Synopses & Reviews
Why do Americans work so hard? Is it because our jobs are peculiarly demanding or is it because of the way we define success? Leslie A. Perlow documents the worklife of employees who believe that in order to do their work and succeed within their company they must put in extended hours on the job. Perlow doesn't buy it. She challenges the basic assumption that the more employees work, the better the corporation will do.
For nine months, Perlow studied the work practices of a product development team of software engineers at a Fortune 500 corporation. Each of the three parts of Perlow's book begins with in-depth stories about individual employees, followed by more analytic chapters. The employees work in a culture that perpetuates crises, rewards individual heroics, and promotes continuous interruption of individuals who are all focused on completing their own jobs. Perlow investigates the impact these conditions have on employees, both in terms of their individual and collective output, and in terms of their lives outside of work.
Perlow initiated a collaborative project to restructure the use of time at work. Managers who were involved credit the project for the rare and important on-time launch of the product the engineers were developing. Perlow's book shows how to enable individuals to spend more time at home while also improving the organization's productivity.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 149-151) and index.