A ‘Multiple Needs’ Model
of Workaholism
& Other Worker Types
Evan J. Douglas & Robyn J. Morris
Introduction




Why do people work?
Why do some work harder than others?
Working hard is ‘good’ for business profitability,
national income, global competitiveness, etc.
But ‘Workaholics’ have negative impacts on
themselves, co-workers, family, community, etc.


They prefer to work, but they usually experience low work
enjoyment
‘Work Enthusiasts’ also work hard

They are averse to work itself, but work hard because they
gain high levels of work enjoyment.
Previous Research

Spence & Robbins identified 6 worker types,
based on their ‘triad’ of characteristics:

Work Involvement


Psychic Drive to work


Inner need to work
Work Enjoyment


The extent to which a person works hard
The satisfaction the person gains from working
Buelens & Poelmans (2004) identified 2 more…
The Worker Typology
Worker Type
Involvement
Drive
Enjoyment
Enthusiastic
Workaholic
High
High
High
Workaholic
(Work addict)
High
High
Low
Work Enthusiast
High
High
Low
Low
High
Low
Alienated
Professional
Low
High
High
Disenchanted
worker
Low
High
Low
Relaxed worker
Low
Low
Low
Low
High
Low
Reluctant Hard
Worker
Disengaged
worker
Focus on Consequences

Research has focused on the ‘hard worker’ types


Those with high work involvement
Focus has been largely on the consequences of
working hard

Hard workers may cause negative impacts on




Their own health
Co-worker job satisfaction
Business productivity
But so might others (who do not work very hard)
The Focus of this Paper

This is a conceptual paper, to identify and clarify
the motives for working (or not working) hard


Will not address the negative (or positive)
impacts of workaholism


And why people gain more (or less) work enjoyment
Conceptually separate issue (externalities)
Will treat ‘hard work’ as long hours and/or high
intensity of work

Work Effort = Hours x Intensity
Research Questions

What causes people to work harder, or less hard?



Only reason offered so far is ‘psychic drive’
What causes people to gain greater (or lesser)
work enjoyment?
Can we offer a theory that explains each of the
worker types?
Why they have high (or low) work involvement;
 Why they have high (or low) work enjoyment; and
 Why they have higher or lower total satisfaction.

What causes people to work harder?

They want more income


They don’t enjoy their non-work time



Social networking, good managers, good co-workers
Tangible and intangible perquisites (perks) of work
They have perfectionist tendencies


Lack of leisure activities, friends, toys to play with…
They enjoy the non-monetary aspects of work


To buy goods and services
Getting things perfect requires working longer
They want to achieve success or specific targets

Achieving targets takes longer than not achieving them
People work to satisfy needs…

Need for goods and services (+)


Need for leisure (-)


Work Orientation
Need for perfectionism (+/-)


Perquisite Orientation
Need to work (+/-)


Leisure Orientation
Need for perquisites associated with the workplace (+)


Economic Orientation
Perfectionist Orientation
Need for achievement (+)

Achievement Orientation
What causes people to be happier?

Having and enjoying goods and services


Having and enjoying their leisure (non-work) time


Work Orientation
Getting closer to perfection


Perquisite Orientation
Having the opportunity to work


Leisure Orientation
Having and enjoying perquisites at work


Economic Orientation
Perfectionist Orientation
Achieving targets and success

Achievement Orientation
Economic Orientation

Defined as ‘the strength of preference for income’



Income is generally related to productivity, which is
generally related to time spent working…


Expectancy theory (Vroom, 1964)
It encompasses the preference for future income


This preference is derived from the strength of preference
for goods and services (i.e. materialism)
Some strongly prefer material things, others less so…
E.g. One might work harder to gain a promotion
Also encompasses the preference for financial security

E.g. One might work harder to build a bigger ‘nest egg’
Leisure Orientation

Defined as ‘the attitude of an individual to leisure’


For simplicity in this paper, Leisure = Non-work
The strength of preference for non-work time

Is derived from the strength of preference one has for







High and low preferences for leisure…


Time spent by oneself, relaxing, sleeping
Time spent with family
Doing chores
Playing with one’s ‘toys’
Participating in the community
Involvement in sport and recreation, etc.
Depend on your preferences for the above components
The income-leisure trade-off

Only 24 hours in a day
The Income-Leisure Trade-off
Income
S
W3
Y3
W2
I3
Y2
W1
I2
Y1
0
I1
E1
E2 E3
Work Effort
Different Work-Effort Supply Curves
Y
(a)
Y
(b)
Y
S
(c)
S
S
E
E
0
Emax
0
Emax
E
0
Emax
Changed Economic or Leisure
Orientations
Income
S’
S
I”
B
Y’
I’
I
A
The ‘wall’
Y2
I2
0
C
E2
E’
E”
Emax Work Effort
Perquisite Orientation


