Work ethic

Definition of Work Ethic

The word ethos comes from the Greek, “ethos” means attitude, personality, character, character, and belief in something. Ethos can also be interpreted as a desirable thumuhat accompanied by high enthusiasm to achieve positive ideals.

Ethic attitude is not only owned by individuals, but can also be owned by community groups. Work ethic is a belief which becomes an impetus for someone to do something about someone, group or institution.

Work Ethic According to Experts

In addition to this understanding, there are many figures who provide definitions of different work ethics. The following are some definitions of work ethic according to figures and experts.

  • Harsono and Santoso (2006), argue that work ethic is a work spirit which is based on certain values ​​or norms.
  • Sukriyanto (2000) defines work ethic as work spirit possessed by the community to be able to work better which aims to obtain their life value.
  • Toto Tasmara, work ethic is the totality of one’s personality and ways of interpreting, expressing, looking at, believing in something, which pushes oneself to act and achieve optimal charity ( high performance).
  • Max Weber, the understanding of work ethic is ethical work behavior and work habits that pivots on ethics .
  • Petty (1993) defines work ethic as a characteristic that must be present in every worker to be able to produce maximum work which consists of interpersonal skills , initiative, and dependability.
  • Sinamo, work ethic is a concept of work or work paradigm which is believed by a person or group as good and right which is manifested through their specific work behavior.
  • Tamara (2002: 73), describes the characteristics of the work ethic is timely, morality, discipline, honesty, commitment, strong conviction, creative, responsibility, confidence.
  • Tanjung (2002: 64), describes the understanding of the work ethic as a person’s soul or character in carrying out his duties which are emitted out.


According to Petty (1993), the work ethic itself includes three aspects or characteristics. The following are aspects of the work ethic, including:

  1. Interpersonal expertise

Interpersonal skills are aspects that relate to work relations with others or explain how workers relate to other workers in their work environment.

These interpersonal skills include habits, attitudes, ways, appearance and behavior that exist in individuals when around other people also affect how the individual interacts with others.

Some things that are used to determine an employee’s interpersonal skills include personal characteristics that can facilitate the formation of good interpersonal relationships and can contribute to one’s work performance.

According to Petty (1993), there are 17 traits that can describe an employee’s interpersonal skills that are polite, loyal, hard working, friendly, happy, caring, pleasant, cooperative, patient, helpful, favored, diligent, neat, appreciative, humble, emotional stable, strong-willed.

  1. Initiative

Initiative is a characteristic that is able to bridge a person to be motivated to further improve his performance and not immediately feel satisfied with his usual performance.

This aspect is very often associated with situations in a work environment that is not smooth. Matters such as work delays, lack of work results, lost opportunities because they are not being used well and lost jobs, can arise if individuals do not have the initiative to work.

According to Petty there are 16 traits that are able to describe the initiative of a worker that is clever, productive, accurate, conscientious, possesses ideas, initiative, ambitious, efficient, independent, effective, enthusiastic, persistent, dedicated, endurance, accurate, thorough, independent, capable adapt, and orderly.

  1. Reliable

Reliable is an aspect related to the existence of expectations of the work of a worker and is an implicit agreement of workers to carry out several functions in work.

A worker is expected to be able to satisfy the lowest expectations of the company, without the need to overdo it like doing work that is not his job. This aspect is one of the things that is very desired by the company for its workers.

There are at least 7 things that can describe a reliable employee according to Petty, which is following instructions, obeying the rules, honest, reliable, trustworthy, cautious, and on time.

Factors That Affect the Work Ethic

The work ethic of each worker is very different and depends on many things. There are several factors that can affect the work ethic, including:

  1. Age

According to the results of the study, workers who are under the age of 30 have a higher work ethic than workers aged over 30 years. Although it is not always interpreted that way, there are many studies that say that age greatly affects a person’s performance or work ethic.

Younger workers are considered to have more enthusiasm in doing work compared to older workers. So, it is very natural if the company provides a certain age limit for prospective workers.

  1. Gender

Apart from age, gender also has an influence on a person’s work ethic. According to the research of Boatwright and Slate (2000), women have a higher work ethic than men. Women are considered to have a higher work ethic and morale compared to men even though they may not be physically as strong as men.

