Long-hours Working Culture

The Evaluation of Long-hours Working Culture at Work and Non-work Performance.

Background and problems

In Britain people work longer hours than in any other part of Europe. Where else other countries have already realised that working excessively long hours is bad for health. As a result most of those heavy workers lead unbalance life. In further addition they suffered deficiency in time management. Therefore it becomes hard to maintain other non work responsibilities.

According to The Trade Union Congress (2009), long hours working culture is a factor of work-life balance. Excessive working hours are bad for work-life balance, health, productivity and safety. Working long hours also causes increased levels of stress, resulting in irritability, exhaustion and depression.

The following facts would demonstrate the background and some facts that relates to long hours working culture. In addition, it will give a scenario that I will be investigating on

§ Only one in three people with jobs know that the law protects them against working more than 48 hours a week.

§ Three out of five of those who work more than 48 hours say they would like to work fewer hours

§ The DTI survey found one in five men (19 per cent) had visited the doctor because of stress, rising to one quarter (23 per cent) of over 40s.

Problem situation:

According to BBC, long hours working scheme container of risk of suffering injury or illness. The term ‘long hours working time' means working 43.6-hour per week on average. However, there is a significant change can be seen in last seven years. The long hours working time scale increased from 10% to 26% in relation to late 90s. In UK people working more than 48 hours per week under the arrangement of long hours working scheme. Audrey Gillan (2005)

Since, study proposal stated what long hours working culture causing us by physically and mentally. Therefore, my finding would be a clear scenario of how long hours working pattern effecting work performance and non-work performance. The term non-work performance means family and other social work that should be carried out as a human being. I will also be investigating on work-life balance in terms of long working hours. How long-hours working pattern differentiate the performance at work and non-work responsibilities in relation to others (ibid).

This research aims to interview a number of people working for TESCO under the long hour working scheme. This investigation will also relate people problem and performance. Here key objectives will be the line manager, team leader and general assistant of TESCO. However some of full time students those working for this company will be put in the questioner list. Here important fact is that they are working as well as studying at the same time. For them the research would be on how they are performing at study after working. Along with, how they are adjusting their work responsibilities as well as managing time for their study (ibid). Audrey Gillan (2005)

Research Questions/objectives:

Throughout the research that this study would like to find out the following questions.

§ To what extent people see long working hours and what kind of problems they are facing both work and non-work life.

§ What are the impacts of long working hours causing in performance?

§ To provide an analysis of long hours working scheme in relation to organisational growth.

Objectives of the study:

I am working for Tesco as a team leader from last two years. By being in touch with this company's management and working procedure I have had a chance to observe stress due to long hour work. Throughout my experience it was clearly noticeable the different attitude in performance causing long working hours. There are some objectives those will take in consideration while the research will carry on:

§ To provide some recommendations in relation to long working hours scheme and make life easier.

§ To provide a theoretical framework and making people aware of long working hours.

§ To find out apposite and consistent Human Resource concepts of working patterns.

§ What are the organisational theories available in relation to long hours working scheme. E.g. Chartered Institute of Personal Development. (CIPD)

Importance of studying:

This study will help people to understand what long working hours causing them. It will help evaluating what are the problems they are facing. How they can make significant changes in their life.

For employer it will help to enhance organisational productivity. The government would be benefited as well. The National Health Services (NHS) would be able to save their funds they are using for work stress related sickness.

Since, people would be able to find out how to manage their work-stress from long hours working scheme, they will be more family oriented. Therefore, there will be a mature social balance helping to keep family relation warm. People would get more time to do their other works, such as household activities, training and so on. Consequently, people would be multi skilled and more productive.

Theoretical framework:

Work-life balance is one of the research frames that will be using during the research. Apart from it this study will use flexible working hours and visit online work-life-research in order to get appropriate knowledge to implement and find out my research objectives.

Work life balance is about enhancing organisational competence and resilience through helping employees to achieve a sustainable balance between work, life and family. It has double effectiveness. Through work-life balance company can improve their productivity as well as employees make their life easier.

Flexible working & work-life balance solutions:

The benefits to employee wellbeing are clear, but the potential positive impact on organisational performance is significant too:

• Increased employee morale

• Reduced absenteeism and lateness

• Improved staff retention, particularly of experienced staff

• Increased productivity and improve customer service

• Greater employee commitment to business goals

• Increased the willingness of employees to be flexible in times of business need or change

Here, the research come up to recognize that flexibility enhance organisational efficiency and employee's motivation. Work time flexibility may drive employee's motivation towards organisational goal.

Another theory will be used in order to execute my research objectives is Maslow's hierarchy of needs. He believed that people are not merely controlled by mechanical forces (the stimuli and reinforcement forces of behaviourism) or unconscious instinctual impulses of psychoanalysis, but should be understood in terms of human potential.Maslow, Abraham H (1970) believed that each person has five categories of needs:

Physiological needs - Basic needs for the body, such as food shelter drink rest etc.

Safety needs - Where the basic needs are reasonably satisfied we turn to thinking about protection from danger, security and order so that we feel safe. This safety needs can be a concern for physical safety but also covers psychological safety needs such as job security etc.

Social needs - Once the first two needs are reasonably satisfied, social needs such as needing acceptance, giving and receiving affection and "belonging" become things that people want

Long working hours driving people to work for the most part of their life. They fail to see their outer socialism and family affection.

