The case illustrates an increment in extreme work pressure amongst high ranking professionals of different demographics working in firms operating in different economic sectors. This is evident in the number of hours that the professionals commit to their work every week. Some individuals work for approximately 70 hours every week. Their motivation arises from a strong desire to move the organization into a new direction.
The resultant effect is that work becomes very stressful. As a result of working for long hours, these professionals are ranked amongst the highly earning individuals on a global scale. Despite the fact that working for long hours is self motivated amongst these professionals in an effort to attain personal and corporate objectives, this has come at a cost with regard to diverse areas of their life.
Extreme jobs have negatively affected individual’s well being and health. For example, as a result of working for long hours, these individuals do not have enough time to rest, sleep or exercise. In order to minimize the resulting effects such as anxiety and insomnia, these professions depend on medications. Alternative habits formed include overeating and consuming a lot of alcohol.
Extreme working also affects individual’s family life and parenting. For example, working for long hours has denied individuals chances of being with their children and partners. This has the effect of straining family relationships (Hewlett & Luce, 2006, p. 6). With regard to parenting, working for long hours has negatively affected children behavior and performance in schools.
Working for long hours may also deny individuals chances of exploiting their talent. This may limit them from becoming self actualized. According to Perrewe and Ganster (2007, p. 248), working for long hours may limit an individual’s capacity to perform other worthwhile activities. Perrewe and Ganster (2007, p.248) also asserts that working for long hours is not directly attainment of hoped for returns.
There are a number of factors which have contributed to emergence of extreme jobs. According to Hewlett and Luce (2006, p. 7), individuals decision to work for long hours has been necessitated by changes in the global environment. Some of the changes which have resulted into extreme jobs include increase in competition in the individual profession and also at the corporate level. The work environment has become very challenging as firms adopt a lean operation strategy in an effort to remain competitive.
According to Hewlett and Luce (2006, p.7), this has culminated into a decline in job security as organizations integrate the concept of downsizing in an effort to make the organization lean. However, the concept of lean organization has led into an increment in employee workload. Hewlett & Luce (2006, p.6) are of the opinion that this arises from the fact that the remaining employees are required to produce equal or more amount of output prior to downsizing.
In addition, organizations are adopting a flat organization structure. This is applicable within the firms’ management level. As a result, employees are committed at ensuring that they increase their efforts in order to retain their jobs. Failure to meet the requirements may result into the firm incorporating the concept of outsourcing thus posing a threat to individual employee’s job security.
In addition, there has been increased incorporation of the concept of ‘extreme’ with regard to jobs. Currently jobs which are characterized by intense demands are currently becoming more desirable. As a result working for long hours is a necessity to prove an individual’s worth.
The technological environment has undergone numerous changes as a result of innovation. According to Hewlett and Luce (2006, p. 5), technology has played a significant role in facilitating extreme work. One of these technologies relate to innovation of wireless communication. Wireless communication through iPhones has enhanced communication between extreme workers and their clients.
As a result of working for long hours, individuals in extreme jobs are increasingly considering workplace to be a social centre while home is a source of stress. This arises from the fact that work gives the individuals capacity to network with various people. In addition, the work environment has undergone significant transformation.
One of these relates to emergence of knowledge work. Currently, exchange of ideas and knowledge has become a core component of work in organizations. Due to the knowledge based characteristic of work, individuals are increasingly deriving satisfaction from their work. As a result, these individual’s prefer to spend a lot of time in their jobs (Hewlett & Luce, 2006, p. 7).
According to a Roffey Park study conducted in Britain (Paton, 2010), Briton managers are ranked as managers who work for the longest hours in Europe. Findings of the study indicated that approximately60% of middle and senior level managers derive satisfaction from their work.
Currently, the job environment is taking a global perspective. As a result, various jobs are requiring individuals to adhere to multiple work zones. This has culminated into an increment in the length of workday. In order to remain competitive, organizations are incorporating the concept of internationalization in their operation (Hitt, Ireland & Hoskisson, 2009, p.60).
Hewlett and Luce (2006, p. 6), are of the opinion that desire to attain internationalization objective has culminated into an increment in volume of responsibility amongst managers. Globalization has culminated into firm’s incorporating the concept of off-shoring. According to Hitt, Ireland and Hoskisson (2009, p.60), this has led into long and strange working hours posing a threat of burnout.
From the analysis, it is evident that high ranking professionals working in organizations in different economic sectors are increasingly working for long hours. Despite the fact that working for long hours has enabled these individuals to work for long hours, there are various costs associated with working for long hours.
In order to eliminate the problems associated with extreme jobs, organizations in different economic sectors should formulate and implement a work-life balance policy. This means that employees’ motivation should not be based on monetary terms (Hakala, 2008, p. 16). Some of the key considerations which the management should consider include integration of flextime working. This entails giving the employee discretion on when to work.
However, a specific number of hours for example between 11 am to 3 pm per day requiring the employee to be working should be established. The employee must adhere to the set time. This will give the manager substantial amount of time to be with his or her family (Kemp, 2004). Alternatively, firms’ management team should incorporate the concept of job sharing. This should be attained through sharing certain tasks amongst firm’s employees.
This will aid in reducing the amount of workload applicable to a given individual. In order to achieve this, the firm’s management team should identify individuals within the work environment who are most effective in sharing the job. Another way which firm’s management should consider includes encouraging high ranking professionals to utilize their vacations.
In order to achieve this, firms’ management team should formulate formal leave policy. This policy entails encouraging all employees to take a leave in order to take care of their families and parents. According Parker (2005, p.17), firm’s management team should ensure that they provide employees working for long hours with an opportunity to balance other areas of their lives.
Organization’s management team should be keen when formulating organizational values. This arises from the fact that organizational values play a significant role in enhancing extreme jobs. When creating an organizational culture, firm’s management team should ensure that they extreme ethos are not emphasized. This arises from the fact that in the firm may be affected negatively in the long run (Hewlett & Luce, 2006, p. 4).
In addition, firm’s management team should also ensure that employee rewarding is not based on extreme ethos. One of the ways through which the firm’s management team can attain this is by eliminating creation of unattractive working environment. Despite these actions, it may be challenging for organizations to eliminate personal motivation towards ensuring that the organization attains a desired goal.
Hakala, D. (2008). 16 ways to encourage work life balance in employee. Retrieved November 29, 2010 from
Hewlett, A. & Luce, B. (2006). Extreme jobs: the dangerous allure of the 70 hour workweek. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business Review.
Hitt, M., Ireland, D. & Hoskisson, R. (2009). Strategic management: competitiveness and globalization: concepts and cases. London: Cengage Learning.
Kemp, S. (2004). Perfect solutions for difficult employee situation. New York: McGraw-Hill Professional.
Parker, B. (2005). Introduction to globalization and business: relationships and responsibilities. New York: Sage.
Paton, N. (2010). Long hours are a pleasure not a burden, say managers. Retrieved November 29, 2010 from
Perrewe, P. & Ganster, D. (2007). Exploring the work and non-work interface. New York: Emerald Group Publishing.