Défense de thèse - 4 Septembre 2020

Le 4 septembre 2020

Next thesis defense - September 4th, 2020
- 2:00pm
- Free registration -

Camille Massey, PhD student in Behavioural Economics, will defend her thesis on September 4th, 2020 at 2:00pm at the Institut Paul Bocuse.

Her thesis, supervised by Dr Agnès Giboreau & Dr Laure Saulais, is untittled "Impact of time
constraints on lunch habits in the workplace

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Workplaces are increasingly advocated as promising places to promote a healthy lifestyle, but workers say they face many obstacles to sustain a healthy diet while at work (Donaldson-Feilder et al., 2017; Grant, 2018; Pridgeon & Whitehead, 2013). Among them, lack of time is one of the most frequently cited (Donaldson-Feilder et al., 2017; Grant, 2018; Karnaki, Zota, & Linos, 2009). Despite this, very little research has been dedicated to the investigation of the links between lack of time and workers’ eating habits during their workday. Qualitative evidence suggests that the attendance of some food outlets can be driven by desire to save time during lunch breaks (Mathé & Francou, 2014), pointing to a link between time constraints and their choice of lunch location.

This thesis builds on this idea and investigates the time constraints associated with choice of lunch purchase location among French workers. It sets out to provide a better understanding of the nature and characteristics of these constraints, and to evaluate their consequences on workers’ lunchtime decisions. Three separate studies are presented in this manuscript.

The first study examined French workers’ lunch habits. In the absence of available data, a survey instrument was developed specifically for this research and was used to collect data on the lunch practices of an online sample of 1139 French wage-earners. The study investigated the relationship between the workplace food environment, lunch habits, and time-related working conditions. The results revealed important differences across socioeconomic statuses in the availability of options in respondents’ workplace choice environments. Blue-collar workers (N=272) had less access to worksite cafeterias than white-collar workers (N=281) (23.2% vs 56.6%, p<0.001), and attended less places even when they had access (1.5 ±1.6 vs 2.3 ±1.6, p<0.001). These results partially replicated previous results from studies conducted in other countries (Raulio, Roos, & Prättälä, 2012). A multivariate analysis of the constraints, behaviors and factors of choice that could be related to lack of time in the survey highlighted four relevant dimensions within the context of lunchtime decisions at work: time demands, time-related determinants, autonomy, and lunch habits. The relationship between these dimensions and the attendance of food outlets for lunch was examined through logistic regressions for each type of food outlets, revealing a weak, but systematic and significant role of time dimensions in the attendance.

The second study was designed to measure the willingness-to-pay of a sample of 121 workers for time-saving services in the context of lunchtime decisions, under controlled work-related time constraints. In this online experiment, the participants’ willingness-to-pay for meal delivery was elicited through a multiple-price list mechanism (Casini et al., 2019) using a 2 (time pressure) x 2 (deadline) experimental design. Drawing upon household production theory (Becker, 1965), differences in willingness to pay were hypothesized to reflect changes in the economic value of time, induced by time pressure and the existence of deadlines. Both were found to have significant influence over willingness to pay.

The third study consisted in a field investigation, conducted in a company’s site in Grenoble, France, in January 2020. For a period of two weeks, 35 employees were asked to complete a daily questionnaire based on the first study’s surveying tool. These responses were linked to their actual choices of attended lunchtime location, as well as the amount of money spent for their lunch each day. This study allowed to evaluate intra-individual variability of attendance of food outlets in an identical environment for all respondents, and which was known to the researcher. A preliminary analysis of the results of this case study suggests associations between time constraints and lunchtime decisions at work.

This thesis highlights the complexity of the notion of time and of its examination in naturalistic as well as experimental settings. It proposes new methods of investigation and calls for greater attention to time-related working conditions, in particular when implementing interventions aimed at promoting healthy eating in the workplace.

For any question and to register:  symposium@institutpaulbocuse.com

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Institut Paul Bocuse

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