Ego needs - people's need for achievement, self esteem, self confidence, respect and status.

In this stage people want to realize how they are benefiting themselves working long. They try to out their achievement and respect regarding working long hours.

Self Actualisation needs - finally at the top of the hierarchy once all of the other levels have been reasonably satisfied is the need to become the person that we feel that we are capable of becoming.

Research methods:

This research will follow a line of investigation and will use single method research process. As we already know this research technique has been introduced as a combination of both quantitative and qualitative research. In addition this technique was introduced by business research specialist Bryman A. & Bell, E. in 2003 edition. There are some significant reasons to undertake this research process. Those are details as below:

This research method contain in depth interview with the senior management of the organization. By undertaking this method I can get a clear understanding of some relative issue that meet my research objectives.
A series of questioner will be provided among Tesco's selected employees that are selected as sampling plan. Those questions will be mixed of some open ended and explanatory model. They will be welcome for their free comments regarding this issue.
Following of above a small group of combined designated employees will be asked to join in a discussion group. This program key objective is to bring out textual data from entire questioner.
In this level the research method mostly demonstrate quantitative methods of research techniques. As mentioned earlier quantitative research technique used to gather quantitative data - information which dealing with numbers and anything that is measurable. The reason I choose to use quantitative research techniques is to measure how many staffs concerning about long hours working and how they are performing in relation to it.
Finally a semi structured group interviews will be organized with further representative employees group to analyse questioner result. This will help to find out clear meaning of the collected data.

Data Collection:

As mentioned earlier that the main source of data collection would be from the questionnaire distributed within the employees. The reason that chosen to do questionnaire because it is cheap and quicker way to get required information. I shell put some open ended and closed question in my questionnaire. A closed question can be answered with either a single word or a short phrase. E.g. where do you live? This can be answered with using one or two words. Closed question helps to keep respondents attention. On the other hand, open-ended questions are those that allow respondents to answer in their own words. E.g. how would you define long working hours? The use of open ended questions will allow employees to describe or define the question asked. However, the questions would be short and easy to understand. I believe people are not much interested filling up the questionnaire. Therefore, I tried to design my questionnaire in shorter form and keep it straightforward.

In depth interviews is conducted one-on-one, and lasts between 30 and 60 minutes. It helps to get personal opinions, beliefs, and values of the person interviewed. It also a very rich depth of information, flexible and probing is very useful at uncovering hidden issues. I will interview the HR manager of TESCO where I am working at present. I hope and believe to get very depth information in relation to my research objectives.

Semi-structured interview will be arranged with a small group of employees. The questions will be mostly open-ended in order to encourage interviewer describe and elaborate more about the question asked.

Data analysis techniques:

The collected data will be presenting in graphs, diagram and in table. I will mainly be using Excel with the purpose of presenting data.

There will be a brief statement based on qualitative research information. In addition, a comparative analysis will be shown at the of the data presentation between the variables. The two main variables are long hours working culture and performance at work and non-work living.

Contribution of this study:

This study will help employees of the TESCO to understand how long hours working culture affecting their social life and individual's health. The performance at work and the effect on company's growth will be focussed deliberately. Employee's perception towards long hours working culture and various work flexibility will be proposed.

Findings of work-life balance will help employees to enhance their knowledge about employee law and regulation.


Week 1: general searching concerning business problem.

Week 3: selecting topic and start writing up research proposal. Week 2: critique paper finding and making draft. Week 4: critique paper finalizing.

Week 5: making questionnaire and arranging interview date and setting up timetable. Week 5: analysing and presenting data. Week 6: Finalizing the structure of project report.

Week 7: writing up project report.

Critiquing the literature/academic paper:

Main Critique:

Like the quality of employment, decent work is a multidimensional concept, hence it is not easy to measure in a way which encompasses all its components and shows their interconnectedness (Ghai 2003). There have been many approaches to measuring decent work, and a special volume (142) of the International Labour Review is devoted to it.

Precarious on-standard employment:

Another related concept is that of ‘precarious' non-standard employment. Non-standard work is work that is not full time and permanent. While non-standard work by itself is not precarious, if we consider non-standard work to exist along a continuum, at its lower end are casual, temporary and fixed-term workers whose employment is more likely to be precarious than at its upper end.

Precarious work is of low quality, e.g. low wages, low job security, limited control over workplace conditions, little protection from workplace health and safety risks and less opportunity for training and career progression; and because of this, it puts workers at risk of injury, illness and/or poverty (quoted in Tucker 2002). Attempts to define precarious employment face similar issues to defining the quality of employment, because both are multidimensional and subjective. The intersection between the nature of the job and the worker's preferences makes any employment precarious, rather than the presence of a single criterion or many criteria. Precarious non-standard employment has become a policy concern in recent times because of the increase in non-standard employment (Tucker 2002).


Employment is an area where inequality manifests itself, not only in unemployment rates, but also in job characteristics and their longer term consequences. High quality jobs are generally also the most productive ones, and require higher levels of skills from workers. While quality

improvements can often entail costs, poor quality of employment can lead to a range of less than positive outcomes for employers, employees, society and the economy. Hence, employment quality deserves the attention of policy makers, employers and the government. For the purposes of this paper, I have categorised the outcomes into the broad areas of human rights concerns; social equity concerns; impacts on the worker and their family; and economic and business costs. These areas are overlapping rather than distinct, despite being separated in this paper. And while the evidence concerns different definitions of low and high quality employment, it still refers to employment which in some way or other is not optimal for the workers concerned.

