Anglais, encore un effort!

Burchell, Brendan
June 2006
Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales;jun2006, Issue 163, p91
Academic Journal
The first half of this paper examines attempts to quantify changes in the intensity of work in the UK over the past forty years. A number of methodologies are critically reviewed, and it is concluded that the most reliable evidence is based on repeated cross-sectional surveys. These provide a picture of a marked net increase in the intensity of work in the UK the period 1992-1995, followed by a levelling off in 1996-2000. The second half of the paper examines the causes and consequences of this rise. A number of causes, ranging from globalised competition to more efficient management have been proposed, but there is little clear evidence that would allow the various claims to be tested. There is, however, clear evidence that intensity of work is associated with markedly worse employment-related health. A dramatic increase in stress-related claims against employers has resulted in legal judgements that clarify the shared responsibility of employers and employees for stress and health, making it more difficult for employees to sue employers successfully. The role of the media in popularising the relationship between overwork and stress is examined, and it is suggested that one reason for a recent stabilisation of levels of intensity may be due in part to the raised awareness of problems of overwork amongst employees.


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