UCL School of Management

23 November 2018

Davide Ravasi discusses 'presenteeism' in Japanese working culture

Professor Ravasi tells of unspoken competition between employees to be the last to leave the office. (Image: UCL School of Management)

Professor Davide Ravasi has been discussing how ‘presenteeism’, which is commonplace in Japanese working culture, may soon be on the decline.

In an article in The Telegraph discussing the issue of Karoshi, which translates to ‘death by overworking’, Prof. Ravasi says that working 100 hours of overtime is not uncommon, with many employees choosing to remain at work even after the lights are turned off.

“In the traditional Japanese work culture, leaving before your colleagues or boss is frowned upon. This may trigger an unhealthy silent competition for who will be the last one to leave the office.”

Japanese lawmakers have this year introduced regulations that stipulate employees are not to work more than 100 hours of overtime a month, otherwise businesses will be fined.

Prof. Ravasi argues that due to the nature of technology replacing the need for human interaction in many jobs, the need for employees to constantly be present and, working large amounts of overtime, should reduce in the future.

“We now have robust evidence of the negative impact of an excessive workload on the physical and mental health of individuals, and the diminishing productivity of increasing work hours. At a time when new technologies are constantly reducing the need for person-hours in an increasing number of sectors and occupations, expecting longer and longer work hours from employees seems less and less tenable.”

You can read the full article in The Telegraph (subscription may be required).

Last updated Tuesday, 4 December 2018