Human rights concerns:

From a human rights perspective, we could argue that everyone deserves to have the opportunity to be in decent work or work with at least reasonable conditions (e.g. a wage which allows them to maintain a basic standard of living; a job in which the risks of harm are minimised and in which they are not exploited) from which they derive job satisfaction. Research has established a link between the workplace environment and job satisfaction (Data Quest Consulting 1999).

Social equity concerns:

Low quality employment is not randomly distributed in the population. It is important to consider who is in low quality employment because of the link between the quality of employment and poverty and social exclusion (Commission of the European Communities 2001). In general, women, youth, older people, less educated people, less skilled people, ethnic minorities and people who are disadvantaged in some way and/or are at the margins of the labour market are more likely to be in low quality employment, exacerbating such disadvantage. (For a review of the distribution of lower end non-standard employment, see Tucker (2002)).

People with low or no skills are more likely to be in temporary or precarious work, lacking career development opportunities. Hence, people in low quality jobs have a higher risk of becoming unemployed or of dropping out of the labour force. The ongoing loss of low-skilled, low productivity jobs will make it harder to integrate low-skilled people into the labour market (Commission of the European Communities 2001).

Grzywacz and Dooley (2003) found that less than optimal forms of employment were not randomly distributed in the UK population: women, workers with lower levels of education, people of colour and workers aged 65 or over were more likely to be in ‘barely adequate' or ‘inadequate' jobs.

Johnson and Corcoran (2003) present evidence that low skilled workers attain poor quality jobs, with low wages and minimal benefits. Atkinson and Williams (2003) found that low-skill, low status employees and welfare recipients who end up in low-pay, low-status jobs (i.e. low quality) are not helped in moving away from such employment by employer attitudes and practices towards such people.

Sehnbruch (2004) also found a link between unemployment and low quality employment. Using the index she had developed to measure the quality of employment, she found that in Chile, women, older workers, younger workers ‘in the crucial stage of family building', workers without tertiary education and workers in smaller companies were in lower quality employment.

Are bad jobs better than no jobs?

Employment is a source of income, social relationships, identity and individual self-esteem

(Winkelmann and Winkelmann 1998). Being in employment at any given time is also expected to provide benefits in the future, such as wages and the probability of being employed (Richardson and Miller-Lewis 2002). So is any job, even a bad one better than not having a job? Social welfare policies in many countries are based on this premise. However, there is divided opinion about whether unemployed people should take any job as a springboard to further employment, even if it does not offer favourable conditions (such as limited or no training, exposure to health and safety risks) and is not well matched to their skills and qualifications, or whether taking up such employment will lead to nothing more than being trapped in a succession of bad jobs. Much of the work in this area has been done on improved wages rather than other characteristics of employment, and the evidence suggests that entering any job does not necessarily lead to improved wages.

To the extent that low paid jobs can be associated with other less than optimal conditions of employment like limited or no training, exposure to health and safety risks, limited employee influence on their job, the results are generalisable to poor quality employment. Entering a job can mean gaining entry into the labour market and retaining a place in it. Evidence from German panel data has shown that becoming unemployed had a significant negative effect on

life satisfaction (Winkelmann and Winkelmann 1998), supporting the argument to take up any job. Based on studies of job satisfaction which conclude that moving from an average job to unemployment reduces happiness more than does moving from an average job a bad job, Layard (2004) asserted that being in a bad job was better than being unemployed. However, he conceded that not everyone progressed ‘upwards' from bad jobs (Layard 2004:6). To mitigate the low earnings associated with bad jobs, in-work benefits should be used to supplement earnings, making bad jobs better. But in the long run people should be trained in sufficient skills to be able to earn a decent living (Layard 2004).

Not necessarily:

There is much more evidence to support the argument that entering any employment does not necessarily promote mobility into better quality employment. ‘McJobs' with limited prospects of upward mobility, held by young workers, with few qualifications, possibly a history of unemployment, requiring little skill, with poor pay and fringe benefits (McGovern et al 2004) tend to be dead-end types of jobs.

In the UK, Stewart (2002) found that the low quality of employment was the main reason unemployment persisted among labour market re-entrants. These jobs tended to be low paid and unstable, leading to dead ends, rather than improving workers' human capital or skills and productivity. There was a similar pattern with workers remaining in low paid jobs. Further, these two patterns were linked in a ‘low pay – no pay cycle' with low paid workers more likely to become unemployed in the future, and the unemployed more likely to be low paid on re-entry to employment (Stewart 2000:1). Hence, he argued that policy should be focused on getting unemployed people into a good job rather than any job.

