You believe that time is money… and it’s making you miserable

A recent paper from Jeffrey Pfeffer at Stanford and Sanford DeVoe of the University of Toronto argues that promoting an “economic view of time” (that time is scarce and should be thought of in monetary terms) makes us less able to enjoy time off because we always think of it as losing money:

The modern employment relationship generally increases the connection between time and money with important implications for people’s choices about how to use their time, including how much to work and how much to volunteer their time in unpaid activities. Although it may not have been consciously done, modern management seems to have created a hedonic treadmill in which people want to trade time for money and because of thinking of time like money cannot enjoy leisure activities as much.

…the social status of leisure versus work has changed over time so that working is now a status symbol, signaling people’s importance to their organizations—a change that itself may derive in part from how we view time.

via Business Insider.

Management provocations

at the Management Lab‘s conference on “Inventing the Future of Management“:

  • Tim Brown, IDEO: Creative people aren’t interested in management.
  • Hal Varian, Google: ‘Statistician’ is the sexy job of the 21st century.
  • Henry Mitzberg, McGill: We are not living in time of great change. Companies will not save the world.
  • Eric Abrahamson, Columbia: Organizations are over-organized.
  • Yves Doz, INSEAD: The danger is to think that what’s new is exciting and good, while what’s old is bad and tired.
  • Keith Sawyer, Washington University: People are deeply uncomfortable with uncertainty.
  • James Surowiecki, The New Yorker: The centralization of decision-making is a conceptual error. Individuals are not better than the collective.
  • Jeffrey Pfeffer, Stanford: The language of economics is toxic to the practice of management.
  • Kevin Kelly, Wired : Productivity is for machines. If you can measure it, robots should do it.


Unconventional wisdom about management: Jeff Pfeffer

Question: How should people judge a company’s results?

Answer: By comparison to its peers and by comparison to what its own aspirations are. Companies, as the balanced scorecard notes, depend on customers, employees, investors, suppliers, and others in the ecosystem. It is wrong to give one of those groups priority over the others. Brand loyalty and employee loyalty are both real assets, even if not reflected on balance sheets and income statements. (Ten Questions with Jeffrey Pfeffer)

Related post: Sutton on Pfeffer

Sutton on Pfeffer

our three greatest living academic organizational theorists are, in my opinion, The University of Michigan’s Karl Weick, Stanford’s (now retired) James March, and Jeff Pfeffer. When I say “academic,” I mean scholars who have contributed important theories and published extensively in peer reviewed academic journals. If you look at the work of any organizational theorist who has ever lived, no one except for perhaps Nobel Prize Winner Herbert Simon exceeds the breadth and depth of Jeff’s contributions. (…)

What distinguishes Jeff from other star academic organizational theorists, however, is that he uses so much of this academic knowledge to influence what organizations and their managers actually do. Jeff isn’t as well known in managerial circles as Peter Drucker or Jim Collins. But I believe that his work should be as well-known because his ideas are so research-based and so practical. And unlike most star academics in his field, Jeff is deeply immersed in the stuff of organizational life. (source)