Business Insider calls this article an “anecdote… provided by linguist and cross-culture studies expert Richard Lewis.” The article provides several direct links to other works by Lewis, including an Amazon link for his book and an advertisement for the services he offers to businesses. The article makes many unsourced claims, and assumes that all Americans (and all Spaniards and all Germans) have a uniform attitude towards time.
I’m sure that Americans from big cities and Americans from little towns have different senses of time. Further, people who work hourly wages, people who earn salaries, and people who work as full-time unpaid family caregivers will all approach time differently — but this article was written for the benefit of business professionals.
I’m not sure there’s much in it that can help me talk to college students about time-management.
The Americans are not the only ones who sanctify timekeeping, for it is practically a religion in Switzerland and Germany, too. These countries, along with Britain, the Anglo-Saxon world in general, the Netherlands, Austria and Scandinavia, have a linear vision of time and action. They suspect, like the Americans, that time is passing (being wasted) without decisions being made or actions being performed.
These groups are also monochronic; that is, they prefer to do only one thing at a time, to concentrate on it and do it within a fixed schedule. They think that in this way they get more things done — and more efficiently. Furthermore, being imbued with the Protestant work ethic, they equate working time with success: the harder you work — the more hours, that is — the more successful you will be and the more money you will make. This idea makes perfect sense to American ears, would carry less weight in class-conscious Britain, and would be viewed as entirely unrealistic in Southern European countries, where authority, privilege and birthright negate the theory at every turn. In a society such as existed in the Soviet Union, one could postulate that those who achieved substantial remuneration by working little (or not at all) were the most successful of all. — Richard Lewis, Business Insider