Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 84, Supplement 2, pp 167–172

Working to Live or Living to Work: Should Individuals and Organizations Care?


DOI: 10.1007/s10551-008-9703-6

Cite this article as:
Burke, R.J. J Bus Ethics (2009) 84(Suppl 2): 167. doi:10.1007/s10551-008-9703-6


This introduction sets the stage for the Special Issue and the manuscripts that follow. Interest in work hours, work intensification and work addiction has grown over the past decade. Several factors have come together to increase hours spent at work, the nature of work itself, and motivations for working hard, particularly among managers and professionals. The introduction first reviews some of the known causes and consequences of long work hours and the intensification of work. A case is then made as to why individuals, families, organizations and society should care about hours spent at work and work addiction. Individuals and organizations have some choice here. Most employees would in fact prefer to work fewer hours though few actually realize their preferences. This collection lays out these choices and hopefully encourages thought and discussion of their merits. Long work hours and work addiction harms individuals and their families and does not make organizations more effective. The introduction concludes with a brief summary of the diverse contributions of an international group of leading researchers in this area.


work hours work addiction social costs ethical issues 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Schulich School of BusinessYork UniversityTorontoCanada

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