How supervisors set the tone for long hours: Vicarious learning, subordinates' self-motives and the contagion of working hours
Abstract This paper develops a theoretical model that highlights the mechanisms underlying the contagion of long working hours from supervisors to subordinates at different stages of their relationship. Drawing upon social learning theory, we suggest that subordinates mimic the supervisor's working hours through vicarious learning. Focusing first on the role-taking stage of the supervisor-subordinate relationship, we identify four factors, namely supervisor's perceived status, subordinate's work centrality, congruence between organizational norms and supervisor's working hours, and subordinate's identification with the supervisor, that may influence the perceived desirability of adopting the supervisor's working hours. We then examine the relative influence of each of these factors through the lens of subordinates' self-motives. Turning, next, to the routinized supervisor-subordinate relationship, we elaborate on how social contagion may evolve over time. Lastly, the implications of our model as well as future research avenues are presented.