Johnson and Corcoran (2003) concluded that the work-first approach did not necessarily lead to improved quality of employment in the US. The work by Atkinson and Williams (2003) in the US also supported this view. They investigated the role of employer attitudes and practices in hiring people in low-pay, low-status jobs where disadvantaged and previously unemployed people often end up and which provide little or no training or promotion opportunities. These people face strong multiple barriers to gaining, retaining and advancing in employment. Their opportunities for advancement were largely restricted to either opportunities with the same employer which did not require better formal qualifications, or similar jobs with better employers. Turnover is often high in such jobs, but reducing it is not a high priority for employers. Employers tend to be prejudiced against the long-term unemployed and people out of work for 2 years. The authors found that such low quality jobs provided little or no basis for substantially advancing through the labour market.

Yet more evidence to support this:

From an analysis of the earnings patterns of low wage workers using longitudinal data in the US, Holzer et al (2002) found that while nearly half had improved earnings within three years, this improvement was very modest for most of them. White males were most likely to have improved earnings; in contrast black and other (mostly Hispanic) males were hampered by lesser access to high-quality jobs. Changing jobs and industry was associated with improved earnings, but a significant proportion had improved earnings from remaining in their jobs. The authors concluded that there was no single path for improving earnings. The characteristics of the employing firm also impacted on wages, such that ‘it is useful to try placing low earners into high-wage sectors, firms with low turnover, and larger firms that provide job ladders and possibilities of upward mobility' (Holzer et al 2002:42). Working through a temping agency was associated with lower pay for the low earners, but higher subsequent wages and better job characteristics, suggesting that such labour market intermediaries may have an important role in helping low earners move into higher paid opportunities (Holzer et al 2002).

After a comprehensive review of the literature on mobility from low wage jobs from the US, UK and OECD, Richardson and Miller-Lewis (2002) concluded that a low wage job cannot be assumed to be preferable to no job. There were many reasons for this conclusion. Being in a low paid, insecure job improved one's chances of being subsequently employed only modestly, and it did not lead to better mental well-being than being unemployed. Studies have found ‘quite low' levels of wage mobility among low wage workers in the UK and US and that ‘quite a large fraction' cycled between low wage jobs and no jobs (Richardson and Miller-Lewis 2002:40, 41). Mobility was higher for youth, men and more educated workers. ‘Thus, for older, less educated and female workers, low wages are likely to be a trap rather than the first step on the ladder' (Richardson and Miller-Lewis 2002:41). However, the finding of falling mobility was based on data from the 1980s and early to mid 1990s when wage inequality rose. The authors did not discount the possibility that the trend of reducing mobility may have reversed during the second half of the 1990s when the US labour market was strong.

In summary, while entering any job may improve (even if only modestly) one's chances of being in subsequent employment, it is unlikely to lead to improved quality of employment. This is a major policy concern because people in low quality employment tend to get trapped in it or to cycle between unemployment and poor quality employment.

What helps people move from low to high quality employment?

Despite the above assertion, many workers do move from low to better quality employment. The evidence suggests the following factors can promote such a transition (or at least better wages):

* voluntarily moving jobs periodically (Atkinson and Williams 2003, Johnson and Corcoran2003)

* acquiring higher skills, whether unemployed or employed (Atkinson and Williams 2003)

* ensuring an appropriate match – from the perspective of getting into higher qualityemployment, it is better to enter a job well matched to the individual's skills, experience and qualifications, than to enter any job (Atkinson and Williams 2003, Richardson and Miller-Lewis 2002)

* employment in the public sector, or in a large, profitable, low turnover firm in high wage industries or industries other than retail, hospitality or personal services (Richardson and Miller-Lewis 2002, Holzer et al 2002)

* initial employment through labour market intermediaries like temping agencies (Holzer et al 2002)

These findings are fairly consistent with Tucker's (2002) findings about mobility from a literature review on precarious non-standard employment.

Impacts on the worker and their family:

Being in low quality employment has impacts not only on the workers, e.g. income, training, health and safety risks, employment relations, health; but also more widely on their family, e.g. children's activities and work-life balance issues.


Remaining in low quality employment perpetuates earnings differentials. The international evidence agrees on the association between precarious non-standard work and low income compared to workers in standard full-time employment. The discrepancy in earnings can be explained by the workers' demographic characteristics (e.g. age, education, ethnicity and occupation) or by the temporary nature of the work. Low income has wider consequences than just the fiscal impacts. In the US, low income earners also less likely to receive health insurance and, pension benefits (Tucker 2002).


As indicated above, when people get trapped in low quality employment they have limited chances of receiving training and raising their productivity and hence improving their chances of getting better employment. This perpetuates the individual's disadvantage and from a wider perspective is detrimental to an economy hampered by skill shortages.

Health and safety risks at work:

Low quality employment is associated with increased health and safety concerns for workers, e.g. occupational illnesses, diseases, infections and injuries from gradual process. Workers in

temporary and contractual situations are less likely to have access to adequate health and safety training and control over working times (Tucker 2002). Workplace injuries as a result of inadequately managed health and safety risks entail social and economic costs not just for the injured worker (e.g. lost earnings, medical costs, quality of life), but also their employer (e.g. lost output) and family (e.g. medical costs, social relationships).

