Tallinn University of Technology

Raul Ruubel, PhD student at the TalTech Department of Economics and Finance, defended on 23 November 2020 his PhD thesis "Working Schedules and Efficient Time-Use in R&D Work".

A key challenge for organisations is how they manage to strike the balance between their employees’ aim of utility maximisation and the goal of maximising organisational efficiency. Employees may maximise their utility by optimally dividing their time between work and leisure, while companies try to improve efficiency by organising work so as to reduce transaction costs and increase unit productivity.

“This thesis is based on three published empirical papers that study differences between the preferences of R&D employees for daily and weekly working schedules, the disparities between their actual, contractual and desired working schedules, the types of employee that are more likely to be satisfied with either flexible or fixed working schedules, and what drives some other aspects of job autonomy that are related to time,” explained Raul Ruubel.

The contribution of Ruubel’s thesis lies in providing novel empirical evidence on the research questions using data from a pilot questionnaire study carried out among Estonian creative R&D employees that brings together unique information on time use,
the organisation of work, and the compensation, health and sleep of the employees; and a discussion of the background and results in the papers and thesis that helps give a better understanding of the linkages between the working time schedules of R&D
employees and the financial performance and economic efficiency of companies.

One of the key general messages from this thesis is that considering the inherent and behavioural individual differences between employees when designing their work schedules is one way to improve efficiency. The research in this thesis contributes to the existing literature by adding empirical evidence on how some individual characteristics like gender, education and sleep patterns are strongly linked to preferences for different work schedules.

Full text of the thesis is available here.

The thesis was supervised by Professor Aaro Hazak and Professor Kadri Männasoo.

Opponents: Professor Michael Burda (Berlin Humboldt University) and Professor Michiru Nagatsu (University of Helsinki).