Academic journal article Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management

Workaholism and Authenticity: The Role of Life Satisfaction

Academic journal article Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management

Workaholism and Authenticity: The Role of Life Satisfaction

Article excerpt

Introduction

For many individuals, work is an integral and meaningful part of life that serves as a source of financial security and contributes to one's personal identity (Burke, 2000a). Jacobs and Gerson (2004) found that in the United States, 25% of men and 11% of women work over 50 hours per week. Additionally, Ng and Feldman (2008) reported that the portion of American employees working at least 40 hours per week has increased to 80% over the last decade. Although these numbers are striking and reveal the demanding nature of today's workplace, the concept of workaholism is not only characterized by long work hours, but also by intrinsic work motivation and the adrenaline rush from hard work (Bonebright, Clay, & Ankenmann, 2000). These data also suggest that individuals are becoming increasingly committed to their work and, consequently, work is becoming a more prominent aspect of life. However, while the workplace is intended to be a space where employees are free to challenge themselves and explore innovative ideas, it can also be an arena for the emergence of dysfunction and negative effects (Clark, Michel, Zhdanova, Pui, & Baltes, 2014). In fact, harmful consequences that stem from work-life imbalance may trickle into other realms of life and threaten one's overall well-being (Aziz & Zickar, 2006; Chen, 2006; Clark et al., 2014).

Given that workaholism can influence most parts of an individual's life, workaholics more than likely struggle in their ability to behave as their authentic selves. Authenticity at work is a beneficial characteristic; therefore, it is important to further investigate the underlying connections between these two variables. The primary goal of the current study was to explore the potential relationship between authenticity and workaholism. These two variables are of particular interest because they both correlate with subjective well-being, but in opposing directions. Considering the detrimental nature of workaholism, it is essential to uncover variables that are associated with addictive work behaviors. Discovering a link between workaholism and authenticity could not only enhance our understanding of workaholism patterns, but also unveil new treatment options.

Workaholism Overview

Work addiction, commonly known as workaholism, has received considerable attention by social media, managers, and researchers in recent decades (Clark et al., 2014; Spence & Robbins, 1992). Ever since the term first appeared in the literature by Oates (1971) to describe individuals who have an uncontrollable need and compulsion to work, many different conceptualizations of workaholism have emerged. For instance, although workaholism is not diagnosed as a mental disorder, Robinson (1998) defined it as an obsessive-compulsive disorder portrayed by overindulgence in work. Workaholics, compared to others, are also viewed as working extensive hours, usually at the expense of personal activities and social endeavors, both of which are necessary for optimal functioning (Clark et al., 2014). Despite the fact that workaholism does not identify a recognized mental illness, Aziz and Zickar (2006) thought of it as a syndrome. According to Vodanovich and Piotrowski (2006), in the earlier stages, workaholic behaviors exist and can negatively affect one's work-life patterns and personal relationships, but these behaviors do not yet affect overall health. However, as the syndrome continues, workaholic tendencies intensify and the excessive fixation with work begins to interfere with daily life. Those who suffer from this multi-faceted disorder work incessantly, above and beyond financial and job requirements, to avoid feelings of guilt, distress, or anxiety about not working (Aziz & Zickar, 2006; Burke, 2000b). The inevitable strain that haunts one's personal and social life can have a detrimental influence on health, quality of work, family life, and the organization as a whole (Clark et al. …

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