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Gino Stefano Coletti Pareja

Beyond the Work-Leisure Dichotomy: Revaluing Leisure in the Information Age


Society

Seminar Thesis
in the context of the seminar Process Mining and Compliance (only for Seminar Theses)

at the Chair for Information Systems and Information Management


(Westflische Wilhelms-Universitt, Mnster)

Supervisor: Dr. Stefan Schellhammer

Presented by: Gino Stefano Coletti Pareja


Goebenstr. 36
48151 Mnster
+49 152 56917833
g_cole01@uni-muenster.de

Date of Submission: 2016-09-01


II

Content

Figures ............................................................................................................................. III


Tables .............................................................................................................................. IV
Abbreviations ................................................................................................................... V
1 Introduction .................................................................................................................. 1
2 Leisure: an impoverished term in the world of a work-life construct. Is Work the New
Leisure? ........................................................................................................................ 2
3 What is Work and Leisure? A Change in Meaning throughout Time (5) ................. 4
3.1 Work 5
3.2 Leisure ................................................................................................................... 6
3.3 The Relationship between Work-Leisure .............................................................. 6
3.3.1 Work-Leisure Archetypes ............................................................................ 6
4 Technological Transformation of Leisure (3) .............................................................. 8
4.1 Technological Acceleration and Social Change Faster Tools, but Less Time to Think
8
4.2 Further Implications: Consumerism ...................................................................... 8
5 Recovering the Lost Essence of Leisure A Revaluing of the Word (2) .................... 9
6 Conclusion (1) ............................................................................................................ 10
References ....................................................................................................................... 11
Appendix ......................................................................................................................... 12
III

Figures

Es konnten keine Eintrge fr ein Abbildungsverzeichnis gefunden werden.


IV

Tables

Es konnten keine Eintrge fr ein Abbildungsverzeichnis gefunden werden.


V

Abbreviations

BBN Bundeseinheitliche Betriebsnummer


CCG Centrale fr Coorganisation
DF Datenfernbertragung
dpi dots per inch
EAN Europische Artikelnumerierung
GoM Grundstze ordnungsmiger Modellierung
VBA Visual Basic for Applications
WWS Warenwirtschaftssystem
ZfB Zeitschrift fr Betriebswirtschaft
ZuO Zuordnung
1

1 Introduction

The term work-life balance seems to be quite a relevant topic these days. Organizations
and individuals are constantly looking for ways or methods to handle and manage both
of them. In an attempt to do so, the first step has been trying to separate these two elements
as independent spheres. The idea behind: a right management of both in order to reach a
so desired equilibrium that makes individuals become satisfied with their being through
the engagement of leisure activities or the appropriate use of their free time. This would
translate most of the times into being motivated and ready to perform tasks at work, thus
becoming more productive.

However, with the advancement of technology and social acceleration, new practices or
habits are being incorporated into the lives of individuals; thus, making it more difficult
to separate these two spheres. Does it make sense to keep talking about a splitting of these
domains when the limits between them are becoming blurrier everyday?

In addition to it, this papers raises the question as to where is leisure fitting in all of this
and what is its current role? When did we, as a society, start talking about the so-called
work-life balance while leaving the concept of leisure as a passive element in the
background, sometimes even subdued and dependent to the concept of work. Nowadays
we even coined a new concept named work-life integration, which might be considered
as a euphemism to more work and where leisure does not even seem to feature anymore.

Could it be that the meanings and considerations of work and leisure have been changing
throughout time, and that the different values present in them are switching or being
replaced by new ideals moderating the behaviours of individuals in society?

This work will perform an analysis across time for the different conceptualisations of
work, leisure, and their historical dichotomous relationship. It will identify archetypes
that enable the reader to make a contrast between the meanings and values which were
once considered more relevant to some and that are now standing in the back or that have
(un)-evolved into impoverished meanings.

All of it not without first dedicating a short section that states the motivation for doing
such an analysis as well as its relevance to the current debate on work-life balance in our
present times. After that, a section is dedicated to the role of technology within these
current conceptualisations and the effects and impact it has had in the process of defining
them. Finally, the work ends up with a reflection section as to where has the meaning of
leisure been derived to and the importance for recovering its lost essence of contemplation
and reflection state.
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2 Leisure: an impoverished term in the world of a work-life


construct. Is Work the New Leisure?

Before exploring the different archetypes and meanings for work and leisure, this section
dedicates a time to explain the current status of how work is being perceived in western
societies.

The increasing expectations and pressures for what an ideal worker is have pushed
individuals to place work as a central aspect of their lives. Some of these successful
practices can be observed through the always-on behaviours which are promoted such as
being available at nights or weekends and fast responsiveness to e-mails or requests from
clients. All of these posing workers who behave in such a manner as the heroes and
potential candidates for promotion, where those who reject to act according to them are
perceived as unsuccessful. (Why some men pretend to work 80 hours a week).