  1. Educational background

According to Boatwright and Slate’s (2000) research, it is revealed that the highest work ethic is owned by workers with an S1 education background and the lowest is owned by workers with a high school education background.

Although once again, it cannot be used as a benchmark, workers with higher educational background are considered to have more enthusiasm and knowledge compared to workers with lower educational background.

  1. Length of work

According to the results of the study, revealed that workers who have worked for 1-2 years have a higher work ethic than workers who work under 1 year. Because after all workers with longer work experience greatly affect the performance and work ethic compared to workers who are fresh graduates or workers with little work experience.

In addition to some of the factors mentioned above, there are other factors that can affect the work ethic, including:

  • Religion

Basically religion is a system of values ​​that more or less influences or determines the lifestyle of its adherents.

How a person thinks, behaves and acts is certainly influenced by the religious teachings they adhere to if someone is truly involved in religious life. So, the relationship between religion and work ethic can be said to be indirect but still influential.

  • Culture

Culture also has an influence on one’s work ethic. Mental attitude, determination, discipline, and work spirit are also called cultural ethos and operational ethos of culture can also be said as work ethic. The quality of the work ethic is influenced by the cultural value orientation system of the community concerned.

  • Social politics

Someone’s social politics in society also has an influence on one’s work ethic. Where one’s work ethic is influenced by the presence or absence of the political structure he has that encourages people to work hard and can enjoy the results of hard work to the full.

  • Environmental / Geographical Conditions

Environmental and geographical conditions of a person also support influencing the people who are in it in doing business in order to be able to manage and benefit, or even to be able to invite migrants to help earn a living in the environment.

In workers in a company, location or work environment also influences work ethic and performance.

  • Education

Just as previously explained that a person’s education influences work ethic and performance. It can be said that the work ethic cannot be separated from the quality of human resources. So, the more quality (can be assessed from the level of education) of human resources, the higher the work ethic.

  • Economic Structure

A person’s economic structure, has the effect of one’s work in the work environment. High or low work ethic of workers is influenced by the presence or absence of economic structure, which is able to provide incentives for members of the community to work hard and enjoy the results of their hard work to the full.

  • Individual Intrinsic Motivation

Work ethic can be said as an encouragement in individuals to do something. So, the motivation that exists in each individual is very influential on his work ethic. This intrinsic motivation can be many things which can spur someone to the spirit of doing something including work.

Characteristic features

There are several characteristics that can reflect the work ethic attitude, as follows:

  1. Addicted to time

The characteristic of someone having a high work ethic attitude is being addicted to time. The concept and nature of the work ethic itself is the way a person lives, understands, and feels how valuable time is.

Addicted to time means that someone really appreciates time so as to cause high enthusiasm for someone in carrying out work.

  1. Having a Clean Morality (Ikhlas).

Besides being addicted to time, another characteristic that illustrates the attitude of the work ethic is having a clean morality or can be said to be sincere.

Someone who works with full sincerity does not prevent him from carrying out his work. A sincere karema is a form of love, a form of affection and service without ties.

  1. Have honesty

Being honest is very important for someone, including when working. Honesty itself comes from oneself or heart which is constantly knocking and whispering noble moral values.

  1. Have commitment

Commitment is a belief that is binding so strongly that it is shackled by all conscience which then moves the behavior towards a certain direction that it believes.

  1. Strong Establishment (Consistent)

Consistent is a person’s ability to be faithful in principle, never give up, and be able to maintain the principle even though they have to deal with risks that endanger themselves.

How to Grow the Work Ethic Attitude

At least there are some things that can foster the work ethic of Jansen H. Sinamo (2011) workers including:

  • Work as a blessing (I work sincerely with gratitude).
  • Work is worship (I work seriously full of love).
  • Work is trustful (I work responsibly).
  • Work is a calling (I work with complete integrity).
  • Work is actualization (I work hard with enthusiasm).
  • Work is an art (I work smart with creativity).
  • Work is honor (I work with perseverance and excellence).
  • Work is service (I work full of humility).


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