Perquisite Orientation is defined as the strength of
preference for the non-monetary benefits associated
with working
Perks are both tangible & intangible



Some perks are negative




Physical things – office, car, location, etc.
Social interaction with co-workers, fun at work, good
management/leadership, achievement, etc
Irksome co-workers, traffic congestion, etc
Net perks = Perks – Irks
This is what we mean when we say ‘perquisites’
Perquisite orientation shifts the Supply Curve outward
Work Orientation



Defined as the individual’s attitude to work per se
Economists traditionally expect this is to be
negative; i.e. workers have an aversion to work.
Calvinistic ‘work ethic’ assumes that for some
people this attitude is positive:

An inner psychic need to work


Work itself gives satisfaction
This means the indifference curves will be
positively sloping in income-work effort space
The Range of Work Orientations
(a) Work Preference
(b) Preference & Aversion
(c) Work Aversion
Income
Y
S1
Y
S2
Y
S3
I*
0
Ewall
E
0
Ewall
E
0
Ewall
E
The Workaholic’s Supply Curve
I8
Income
I6
I5
Y3
S
I7
W2
I4
I3
Y2
B
A
C
I2
I1
0
E
Emax
Work
effort
Perfectionist Orientation


Defined as the strength of preference for achieving
perfect outcomes at work
Some people have stronger preference for perfectionism
than others

Has been associated with workaholism



Spence & Robbins (1992)
Scott, Moore & Miceli (1997)
May cause utility or disutility at work


Satisfaction from achieving perfect outcomes
Frustration with not getting things perfect

Therefore, may shift the supply curve out, or back.
Achievement Orientation

Defined as the strength of one’s preference for
achieving desired results at work
Completion of projects on time, on budget
 Winning formal or informal competitions
 Gaining market share, increased profitability, etc


Need for achievement has long been recognized
as underlying people’s motivation to excel
McClelland (1953)
 Scott, Moore & Miceli (1997)

Types of Work Enthusiast
TYPE
Work
effort
Work
Work
orient’n enjoy.
Econ
orient’n
High
Low
High
High
Low-Leisure
Work
High
Enthusiast
Low
High
Perk-loving
Work
Enthusiast
High
Low
High
Achieving
Work
Enthusiast
High
Low
High
Materialist
Work
Enthusiast
Leisure
orient’n
Perquis.
orient’n
Achieve
orient’n
Total
satisf ’n
High
Low
High
High
High
High
High
Further Speculations
TYPE
Work
effort
Work
Work
orient’n enjoy.
Econ
orient’n
Leisure
orient’n
High
Low
High
High
Low?
Low-Leisure
Work
High
Enthusiast
Low
High
Low
High?
High
Perk-loving
Work
Enthusiast
High
Low
High
Low?
High
High
Achieving
Work
Enthusiast
High
Low
High
Low?
High?
Materialist
Work
Enthusiast
Perquis.
orient’n
Achieve
orient’n
Total
satisf ’n
High
High
High
Other Worker Types
Work
hours
Inner
Drive
Enjoyment
Leisure
orientation
Perquisite
orientation
Enthusiastic
workaholic
Hi
Hi
Hi
?
?
Hi
Work addict
workaholic
Hi
Hi
Lo
?
?
Lo
Reluctant hard
worker
Hi
Lo
Lo
Hi
?
?
Alienated
professional
Lo
Hi
Hi
?
Hi
?
Disenchanted
worker
Lo
Hi
Lo
?
?
Lo
Relaxed worker
Lo
Lo
Hi
?
?
Hi
Disengaged worker
Lo
Lo
Lo
?
?
Lo
Worker types
Income
orientation
Some Further Speculations
Work
hours
Inner
Drive
Enjoyment
Leisure
orientation
Perquisite
orientation
Enthusiastic
workaholic
Hi
Hi
Hi
Hi?
Lo?
Hi
Work addict
workaholic
Hi
Hi
Lo
Lo?
Lo?
Lo
Reluctant hard
worker
Hi
Lo
Lo
Hi
Hi?
Lo?
Alienated
professional
Lo
Hi
Hi
Lo?
Hi
Hi?
Disenchanted
worker
Lo
Hi
Lo
Lo?
Hi?
Lo
Relaxed worker
Lo
Lo
Hi
Lo?
Hi?
Hi
Disengaged worker
Lo
Lo
Lo
Lo?
Hi?
Lo
Worker types
Economic
orientation
Summary and Conclusions

Six main motivations for work have been identified
and clarified:


Four types of Work Enthusiasts are identified:



Income, Leisure, Perquisite, Work, Perfectionist, and
Achievement orientations
Materialists, Low-leisure, Perk-loving, High-Achieving
Explanations offered for the high/low levels of
work involvement and/or work enjoyment in the
other worker types.
A series of propositions offered for empirical
testing
Thank you!
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Work Orientation