On first sight, workaholics might appear to be just what companies need in their pursuit of productivity and profits. As well as working long hours and taking minimal sick leave, workaholics can also be important sources of innovation and entrepreneurship in organisations. This addiction to work may lead to behaviours that are against organisational norms, but which have positive benefits, such as bending rules to solve a customer's problem. People who enjoy their work are more likely to engage in innovative but unconventional behaviours - what are termed constructive deviances.
But individuals who feel driven to work through some inner need may become so focused that they are less likely to offer creative solutions to problems, and may exhibit more destructive behaviour to accomplish their goals.
Managing workaholism to foster the constructive aspects and hinder the development of destructive behaviours is the challenge for companies.
Source: Uncovering the relationship between workaholism and workplace destructive and constructive deviance: an exploratory study
Bella L Galperin and Ronald J Burke International
Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol 17, February 2006
Review by Steve Lodge