Mental and physical health (outside of work):

Grzywacz and Dooley (2003) examined the association between different employment statuses on an employment continuum with physical health and depression in the United States. Using survey data, people were allocated to an employment continuum which was divided as follows, depending on relative levels of desirable psychological (e.g. decision latitude, job demands), economic (income) and non-income (e.g. health and retirement benefits) attributes of jobs:

* unemployed not currently working but looking for work

* inadequate jobs currently working but earning below federal poverty standards

* barely adequate jobs better than inadequate jobs, but do not provide basic levels of economic or non-income resources or psychological attributes

* economically good jobs provide adequate economic or non-income resources, but lacking basic psychological attributes

* psychologically good jobs provide adequate psychological attributes, but lacking basic economic or non-income resources

* optimal jobs provide adequate economic or non-income resources and adequate psychological attributes Less than optimal jobs were consistently associated with poorer physical and mental health.

However, people in ‘psychologically adequate' jobs did not show such differences from people in ‘optimal' jobs, leading the authors to assert that: during periods of relative economic prosperity … psychological aspects of employment arrangement appear to be more important to employee health and wellbeing than economic considerations, provided an adequate economic threshold has been met. (Grzywacz and Dooley 2003:1758). The evidence suggests a relationship between workplace characteristics and health outcomes, e.g. ‘job strain' is a risk factor for heart disease (DataQuest Consulting 1999). These findings support the need to look beyond the simple dichotomy between unemployment and employment to the quality of employment when considering the health of the economy, as well as of individuals.

Unemployment statistics do not give a measure of the health-implications of bad jobs. Transitions from employment to unemployment may have comparable effects on an individual's health and well-being as moving from optimal to barely adequate jobs (Grzywacz and Dooley 2003).

Employment relations:

Non-standard working arrangements have been found to influence the workers' employment

relations. Third parties like unions are often removed from the industrial relations process in such situations. Casual workers were less informed than permanent employees about their minimum conditions, received less favourable conditions and did not always receive their entitlements such as holidays (Tucker 2002).

Impacts on the family:

In so-called developing economies, people employed in the ‘informal' sector are likely to be in lower quality jobs, as well as to be excluded from most provisions of labour market legislation such as minimum standards. The children of adults in stable employment with a regular income can engage in activities such as education (Sehnbruch 2004). Working non-standard hours and/or having inflexible hours is more likely to impact negatively on a worker's health and well-being, family relations and quality of life, e.g. by reducing opportunities for interaction with friends and family in their leisure time (Tucker 2002). Such work can impose significant costs on workers if they need to re-arrange their personal lives, for example, they may face greater difficulties in arranging childcare.

Economic and business costs:

Even though quality employment is associated with (at least) decent wages and conditions for workers, it has wider impacts than just the workers involved. Ultimately the costs and benefits of poor quality employment are borne by businesses, the tax payer and society at large.

Recruitment and retention:

Replacing experienced employees can be expensive in terms of cost and output for employers. High quality employment is associated with improved recruitment and retention. This is particularly significant when the labour market is tight, with skill and labour shortages. Such shortages can lead to a loss of output which is inefficient, e.g. the crops of horticultural growers may remain unpicked, or hospitals cancel surgery because of nursing shortages.

Examining what people value and what they expect in a job is important because both of these variables influence employee retention (Taris et al 2005). Research suggests that people search for jobs that fit in with their work values (see also Clark's (1998) findings on page 46). The match between such individual values and features of the job, team and organisation (these three features comprise ‘job supplies') influence the individual's job satisfaction and commitment to the job which leads to a better chance of their retention in it. However, in Dutch young adults, an even stronger predictor of job satisfaction (and hence intention to remain in the job) was found to be the extent to which an individual's initial expectations about the job were met once they began working in it.2 The authors suggested that this had important implications for the information and orientation that people were given about jobs before they began them, as well as for individual development programmes:

Aside from increasing efforts to provide early realistic orientation for new employees, it is important that employees learn more about their self-concept and about the kind of rewards provided by the organization that matches best with their self-concepts. (Taris et al 2005:378) This finding about met-expectations reflects Booker et al's (2001) result from Canada, where students' decisions about continuing a career in the Public Service were related to (among other factors) the extent to which their expectations had been met.

Recruitment and retention in the non-profit sector:

In Canada, McMullen and Schellenberg (2003) compared some characteristics of employment among the non-profit, profit and quango sectors (non-profit organisations in ‘quasi-public' industries including schools, colleges/ universities, hospitals and public infrastructure) to get a picture of the quality of employment in the non-profit sector. The authors identified illustrative dimensions and indicators of the quality of employment in the non-profit sector, but their analysis focused on selected aspects of the quality of employment, including extrinsic rewards and hours and scheduling. Refer to Appendix II for these dimensions and indicators. Their findings (from the 1999 Workplace and Employee Survey) showed that a higher proportion of workers in the non-profit sector than in the profit and quango sectors had temporary or part-time employment; flexible working arrangements; access to benefits like medical and life insurance, pension plans, etc. However, workers in the non-profit sector, who are largely female, had lower hourly earnings and often lower total earnings because they were more likely to work fewer total hours (McMullen and Schellenberg 2003).

The survey findings showed that a similar proportion of workers in the non-profit and quango sectors, but slightly more in the profit sector, reported being satisfied with both, their job, and their pay and benefits. However, the difference was much greater among workers aged 45 and over, particularly in the case of dissatisfaction with pay and benefits (McMullen and Schellenberg 2003). The literature suggests that workers in the non-profit sector are more likely to derive intrinsic rewards by contributing to the community or by helping others. The authors found support for this in the survey where workers aged 45 or over from the non-profit sector were more likely than workers in other sectors to report satisfaction with their job, but not with their pay and benefits.