Having this increase in the intensiveness of work led to the start of a debate in the 1990s
regarding work-life balance, even to the extent of replacing the past work-family
discussions in order to incorporate those workers who are not parents and include those
activities which are non-work such as friendship, recreational and social activities (Lewis,
2003; Kalliath et al, 2008; Wiese, 2015).

However, the discussions have not stopped and now the concept of work-life balance
appears to be worn out. Despite the term is used quite frequently, a consensual meaning
across parties does not seem to exist (Kalliat et al, 2008). Not only does the term balance
represent an issue since it assumes a 50/50 distribution of work and life (Wiese, 2015
Wirtschafstpsycologie) which might not be achievable to all individuals or even seem
suitable to them. With the advancement of information and communication technologies,
the limits between both domains have now become blurry and not simple to distinguish
from one another (Lewis 2003). Therefore, the discussion has now switched to another
direction and now a recent term is being coined: work-life integration. This term refers to
the blending of both spheres in order to have a satisfying, healthy, and productive life
that includes work, love, and play (Hogan et al, 2007). Some models even talk about
overlapping spheres that depict how considering both aspects lead to a win-win situation
and the inherent need of individuals to integrate them so as to obtain positive outcomes
(Barnett, 1999).
3

Figure 1 - The Overlapping-Spheres Model

Does it make sense to talk about integration? It rather seems to be a way to justify that
work is and has to remain as a central aspect of life. Moreover, it places the
conceptualization as an equal to life and not as subset to it (Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tim-mcdonald/dispelling-the-myth-of-
wo_b_9311220.html). It could be argued that given this equivalence we are no longer
looking at leisure anymore, nor considering as part of the equation and the discussion as
it should be. As per what Lewis (2003) refers to, we are now heading towards a society
of full work where many forms of post-industrial work, which dominate peoples lives,
are becoming the new leisure (page 344).

The previous statement provides a basis and starting point to stop looking at work and
life as separate elements, but bring once more the term leisure into the discussion as only
rarely, however, are the problems of work and leisure looked at together (p.16 Parker,
1971). Moreover, take a more profound look into what the relationship of work and
leisure stands for and how it has been evolving through time.

In addition to it, this paper aims to provide understanding as to how work, in the past, was
not as central as it is now for individuals, but how in a certain point of history its meaning
had a revaluing or justification. Whereas leisure had a different and more relevant role in
society than filling out spaces of what is left from work, and meant more than just free-
time. In line with it, the purpose is to explore how motivations in society shifted where
individuals are naturally looking forward into [having] a life beyond the workplace,
including leisure (Lewis, 2003, p XX).
4

3 What is Work and Leisure? A Change in Meaning throughout


Time (5)

This section will explore how the terms work and leisure have been changing their
meanings and conceptualizations across history. The main purpose is to identify which of
their characteristics and values have had more relevance at certain points of time and also
to understand how these have influenced into our current perception and
conceptualization of work and leisure, thus moderating the behaviours that are derived
from them.

The following lines provide a perspective from different authors as to how work and
leisure can be defined. However, the intention is not to give a strict definition given the
inherent complexity these terms have. The purpose is to abstract the important
characteristics and detect a form of archetype present throughout the different eras. As
some authors already recognized, a first step for a clarification of both terms is to sort
out the various meanings of work and leisure, and to see how they relate to each other
(Parker, 1971, p18).

As an example, in Figure 2 the reader can start having a first glimpse on how some of the
meanings of leisure have been changing through time. Whereas in Ancient Greece the
term referred to a reflective state of mind or an activity of voluntary engagement and
inquiry, leisure changed to become a hedonistic activity exclusively for the aristocrats
and a symbol of luxury in the Middle Ages, to change again into an instrument for
improving productivity at work or a means to perform better; deriving finally into
activities that fill-up empty hours unoccupied by work which can be bought (e.g.
vacations or sport activities) and ways for social interaction (Beatty et al, 2003; Primeau,
1995; Juniu, 2009).

Figure 2 - Leisure Across Time

The upcoming section on Work, Leisure, their relationship, and archetypes has been built
taking as a major reference to the book of Stanley Parker: The Future of Work and Leisure
(1971) as it encompasses the main characteristics for both of the terms. These constructs
5

have been enriched by a further literature review from authors focused in leisure studies
respectively.

