Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Dad's overworked and tired while mom's potentially fired

18.06.2009
New research indicates overtime pressures are adversely affecting families

If dad looks exhausted this Father's Day it could be due to his job, suggests new research that found many male employees are now pressured to work up to 40 hours of overtime—often unpaid— per week to stay competitive.

Women face the same pressures, but family obligations may force them to work fewer hours on the job, putting them at risk for demotions or even firings.

The new findings, published in the journal Gender & Society, add to the growing body of evidence that heightened competition in the workplace, combined with modern business practices, are resulting in near-unprecedented levels of overtime that may not even be productive in the long run.

"This clearly does not ease the situation for women and men who want to combine career and family-life," concluded lead author Patricia van Echtelt and colleagues. "Moreover, a growing body of literature shows that working long hours does not automatically lead to greater productivity and effectiveness, and thus not necessarily contributes to employers' needs but potentially harms the well-being of employees."

The extensive study looked at the working habits of 1,114 male and female Dutch employees. While the researchers indicate their findings could apply to other countries, they chose to focus on the Netherlands, where outside family support, such as childcare, has been unable to meet the growing demands.

Van Echtelt, a Netherlands Institute for Social Research scientist, and her team found that, among the survey respondents, 69 percent of all men worked overtime versus 42 percent of women. Women who work overtime do so at a rate that is about one-third lower than that of their male colleagues.

It's "usually explained by the continuing trend for women to be more involved in unpaid family work," the researchers noted. And even when partners share family chores, "men often characterize their contribution as 'helping' their wives, without feeling to have the main responsibility."

The researchers therefore predict families with more kids and at-home responsibilities will become "more constrained in their opportunities to indulge the 'choice' to work overtime."

Choice is turning into expectation at most companies built upon the "team work" model, with pressures coming from project teams, responsibility for meeting profit or production targets, imposed deadlines and employees left to manage their own careers. A separate study at a software engineering firm, for example, determined that interdependent work patterns, "a crisis mentality," and a reward system based on individual heroics led to "inefficient work processes and long working hours."

Cornell University's Youngjoo Cha, who led another U.S. data-based study accepted for publication in the American Sociological Review, found that if a husband works more than 60 hours a week, his wife is 42 percent more likely to leave her position.

Cha, who agrees with the Dutch findings, said, "The norm of overwork systematically disadvantages women, who are less likely to work long hours because of the expectation that they will have primary caregiving responsibilities and do more housework than men."

In future, van Echtelt and her team hope that businesses will value their "employees more for their efficiency and relational skills and less for their crisis mentality and working long hours."

Consistently ranked as a top journal in both Women's Studies and Sociology by the Thomson Scientific Journal Citation Reports®, Gender & Society focuses on the social and structural study of gender as a basic principle of the social order and as a primary social category. Emphasizing theory and research from micro- and macrostructual perspectives, Gender & Society features original research, reviews, international perspectives, and book reviews from diverse social science disciplines, including anthropology, economics, history, political science, sociology and social psychology.

Jessica Holden Sherwood | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uri.edu

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

nachricht Geographers provide new insight into commuter megaregions of the US
01.12.2016 | Dartmouth College

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>