five people(21 percent)statesthatwork meansmoreto themthanleisure.The majority (60 percent)say that while they enjoy their work, it is not their major sourceof satisfaction (Yankelovich, 1978,p. 49).
Yankelovich suggests that if the incentive system were changed from emphasis
on the "old"
incentives, the carrot and stick of money/successand economic
i n s e c u r i t y , t o g r e a t e r r e l i a n c e o n " n e w " i n c e n t i v e s r e v o l v i n g a r o u n d t h e " p r e o c - cupation with self," the "new breed" might work as hard as the old one
(Yankelovich, 1978, p. 50). However, as of the early 1980s, most corporations seem not to have shifted reliance on to "new breed" incentives, although there was a growing interest in Quality of Work-Life programs.
Some insight into the status of the work ethic is provided by comparative data and by indications of changed habits and emerging problems. None by itself is compelling, but together they help to illuminate the condition of America's hu- man capital.
Much has been written on the roots of Japan's economic success.While many factors contributed to this success,one major factor is that many Japanesework- ers simply work very hard, in fact much harder than many of their American counterparts. A recent report completed by Harvard Business School found that Japaneseemployees in the private sector work on average2100 hours a year; and while they receive 14.6 days of paid vacation, take only 8.2 days. U.S. employ- ees, on the other hand, work 1800 hours a year, and receive and take 19.6 days paid vacation (Malabre, 1986). Japaneseemployers in the U.S, compare Ameri- can workers unfavorably to Japanese in attendance, turnover, ability, and morale, and also in their education and even language. While all the workers in Japanare fluent in their tongue, a Japanesemanufacturer who opened a plant in Los Angeles found that 70 percent of its employees were "native Spanish
others spoke mainly Korean or Vietnamese (Kanabayashi,
Concerning changed habits, a study of worker absenteeismby two Purdue University researchersfound that
perfectattendanc is no longernecessarto keepa job or win promotions.In fact. ..com- panypoliciesthat allow for morefrequentabsenceprovidea basisfor greate satisfaction. Liberal leavepoliciesand a declinein the work-ethichavemadeskippingwork muchless risky. Only supervisor whodirectlycontrolscheduleandpromotionssee to inducefaithful attendance.In companieswith sick leaveand senioritysystems,eventhe happyemployees havelittle reasonto work everyday. (ligen and Hollenback,1977,p. 159).
Other data indicate that rising thefts at work, vandalism, and alcoholism and drug abuse on the job were serious problems by the end of the 1970s. Estimates in the late 1970sindicated that roughly 9 percentof all employees stole regularly from their employers and that 30 percentof businessfailures were directly attrib- utable to employee theft. The National Retail Merchants Association found that