Dying for a Paycheck

How Modern Management Harms Employee Health and Company Performance—and What We Can Do About It

Jeffrey Pfeffer

Book

In this timely, provocative book, a Stanford business professor contends that many modern management practices are toxic to employees—hurting engagement, increasing turnover, and destroying their physical and emotional health—and to company performance, as he offers ways to build human sustainability at work.

You don’t have to do a dangerous job—in coal mine or on a construction site, commercial fishing boat, or an oil rig—to endure a health-destroying, possibly life-threatening, workplace. Just ask the manager in a senior finance role whose immense workload, once handled by several employees, required frequent all-nighters—leading to alcohol and drug addiction. Or the dedicated news media producer whose commitment to getting the story resulted in a sixty-pound weight gain thanks to having no down time to eat properly or exercise. Or the marketing professional prescribed antidepressants a week after joining her employer.

These individuals are not exceptions—they are too often the norm. Every industry is filled with similar horror stories, and the costs, to both employees and their companies, is enormous—and worsening. In Dying for a Paycheck, Jeffrey Pfeffer exposes the infuriating truth about modern work life: even as organizations allow management practices that literally sicken and sometimes kill their employees, those policies do not enhance productivity or the bottom line. Instead, they diminish employee engagement, increase turnover, reduce job performance—and drive up health costs.

Exploring a range of important topics, including layoffs, health insurance, work-family conflict, autonomy, and why people remain in toxic environments, Pfeffer offers guidance and practical solutions all of us—employees, employers, and the government—can use to enhance workplace wellbeing. We must wake up to the dangers and costs of today’s workplace, Pfeffer argues. Dying for a Paycheck is a clarion call for a social movement focused on human sustainability. Pfeffer makes clear that the environment we work in is just as important as the one we live in, and with this urgent book, he opens our eyes and shows how we can make our workplaces healthier and better.

Author

Jeffrey Pfeffer

Jeffrey Pfeffer

Jeffrey Pfeffer is the Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He has authored or coauthored fourteen books and is a highly sought-after expert on the subject of power and leadership. He is widely considered one of the leading management experts in the world. Pfeffer has been a visiting professor at London Business School, Harvard Business School, Singapore Management University, and IESE. He has served on the boards of several human capital software companies as well as on a variety of public and nonprofit boards. He lives in Hillsborough, California.