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 Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Touch Displays WAY-AX and WAY-DX by WayCon

27.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Drones that drive

27.06.2017 | Information Technology

Ultra-compact phase modulators based on graphene plasmons

27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>