This is part of a much larger wave of in-house corporate innovation dubbed "intrapreneurship". The most famous example is "Post-It" which was developed, in-house, by a 3M employee and funded by company. But all major and medium American firms encourage institutionalized intrapreneurship.
Entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship are often associated with another American phenomenon - workaholic. Bryan Robinson in his 1998 tome, "Chained to Desk", identifies four types of workaholism (or "work addiction"):
The Bulimic Workaholic Style - "Either I do it perfectly or not at all"; The Relentless Workaholic Style - "It has to be finished yesterday"; Attention-Deficit Workaholic Style - adrenaline junkies who use work as a focusing device; Savouring Workaholic Style - slow, methodical, and overly scrupulous workers. Workaholism is confused by most Americans with "hard work", a pillar of Protestant work ethic, by now an American ethos. Employers demand long work hours from their employees. Dedication to one's work results in higher financial rewards and faster promotion. Technology fosters a "work everywhere, work anytime" environment.
Even before introduction of 35 hours week in France, Americans worked 5 weekly hours more than French, according to a 1998 study by Families and Work Institute. Americans also out-worked industrious Germans by 4 hours and British by 1 hour. The average American work week has increased by 10% (to 44 weekly hours) between 1977-98.
One third of all American bring work home, yet another increase of 10% over same period. According to Economic Policy Institute, Germans (and Italians) took 42 days of vacation a year in 1998 - compared to 19 days taken by Americans. This figure may have since deteriorated to 13 annual vacation days. Even Japanese take 25 days a year.
In a survey conducted by Oxford Health Plans, 34 percent of all respondents described their jobs as "pressing and with no downtime". Thirty two percent never left building during working day and had lunch at their desk. Management promotes only people who work late, believed a full one seventh.
Most Europeans - with notable exception of British - regard their leisure and vacation times as well as time dedicated to family and friends as important components in a balanced life - no less important than time they spend at work. They keep these realms strictly demarcated.
Work addiction is gradually encroaching on European work scene as well. But many Europeans still find American - and, increasingly British - obsession with work to be a distasteful part of much derided "Anglo-Saxon" model of capitalism. They point at severe health problems suffered by workaholics - three times as many heart failures as their non-addicted peers.