Staff exploitation can’t be blamed on IT

Claims that the IT revolution has caused Britain to become the hardest-working nation in Europe have been disputed by a senior HR professional.

Robert Ingram, HR director at Cap Gemini, hit back at a study claiming technology is to blame for Britain’s descent into workaholism.

He said IT has liberated employees. “They can work where they want – such as at home using the Internet or e-mail.

“Bad employers who exploit their workforce are not created simply because of the advent of technology,” he said.

Kent University research published last week revealed that the average two-adult household works an extra seven hours than they did in the early 1980s.

British employees reported that they had to work at high speed to reach tight deadlines and complained of the highest instances of pressure. German staff were the most laid back.

Professor of economics at Kent University Francis Green analysed research carried out in national organisations in 1986, 92 and 97 and large representative surveys of establishments in 1990 and 98.

Responses to identical questions from large nationally-representative surveys. Green said, “Many people blame lack of job security for the increase in work intensity – but I do not think this is true.

“The computer is at least partly to blame for this – employees are required to operate in a much more organised way than ever before.

Green also blamed weak unions for the nation’s decline into workaholism. “This means unions are not able to act as a buffer to the exercise of management prerogative now they are not there in many workplaces. If unions are there, they do not have the same power as they used to.”

www.ukc.ac.uk/economics/gfg

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