the importance of defining and clustering KW and proposes a practical method for this aim.

Originality/value

A new framework for the quantification of KW is proposed. This framework is supported by five principles inferred from the literature.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 23 August 2014

Lan Guo, Bernard Wong-On-Wing and Gladie Lui

We examine how input- (vs. output-) based performance evaluation and incentive intensity impact employees’ autonomous motivation, thereby influence their proactive work behaviors.

Abstract

Purpose

We examine how input- (vs. output-) based performance evaluation and incentive intensity impact employees’ autonomous motivation, thereby influence their proactive work behaviors.

Methodology

We collected survey responses from 309 employees of different firms. Multi-group Structural Equation Modeling analyses were used to analyze the data.

Findings

Input-based evaluation had a positive effect on autonomous motivation and proactive work behaviors when task uncertainty was high, but a negative effect when it was low. Autonomous motivation had a positive effect on proactive work behaviors.

Research implications

Our results on the moderating effect of task uncertainty provide insights into inconsistencies in earlier studies. Moreover, applying self-determination theory of motivation to incentive research can provide some insights into why sometimes, incentives can negatively affect performance.

Practical implications

The study of proactive work behaviors is important because despite their necessity in the fast-changing business environment, they are relatively unexplored in the incentive literature. Proactivity is especially important for tasks that are high in uncertainty because the exact tasks to achieve those goals are hard to specify.

Originality/value of paper

We investigate the effect of performance management system on proactive work behaviors, mediated by autonomous motivation and moderated by task uncertainty.

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Article
Publication date: 7 March 2016

Parbudyal Singh, Ronald J. Burke and Janet Boekhorst

A growing body of research suggests that psychological experiences related to recovery after work may reduce employee fatigue and exhaustion and improve well-being. The…

Abstract

Purpose

A growing body of research suggests that psychological experiences related to recovery after work may reduce employee fatigue and exhaustion and improve well-being. The purpose of this paper is to extend this literature by examining several correlates and consequences of four recovery experiences: psychological detachment, relaxation, mastery, and control.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from 290 nursing staff working in hospitals using a questionnaire study and well-established measures. Hierarchical regression analyses were used to test the hypotheses.

Findings

The results suggest that the four recovery experiences were, with one exception, positively and significantly correlated. Personal demographic variables (e.g. work status and level of education) had relationships with the use of particular recovery experiences. Passion was positively related to the use of mastery and control, while work intensity was negatively associated with the use of psychological detachment and relaxation. The use of particular recovery experiences was generally associated with lower intentions to quit and positive indicators of psychological well-being.

Research limitations/implications

There are several implications for research and practice. Scholars can use the results to extend the theories such as the job demands-resources model, including the role of work intensity as job demands. At the organizational level, managers and leaders should consider supporting strategies that help employees recover after work.

Originality/value

This study extends the empirical research on recovery after work using some variables not previously used. The theory on recovery after work is also extended.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 45 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2017

Marine Coupaud

Workers’ health is a main concern in industrialized countries. The structural evolution of the labor market should have encouraged better working conditions, as should…

Abstract

Purpose

Workers’ health is a main concern in industrialized countries. The structural evolution of the labor market should have encouraged better working conditions, as should have increasing interest in corporate social responsibility. But work arduousness takes new forms as work organizations evolve. All workers are potentially affected by onerous working conditions. The purpose of this paper is to explore all types of working conditions that may affect workers.

Design/methodology/approach

The author creates four indicators of working conditions using the multiple correspondence analysis and also analyzes how they relate to the workers’ physical and mental health using a logit model.

Findings

Performing the analysis on data from the third and fifth waves of the European Working Conditions Survey, the author presents the results showing the growing importance of interpersonal relationships at work and observes a rise in inequalities in terms of health over the period 2000-2010 for people belonging to the vulnerable categories: women and lower-income groups.

Originality/value

The author offers to describe the evolution of the working conditions of the European workers over an interesting period during which many changes took place. Moreover, this paper investigates the respective impacts of different types of working conditions to come up with policy recommendations.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 38 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

Keywords

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