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Question 2:
What impact does workaholism have upon the individual?
The word ‘workaholism’ should not be new to people in the present world. People who are workaholic are commonly considered to be addicted to work and working longer hours than what they expected to. However, to give a more accurate definition for the word ‘workaholism’, according to Spence and Robbins (1992), a real workaholic is being described as people who are keen on doing their jobs, yet has no passion and love in it, the job is done due to the inner pressure of oneself. Workaholism is not only problematic for workaholic people themselves, but also brings negative impact to everyone who related to them, such as their families, employers and even the society as a whole (Robinson,2000, 2001; Salmela-Aro & Nurmi, 2004). This essay is going to discuss the impact that workaholism have upon the individual in three dimentions: outcomes of work, quality of social relationships and perceived health. It is also going to demonstrate the pros and cons of being workaholic as an individual and the influences that resulted by workaholism. It will finally reach a conclusion about how workaholism impact on the individuals.

Before to start the discussion, there is one thing to notice about, which is the type of workaholism. Not all types of workaholism are considered as bad, Spence and Robbins (1992) show a two-factor approach to workaholism, they classify people who considered being workaholic into two groups: enthusiasts workaholic or non-enthusiasts workaholic. As it says, people who are related to workaholic enthusiasts would work longer hours simply because they love their job and truly enjoy the process of completing their works. Therefore, this group of individuals is less likely to have negative mental or physical cost due to their workaholic behaviour. Conversely, people who are non-enthusiasts workaholic are those highly driven to work, however, have low level of enjoyment in their working process. This is to say that these individuals are working longer hours because of their inner pressure and they are forced to do so because of the internal stress. This group is more likely to experience mental or physical illness, due to larger amount of work but less utility gained from it.

Behaviour Pattern and Impact on Individual:

Scott, Moore, and Miceli provided a more detailed classification of workaholism in the year of 1997, where they criticised the definition made by Spence and Robbins (1992) that they think workaholism should involve more stable behavioural patterns. Thus they present the types of workaholic behaviour patterns. The pattern has sort workaholic types into three categories, which are compulsive-dependent workaholics, perfectionist workaholics and achievement-orientated workaholics.

According to Scott et al (1997), compulsive-dependent workaholics are already aware of they are overworking, however, they cannot mentally and physically control themselves from working obsessively. Perfectionist workaholics have not much difference to the compulsive-dependent workaholics. They also doing excessive amount of work and shows signs of personality disorder, however, they are more eager for seeking control of themselves and are more punctilious. Perfectionist workaholics find it is very difficult to work with their colleagues and share their work with them, and are extremely circumspect on unimportant details. These behaviours are very harmful to some of their social relationships at work with their co-workers and can also cause serious inefficiency at work.

Finally, the achievement-oriented workaholics have a very competitive characteristic and very emulative. These people have strong desire to success in their career and self established goal, and therefore they work excessive hours to achieve their aim. Due to the emulative nature of these individuals, they are likely not only mentally and physically burnout themselves, they are also likely to wipe out the relationship between their co-workers, friend, and even their family (Avani, Mark, Jennifer & Scott, 2012).

For all these workaholics, although they are different in types and may have different characteristics, they are all struggling with the exclusion of other social or life activities due to their over-indulgence in work activities (Robinson, 1997).

Outcomes of Work:

It seems that workaholics are working harder than other non-workaholics worker since they are working longer time, they should be more productive and efficient in their work outcomes; however, the research shows a different result. Burke (2001) states that the workaholics are working harder yet receive less reward for their efforts. This statement is supported by the idea of Spence & Robbins (1992), that it is not the external motivators makes workaholics work, but the strong inner drive of workaholics. From these two statements, workaholism does not have ideal positive impact on individuals who are workaholics. However, some researchers view workaholism as a positive phenomenon, as they think on an organizational level, employers would be happy to employ a workaholic to for them (Scott, Moore, & Miceli, 1997). Many organizational leaders usually are addicted to work themselves (Shimazu & Schaufeli, 2009). Also Korn, Pratt and Lambrou (1987) address the workaholics ‘hyper-performers’ on an organizational point of view.

Korn, E.R., Pratt, G.J., & Lambrou, P.T. (1987). Hyper-performance: The A.I.M. strategy for releasing your business potential. New York: John Wiley.

Robinson, B. (2000). Workaholism: Bridging the gap between workplace, sociocultural, and family research. Journal of Employment Counseling, 37, 31-47. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/j.2161-1920.2000.tb01024.x

Robinson, B. (2001). Workaholism and family functioning: A profile of familial relationships, psychological outcomes, and research considerations. Contemporary Family Therapy: An International Journal, 23, 123-135. http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1007880301342

Robinson, B.E. (1997). Work addiction and the family: Conceptual research considerations. Early Child Development and Care, 137, 77-92.

Salmela-Aro, K., & Nurmi, J. (2004). Employees’ motivational orientation and well-being at work: A person-oriented approach. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 17, 471-489. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09534810410554498

Scott, K.S., Moore, K.S., & Miceli, M.P. (1997). An exploration of the meaning and consequences of workaholism. Human Relations, 50, 287–314.

Shimazu, A., & Schaufeli, W.B. (2009). Is workaholism good or bad for employee well- being? The distinctiveness of workaholism and work engagement among Japanese employees. Industrial Health, 47, 495-502.

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