While part-time employment may be attractive to workers seeking to balance work and family responsibilities, this need for flexibility varied during their life. The authors believed that this may have explained the older workers' dissatisfaction with their pay and benefits, as they re-evaluated the trade-offs they made when their family responsibilities were no longer as heavy as they had been (McMullen and Schellenberg 2003). The authors concluded that non-profit organisations needed to consider recruitment and retention issues because in years to come they would compete with the quasi-public and public sectors for the same pool of educated and skilled employees. The non-profit sector, which was human-resource intensive compared to other sectors, needed to know and understand the nature of the work it offered and the characteristics of employees working in it, to improve working conditions in it (McMullen and Schellenberg 2003).


The Commission of the European Communities (2001) proposes that improving the quality of employment can be part of a virtuous circle of increasing productivity, rising living standards and sustainable economic growth. High quality employment is associated with productivity in many ways. For example, such employment entails learning and development for individual workers, improving their human capital and hence their productivity. High staff turnover can discourage employers from spending much on employee training, to the detriment of their skill levels.

Employment levels:

Improving the quality of employment has the potential to raise employment levels (European Foundation 2004). The changing composition of the labour force (e.g. ageing population and increasing participation of women) and family structures (e.g. more single parent families) has implications for work organisation and the conditions of employment. Research suggests that men and women value different things in employment (e.g. men attach greater importance to pay, while women attach greater importance to work-life balance and the social aspects of jobs), and older workers value different things to younger people (e.g. younger workers value promotion, while older workers value job security and the social aspects of jobs) (Data Quest Consulting 1999). As recognition of this, in recent times work-life balance has become an important policy focus in many countries including New Zealand.

Monitoring the state of economic development:

So far, the unemployment rate or GDP have most commonly been used as indicators of the health of an economy. However, using the quality of employment can give us a more holistic picture of the economy or at least of labour market performance (Sehnbruch 2004, Grzywacz and Dooley 2003). For example, based on the index that Sehnbruch developed, she concluded that: The main problems of the Chilean labour market are low incomes, too much informality in the formal sector, too many atypical contracts and too much self employment, little professional training, low coverage of health and pension insurance and low stability of employment. … Slightly less than half of the Chilean labour force has low or very low quality jobs. This is a considerably more complex result than a conclusion that merely considers whether the country's unemployment rate is too high. (Sehnbruch 2004:56)

These findings were based on the characteristics included in developing the index. Using different characteristics would allow analysis of different labour market conditions, e.g. employment relationships, job difficulty, etc.

In the US, an increasing number of economic development subsidies have job quality standards attached to them. These standards ‘are becoming an everyday tool for effectively targeting development subsidies to businesses that create high-quality jobs' (Purinton et al 2003:1). The subsidy programmes include tax credits, training programmes, industrial revenue bonds, loan programmes, enterprise zones and tax increment financing. The most common job quality standards required are wage standards and employer-provided healthcare benefits (Purinton et al 2003). Tools such as these economic development subsidies which are based on the quality of employment can provide an indication of business standards in the economy.


Fostering the quality of employment for all sectors of the labour force can enhance social equality, social cohesion, productivity and economic growth (Sehnbruch 2004). While quality improvements will often entail costs, poor quality of employment has very wide ranging effects, from individual workers, their families, employers, to society and the economy. Workers' income can suffer from poor quality employment, as can their health (both at work, as well as outside of it), their training prospects and hence their productivity, their ability to influence decisions about their job such as their working hours. Accepting any job does not necessarily improve a worker's chances of getting into better quality employment. In other words, poor quality employment can adversely affect not only a worker's quality of working life, but also their overall quality of life, including their family life. Employers can experience low quality employment in lower productivity, and recruitment and retention costs. Eventually, society and the economy can be constrained by such costs, reflected in productivity, business standards, economic growth and employment rates.

The quality of employment is a broader indicator of an economy's health than standard indicators like the unemployment rate or GDP. For all these reasons, the quality of employment deserves the attention of policy makers, employers and the government.

Research strategy/methods:

The strengths and weaknesses of survey, action research, case study, ethnography, grounded theory, experimentation; secondly comment on quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods are shown below:


Surveys require asking people, who are called respondents, for information, using either verbal or written questions. A survey is defined as a method of gathering primary data based on communication with a representative sample of individuals.

Strengths of survey:

§ Survey provides quick, inexpensive, efficient and accurate means of assessing information about the sample.

§ Survey usually flexible

§ Survey contains extremely valuable information for managers.

§ Survey designed actually what to ask, therefore, the collected data hold significant meanings.

Weaknesses of survey:

§ Survey sometimes provide indirect information

§ Survey questions may appear treating to the respondents, result in a failure to provide an honest reply

§ Characteristics or mode of the interviewer may influence the answer provided, therefore, collected data may be biased sometimes.

Action research:

Action research is described as ‘an approach in which the action researcher and a client collaborate in the diagnosis of a problem and in development of a solution based on the diagnosis.'(Bryman, A 2003).

Strengths of action research:

§ Action research is the idea of using research to directly change practice.

§ Useful for practitioners to improve understanding of their practice.

§ Action research quicker than quantitative and qualitative research approaches.

