Sex Roles, Vol. 41, Nos. 5/6, 1999
Workaholism in Organizatio ns: Gender D ifferences
Ron ald J. Burke
Yo rk Un i
Although the concept of workah olism in organ iz ations has recei
ed co nsid er-
able attentio n, our understan din g of it based on research e
iden ce is lim ited .
This resu lts from the ab sence of both su itab le de® nitions an d measures of
the concept. This study, using m easu res de
eloped b y Spence an d Robbin s
(1992), exam in es gender differences in a predomin an tly white man agerial
sam ple Ð in three workah olism com ponen ts an d workah olic job beh a
am ong m an agers an d pro fessio nals. A lthough females an d m ales w ere fou nd
to differ on m an y personal an d situ ational dem ograp h ic characters, they
were sim ilar on the three workah olism componen ts: w ork in
en to w ork, an d work enjoym ent. Fem ales reported high er le
particu lar workah olic jo b beha
io rs (e.g., perfectionism, jo b stress) likely to
be asso ciated w ith lower le
els of satisfactio n an d well-b eing.
Although conside rable attention has be en devote d to the conce pt of
``workaholism’ ’ (Fasse l, 1990; Gar® eld, 1987; Kie che l, 1989a, b; Killinge r,
1991; Klaft & Kleine r, 1988; Machlowitz, 1980; Wadde ll, 1993) , very
little rese arch has be en unde rtake n to furthe r our unde rstanding of it.
Most writing has be en ane cdotal and clinical (Fasse l, 1990; Killinge r,
1991; O ates, 1971; Schae f & Fasse l; 1988) . Basic questions of de ® nition
have not be en addre ssed and measure ment conce rns have be en avoide d
(Scott, Moore , & Miceli, 1997) .
It should come as no surprise , then, that opinions, obse rvations,
and conclusions about workaholis m are both varie d and con¯ icting. Som e
write rs view workaholism positive ly from an organization al pe rspe ctive
(Korn, Pratt, & Lambrou, 1987; Machlowitz, 1980; Sprankle & Ebe l,
This re se arch was su pporte d in part by York Unive rsity. I thank Jane t Spence for making
he r me asures available. Grae me Macde rmid assisted with data collection and analysis.
1999 P le num Publishing Corporation