What do we really know about time theft?

Apr. 19, 2022

Despite being a costly and pervasive organizational issue, time theft has long been misunderstood in scholarship, and is conceptualized in different ways by academics and practitioners.

To work towards clearer and consolidated understanding of time theft, Crystal Harold, Biyun Hu (PhD ’20) and their co-author develop a comprehensive definition of time theft“the purposeful failure to appropriately record and/or allocate one’s time that is obligated to, and compensated by, one’s organization.”

Additionally, the researchers validated a new scale to measure time theft and found that dissatisfaction with pay, desire for retaliation, rack of role clarity and boredom all motivated the behavior. 

When addressing time theft, Harold advises leaders to investigate underlying structural issues that embolden the behavior.