The dangers associated with excessive time at work do not apply equally to all people. Attempts to specify how much is too much have often referenced underlying motives as a factor in whether time at work is excessive and, therefore, likely to lead to undesirable outcomes. The literature on workaholism separates joy in work and perfectionism as two contrasting characteristics, either of which can lead to long hours at work. This study categorized subjects on those two characteristics to examine how the differences might relate to stress among coworkers. In line with suggestions of earlier studies, the joy/perfectionism difference was not linked to standard demographic breakdowns. However, tendencies toward one or the other did correspond to perceptions that may affect the quality of personal interaction in the workplace and, therefore, the level of stress among coworkers.
This is a preview of subscription content,to check access.
Access this article
Similar content being viewed by others
Burt, R. S., & Knez, M. (1996). Trust and third-party gossip. In R. M. Kramer & T. R. Tyler (Eds.), Trust in organizations: Frontiers of theory and research (pp. 68-89). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Dobrzynski, J. H. (1995, June 18). Should I have left an hour earlier? The New York Times (Section 3) pp. 1, 12.
Farrar, J. E. (1992). Workaholism. In L. L. Abate, J. E. Farrar, & D. A. Serritella (Eds.), Handbook of differential treatments for addiction (pp. 230-241). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Fassel, D. (1990). Working ourselves to death. San Francisco: Harper.
Greenberger, D. B., Porter, G., Miceli, M. P., & Strasser, S. (1991). Responses to inadequate personal control in organizations. Journal of Social Issues, 47, 111-128.
Kaufman, L. (1999, May 4). Some companies derail the 'burnout' track. The New York Times, p. 1.
Keichel, W. III. (1989, April). The workaholic generation. Fortune, 119, 50-62.
Machlowitz, M. M. (1978). Determining the effects of workaholism. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Yale University, New Haven, CT.
Machlowitz, M. M. (1980). Workaholics: Living with them, working with them. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
Maslach, C., & Leiter, M. P. (1997). The truth about burnout: How organizations cause personal stress and what to do about it. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Oates, W. E. (1968). On being a workaholic: A serious jest. Pastoral Psychology, 19, 16-20.
Oates, W. E. (1981). Excessive work. In S. J. Mule (Ed.), Behavior in excess: An examination of the volitional disorders (pp. 264-272). New York: Free Press.
Overman, S. (1999). Rise and sigh. HR Magazine, 44(5), 68-74.
Perrewe, P. L., Ferris, G. R., Frink, D. D., & Anthony, W. P. (2000). Political skill: An antidote for workplace stressors. Academy of Management Executive, 14(3), 114-123.
Porter, G. (1996). Organizational impact of workaholism: Suggestions for researching the negative outcomes of excessive work. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 1(1), 70-84.
Porter, G. (1998). Can you trust a workaholic? How work addiction erodes trust throughout the organization. Journal of Contemporary Business Issues, 6(2), 48-57.
Rhoades, J. M. (1977). Overwork. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 23, 2615-2618.
Robinson, B. E. (1998). Chained to the desk: A guidebook for workaholics, their partners and children, and the clinicians who treat them. New York: New York University Press.
Rotter, J. B. (1967), A new scale for the measurement of interpersonal trust. Journal of Personality, 35, 651-665.
Schor, J. B. (1992). The overworked American: The unexpected decline of leisure. New York: Basic Books.
Scott, K. S., Moore, K. S., & Miceli, M. P. (1997). An exploration of the meaning and consequences of workaholism. Human Relations, 50(3), 287-314.
Shellenbarger, S. (1999, February 17). Rising before dawn, are you getting ahead or just getting tired? The Wall Street Journal, p. B1.
Spence, J. T., & Robbins, A. S. (1992). Workaholism: Definition, measurement, and preliminary results. Journal of Personality Assessment, 58, 160-178.
Spielman, F. (1999, January 24). City's snow warrior. Chicago Sun-Times, p. 6.
Sullivan, J. (1999, January 23). Rejecting hard labor. The Age, p. 8.
Tulgan, B. (1995). Managing Generation X. Santa Monica, CA: Merritt.
Wright, L., & Smye, M. (1996). Corporate abuse: How “lean and mean” robs people and profits. New York: Macmillan.
Zand, D. E. (1972). Trust and managerial problem solving. Administrative Science Quarterly, 17, 229-239.
About this article
Cite this article
Porter, G. Workaholic Tendencies and the High Potential for Stress Among Co-Workers. International Journal of Stress Management 8, 147–164 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1009581330960