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Commitment, Versatility and Balance: Determinants of Work Time Standards and Norms in a Multi-Country Study of Software Engineers


  • Leslie Perlow
  • Ron Fortgang


Corporate lawyers, investment bankers, engineers as well as many other types of knowledge workers in the US are expected to work seventy and eighty hour weeks routinely, with extra effort during particularly hectic times. Our research on software engineers working in China, India and Hungary indicates that such work hours are not inherent in the work. Rather work time standards and norms result from reciprocal interdependencies with three interconnected relationships: between employees and employer, employees and other employees and employees and their lives outside of work. The theoretical and practical implications of accounting for variations in work time standards and norms based on these three interconnected relationships are explored.

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  • Leslie Perlow & Ron Fortgang, 1998. "Commitment, Versatility and Balance: Determinants of Work Time Standards and Norms in a Multi-Country Study of Software Engineers," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 149, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  • Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:1998-149

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