3.1 Work

In this section some definitions of the word work are taken into consideration in order to
sort out the terms that are considered to be relevant trying to make a clear distinction as
to what the word means. However, as mentioned before, the difficulty of doing so implies
having several definitions which might overlap themselves at certain aspects. This causes
to use words such as: production, effort, and employment as interchangeable words or
synonyms to work, but whose distinction might be worth to make (Parker, 1971). As an
example three different definitions are given:

Oxford Dictionary defines work as The place where one is employed. 14th Aug),

Cambridge Dictionary proposes it to be an activity, such as a job, that a person


uses physical or mental effort to do, usually for money 14th Aug),

While the United Nations Glossary states: Work is any activity which contributes
to the production of goods or services within the production boundary. 14th Aug.)

All of the above concur at the meaning that work comes as the way for individuals to get
by. As Parker (1971) makes the distinction, the first problem for having the word
production attached to it, comes behind the interpretation it encompasses as well as the
potential misuse of its variant productive as an adjective preceding work. By this, only
after a product (whether good or service) is obtained, could the activity be considered
as work. However, work should not be dependent on the ending result or the quality of it,
but on the effort to produce that something.

Another important note Parker does is regarding the social relationship the term
employment implies. Given that it refers the interaction between an employer and an
employee, it accounts for the distinction the individual makes for working time and non-
working time. The last distinction Parker makes is on the terms work and labour which
indicate an activity being performed rather than a measurement of time, this expands on
the notion of work as to a broader sense of biological and physiological meaning of
purposeful and sustained action (Parker, 1971. P19).

Historical Meanings

Ancient Greece and in the Genesis: works is a disagreeable necessity and on which there
is no escaping. A punishment for sin. A product of original sin. Labor improbus
6

Unto Adam God said: Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it
all the days of thy life () in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return to
the ground; for dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return. The Punishment of Mankind
(Genesis 3: 17-20)

Experience and Meaning of Work Today

asass

3.2 Leisure

Essential elements pg23.

3.3 The Relationship between Work-Leisure

3.3.1 Work-Leisure Archetypes

How the dichotomy appears the relationship, how is it false

Thesis 3: A work-leisure dichotomy reinforces works position as life-centric for


individuals.

o Explanation/Elaboration: Having work and leisure as opposite and


mutually exclusive terms stands as a problem as it continuously
strengthens the negative perception of leisure as a waste of time, further
hinders the practice of it, and makes it more difficult to recover its true
value (Beatty et al, 2003).

Figure 2 shows in a very brief way how the meanings of leisure have been changing across
major points in history. Going from

1. First. Since early point of time: leisure was at the center of life. Looking at the
words: schol and the negative of it: a-schola (work).

1. Contemplation of the supreme values of the world: truth, beauty,


goodness, and knowledge. Realization of excellence. Central to life.
reflected political, social, and economical system (a focus on intellectual,
aesthetic aspects). Leisure tied to culture and social development.

2. Romans break-point: time to rest, recreate, recuperate from work. first sign of
instrumentalisation (reversion of roles, leisure supports work). E.g. Sports,
games,.. (neg-otium).
7

3. Abstinence to work, higher social class characteristic.

4. Mega break-point!!! And quite a change of image of work. Based on Luthers


belief on work and family and responsibility to God. Work: key of life and
Leisure was considered as idleness and wasting time!! Failing for God. >
negative connotation work as an end itself.

5. Industrial Rev: work as a means to improve material condition (wealth, social


status) if you work more!!! form of liberation and progress. Leisure is now
associated with free time, subordinate to work, to drive productivity. Also where
the Dichotomy is established. Focus in work, and what is not work is free-time.
The perception we currently have grounded and a clear instrumentalisation of it.

6. Post-Industrial Rev: Mass-production and commoditization of goods mass-


consumption is overstated and magnified. Leisure (free-time) is something that
can be bought (needs to be). Not as a time for growth, but time to be filled-up
(from what is not work). Promotion of vacations, physical activities,

7. Inf. Age.: Boundaries between work and free-time have become blurry. New
practices such as tele-working (yet, we think of work-leisure as a dichotomy).
8

4 Technological Transformation of Leisure (3)

Most critical part, here its opinion.

4.1 Technological Acceleration and Social Change Faster Tools, but Less
Time to Think

asas

4.2 Further Implications: Consumerism

The final degradation of its meaning


9

5 Recovering the Lost Essence of Leisure A Revaluing of the


Word (2)

Why is it important, affecting lives, basis of culture, art, essence, the revelance to our
current society
10

6 Conclusion (1)
11

References
12

Appendix

A Subsection of Appendix
13

Declaration of Authorship

I hereby declare that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, this


Master/Bachelor/Seminar Thesis titled (YOUR TITLE HERE) is my own work. I
confirm that each significant contribution to and quotation in this thesis that originates
from the work or works of others is indicated by proper use of citation and references.

Mnster, 13 July 2017

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