Work is a cornerstone of social development. Quantifying the impact on development of fluctuations in work hours is important because longer work hours increasingly seem to be the norm. Based on an integrative perspective that combines individual, organizational, and social factors, we constructed a model using data from 31 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The proposed model was used to test the effect of work hours on different levels and to propose feasible suggestions accordingly. The results show that people in developing countries work more hours per week than those in developed countries, and that males work longer hours than females. Furthermore, regression analysis shows that current work hours are having a negative impact on development in OECD countries, especially in developing countries where people are working longer hours. Longer hours, in other words, do not promote development effectively. Specifically, work hours at the individual level are negatively related to health. At the level of organization, work hours are a reverse indicator of organizational performance, and at the level of society, there is a negative relationship between work hours and economic development. This study provides support for the proposition by the International Labour Organization to reduce work hours, and it facilitates our understanding of the relationship between work hours and social development.
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