W. van Eerde
- Time use in Spain: is polychronicity a cultural phenomenon?
- Journal of Managerial Psychology
- Volume | Issue number
- 25 | 7
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB)
- Amsterdam Business School Research Institute (ABS-RI)
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to measure polychronicity in Spain, traditionally typified as
having a polychronic culture, characterized by a multifocused working environment.
Design/methodology/approach - A sample of 134 executives from 19 organizations in Madrid
completed a questionnaire on polychronicity (working on more than one task at a time), time
tangibility (precision in time use and performance), context (direct or indirect communication) and
attention to people (whether people are dealt with spontaneously or in a more scheduled manner).
Findings - Contrary to what was expected in light of the traditional image of Spain, results indicate a
tendency towards monochronicity. Gender and age did not show a relation with polychronicity. Time
tangibility and context were also unrelated to polychronicity. A previously unmeasured variable,
implied in Hall’s original work, the spontaneous attention to people in establishing and maintaining
good work relations, was positively related to polychronicity. Having worked for a multinational was
also positively related to polychronicity.
Research limitations/implications - The study was undertaken in Madrid only and focused on
differences within a Spanish sample and no cross-cultural comparison was made.
Originality/value - As far as the authors are aware, this is the first study of polychronicity in Spain.
Social interaction, coined previously as an explanation for polychronic behavior, was added in this
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