Workaholics on site! Sustainability of site managers' work situations?

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Sandberg, R ; Raidén, A ; Räisänen, C (2016)
  • Publisher: Tampere University of Technology

Site-managerial practice in construction has been depicted as a 'muddling through', being everywhere at the same time and skilfully solving problems as these crop up. The purpose of this paper is to explore work patterns and related well-being implications of site managers in construction. Drawing on the work-life stories of 21 site managers, which have been analysed using narrative analysis we argue that muddling through put high demands on these managers' abilities and possibilities of coping with and balancing their work situations. In all the accounts, several features of workaholism were identified as driving forces, often leading to negative well-being symptoms. The site managers were passionate about their work, but deplored organisational and institutional constraints, which mostly obstructed rather than supported or facilitated their work. This resulted in periods of exhaustion and stress, leaving little energy over for family and life outside work. We conclude that the warnings we perceive concerning the unsustainable work situations of site managers warrant further research.
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