Browse Definitions :
Definition

karōshi

Karōshi is a Japanese word meaning death from overwork; the official cause is most often heart attack, stroke or suicide. 

The International Labour Organization lists the following potential factors for karōshi: long work hours, heavy workloads, lack of job control, routine and repetitive tasks, interpersonal conflicts, inadequate rewards, employment insecurity and organizational problems. Suicides prompted by overwork and stressful working conditions are referred to as karojisatsu.

The karōshi phenomenon was first identified in Japan in 1969 when a 29-year-old man in the shipping department of a newspaper died of stroke. Karōshi became more common among executives in the late 1980s. The Japanese Ministry of Labor has been maintaining statistics on karōshi since 1987. Hundreds of workers a year are officially identified as karōshi victims, although the unofficial total is thought to number in the thousands. 

Although karōshi and karojisatsu (suicide from overwork and stressful working conditions) were first identified in Japan, the concepts are becoming increasingly recognized in the western world as a result of traditional corporate cultures, which tend to emphasize a clear and immediate path to profitability and to resist actions for which the return on investment (ROI) is not immediately demonstrable and clearly measurable.

Companies frequently reduce the size of their staff as a means of increasing profits, for example, while demanding that prior levels of productivity are sustained. Those demands, and the inability to meet them, can lead to stress, employee churn and burnout. Meanwhile, middle management forced to impose both cutbacks and unreasonable demands on employees may be equally stressed.

See Tony Schwartz's presentation on productivity myths and gaining control over our personal energy:

This was last updated in May 2015

Continue Reading About karōshi

SearchCompliance
  • OPSEC (operations security)

    OPSEC (operations security) is a security and risk management process and strategy that classifies information, then determines ...

  • smart contract

    A smart contract is a decentralized application that executes business logic in response to events.

  • compliance risk

    Compliance risk is an organization's potential exposure to legal penalties, financial forfeiture and material loss, resulting ...

SearchSecurity
  • threat modeling

    Threat modeling is a procedure for optimizing application, system or business process security by identifying objectives and ...

  • distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack

    A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is one in which multiple compromised computer systems attack a target, such as a ...

  • social engineering

    Social engineering is an attack vector that relies heavily on human interaction and often involves manipulating people into ...

SearchHealthIT
SearchDisasterRecovery
  • change control

    Change control is a systematic approach to managing all changes made to a product or system.

  • disaster recovery (DR)

    Disaster recovery (DR) is an organization's ability to respond to and recover from an event that affects business operations.

  • risk mitigation

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a business.

SearchStorage
  • bare-metal cloud

    Bare-metal cloud is a public cloud service that offers dedicated hardware resources without any installed operating systems or ...

  • race condition

    A race condition is an undesirable situation that occurs when a device or system attempts to perform two or more operations at ...

  • storage security

    Storage security is the group of parameters and settings that make storage resources available to authorized users and trusted ...

Close