§ The process of data collection is shorter.

Weaknesses of action research:

§ It is not very in-depth research techniques. Hence, researchers cannot generalize their research.

§ Not providing sufficient explanation of research topic.

§ Action researches more or less organisational baser rather than study findings.

Case study:

Case study is an ideal methodology when a holistic, in-depth investigation is needed (Feagin, Orum, & Sjoberg, 1991). Case study is known as a triangulated research strategy and that triangulation can occur with data, investigators, theories, and even methodologies.

Advantages of case study:

§ Researcher gain prior understanding about research topic.

§ Explain complex supplemental research easily through data collection, applying theories etc.

§ Describe the real-life context in which the involvement has take place.

Disadvantages of case study:

§ Usually involves in long reading and too much detailed.

§ Time consuming doing data collection, research etc.

§ Sometimes end up by biased outcomes because of author's point of view.

§ Quite long process finishing a case study. It may involve cost, irrelevant documents etc.


Ethnography is a genre of writing that uses fieldwork to provide a descriptive study of human societies. Anthropologists have used ethnographic data to answer academic questions about consumers and consumption. It has both some usefulness and limitations.


§ Provides the researcher in-depth knowledge into the phenomenon under study

§ Process gives a very good understanding of the research structure as well as organisational.

§ It has a wide range of information that can be used for other research purposes.

§ One of the most successful research methods to use.

§ Problem based research, therefore, it has great acceptance.


§ Very time consuming

§ Less uses.

§ It is a matter of gaining too much information which can be costly and may not be precious.

§ It may raise more ethical, moral or stressful problems to the researcher consequently researcher may lose their interest.Winston Tellis(1997)

Grounded theory:

According to Partington, D (2000) and Tetteh, G (2008), Grounded theory is the most quoted method by researchers doing qualitative data analysis in the world according to database searches (Google, Medline, CINAHL, Psyclit, and Econlit). It is one that is derived from the study of the phenomenon which are discovered, developed, and provisionally verified through systematic data collection and analysis of data pertaining to that phenomenon. Therefore, data collection, analysis, and theory stand in reciprocal relationship with each other. It involves theory building, and theory is developed from data generated by a series of observations. (Glaser and Strauss, 1967).

Grounded theory is a systematic generation of theory from data that contains both inductive and deductive thinking. One goal of a GT is to formulate hypotheses based on conceptual ideas.


§ As the theory is grounded in data, it can be used in practical applications – prediction and application should be able to give the practising manager understanding and some control of the situation

§ Grounded theory gives the researcher freedom to generate new concepts.

§ A useful approach for generating theories

§ Since the theory represents reality, it is comprehensible and makes sense both to the persons who were studied and to those practising in the area.


§ Can be resource intensive – data collection and analysis

§ Can be time consuming

§ the approach has been criticised as always building theories and does not aid practical work


The purpose of experimental research is to allow the researcher to control the researcher situation so that casual relationships among variable may be evaluated.


§ Results are statistically reliable

§ Results are able to be projected to the population

§ Multivariate methods help measure and control variables

§ Useful for prediction, testing hypotheses


§ Statistical techniques ignore order of events.

§ Resulting theory fails to take account of unique characteristics of individual cases.

§ Variables arbitrarily selected and research can lead to researcher bias.

§ Not appropriate and cost-effective for learning why people act or think as they do.

Selection of method for this research:

This research aims to carry out a survey in order to meet the research objectives. The reason that this study chosen survey because it has the following advantages in relation to the research objectives

§ Survey provides quick, inexpensive, efficient and accurate means of assessing information about the sample.

§ Survey usually flexible

§ Survey contains extremely valuable information for managers.

§ Survey designed actually what to ask, therefore, the collected data hold significant meanings.

Furthermore, it has a strong relation with the process of my research data collection techniques.

Data collection and analytical tools/techniques:

The data collection and analytical techniques were based on survey strategy. Purpose of the tool:

• Obtain specific quantitative and qualitative information from a sample of the population
• Obtain general information relevant to specific issues, (i.e.: to probe for what is not known)
• Gain a range of insights on specific issues

Questionnaires allows both the interviewer and the person being interviewed the flexibility to probe for details or discuss issues. In survey interview the main two issues were long hours working culture and consequences of it at work and non-work performance.

The survey will taken place to the staff room and it last for 20 minutes. The questionnaire is consists of 10 questions. However, it was more than that because of follow on conversation. I used voice recorder in order to make sure no information missing.

In order to meet study purposes the survey carried out within ten of TESCO employees. The main intensions of doing it were to know what they consider in relation to working long hours. Study also tried to identify what are the non-work responsibility they have and how they coping up.

The TESCO employees have chosen for survey is experienced and working for long period of time in TESCO. The reason survey have selected experienced worker is because they are more likely to be known about the working pattern. Furthermore, they are the people whom considered arranging special arrangement. In the survey asked about 16 people during the survey.

During respondents' selection, both women and men will prefer. Especially people who have family or child care responsibility. Survey also has taken to in consideration the people working part-time as well as doing full-time education. Though, it sounds little bit strange that people working part-time and affecting from long hours working culture. However, in reality, it is happening. It is because of working pattern of the organisation.

There are 10 questions that I have asked Tesco employees during my survey.

1. What is your working contract with Tesco?

a. Full time

b. Part- time

2. How long you work an average (per week)?

a. Less than 20 b. 20 c.21-29 d.30-39 e. 39 +

3. To what extent you considered you have pressurised to work long hours?

4. Do long hours working culture affect on your performance?

5. Is there any other responsibility you have rather than Tesco job?

a. Adult care b. child-care c. education/second job d. others

6. Do you think long hours working culture affect you family relationship?

a. Yes b. No

If yes, how

7. Do you feel long hours working culture should change?

a. Yes b. No c. No cements

8. Do you consider or need working hour's flexibility at work?

a. Yes b. No c. No cements

9. Have you been sick for working so long?

a. Yes b. No

10. Would you like to see any changes in working hour's pattern if implemented?

Thank you for your time and efforts.

Analysis, results and conclusion:

The collected data are presented below both in textual, table, diagram and chart format. Survey questionnaire analysis:

Q. 1. What is your working contract with Tesco?

To the answer of the question maximum participants answered full-time. In addition most of the participants were selected by their age and experience while doing sampling. The reason they were selected because of their working knowledge in the company and longer stay. They are more likely to understand and know regarding working pattern. However, they also more likely to gain work flexibility and the arrangement they need, whereas, new employees are less likely to get them.

Q. 2. How long you work an average (per week)?

In the responses to this question most of the participants said they are working average more than 39 hours per week. The following table shows the number of participants and their working hours.

Q.3. To what extent you consider have pressurised to work long hours?

To what extent you considered you have pressurised to work long hours

Not at all

Some how



Pressurised in large scale

To what extent you considered you have pressurised to work long hours

Strongly Disagree












Neither agree/disagree


















The above table shows that a number of employee somehow pressurised to work for long hours. It indicates that the company working pattern is not much friendly for the employees. Pressurised means the work responsibility they have got and other circumstances they consider to obtain including bonus, payments etc.

Q. 4. Do long hours working culture affect on your performance?

To the answer of the question most of the participants agreed that long hours working affecting their work performance. They get sick for working longer hours. Staff working in the till cannot concentrate enough. By the end of the shift they get tired and unable to serve customer in normal manner. On the other hand night shift worker work very hard and often gets sick because of working long. The night shift starts from 10 pm and finish at 8am. Even however, they get a certain amount of time off during work.

Q. 5. Is there any other responsibility you have rather than Tesco job?

The following chart shows what the major non-work responsibilities the respondents have are. Here a number of employees have child care responsibility. It is hard for them to work for so long. In their voice they need to pick up their kids from school and look after them.

Q. 6. Do you think long hours working culture affect you family relationship?

In response to the question almost half of the participants agreed that the working long hours affecting their relationship. Very few people disclosed the sort of problem they are facing. Some people mentioned they are unable to do socializing with their friends and family members.

Q. 7. Do you feel long hours working culture should change?

The above graph shows that most f the employees' desire long hours working culture should change.

Q.8. Do you consider or need working hour's flexibility at work?

Working hour's flexibility

Most of the participants agreed with working flexibility, which means they are not really flexible with existing working hour's pattern.

Q. 9. Have you been sick for working so long or does long hour working causes your sickness?

In response to the question 9of the participants said that they have been sick because of working long hours. It means that there is a significant impact on health of working long hours.

Q. 10. Would you like to see any changes in working hour's pattern if implemented?

Working hour's pattern

Maximum of the participants agreed that, they like to see changes in working hour's pattern which means they are not really happy with existing working hour's pattern.


As the study objectives were why and how employees can conquer the situation they are facing in today's complex working environment. The study selected survey and to relate with the working environment, the survey has conducted in the TESCO to find out how the TESCO employees are facing problems by long hour's working in both of their professional and personal life.

Survey was conducted among 16 TESCO staffs, in response of survey most of the employees are agreed that they are facing problems in their day-to-day life which is resulting for working long hours. Though most of them are fulltime worker, but part-time worker are also facing the same problems. The problems they are facing are most as follows:

* They fill pressured

* Though contract is 39 hours, but sometimes they need to perform more

* Long hour's working culture affecting their performance level

* They can't perform other responsibilities rather than TESCO

* Long hour's working culture also affecting their family relationships

* Long hour's working culture affecting their health also

So TESCO needs to take some initiatives to get maximum performance from their employees as well as to motivate the employees to the job performance.


To overcome the problems resulting from Long hour's working culture, the TESCO HR Department especially Bromley-by-Bow branch, could may consider the followings:

* They should not allow any employees to perform more than their contracted hours

* Their contract hour should be pre-scheduled for at least six months

* They should not allow any one to perform more than 8 hours shift as the employees fell pressured

* To get the maximum performance employees can be give short hours of work

* To allow employees to perform the responsibilities rather than TESCO, they can be given some preference to selecting their shift

* Working pattern should be flexible so that the employees fell relaxed when they are performing

* As long hour's working culture resulting sickness so HRD need to consider the sick calls of the employees and the reason

* To overcoming the family problems HRD also need to chat with the employees every after three months.

According to the survey which is conducted the above mentioned recommendations are considered for the TESCO HR Department especially Bromley-by-Bow branch. For the better performance and solve the employees problems facing by long hour's working culture, TESCO need to change this long hour's working culture.


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