Will the British ever be as committed to work as the Americans? With a spate of research highlighting high levels of apathy and laziness among the workers of UK PLC, possibly not.
But our reticent work ethic does not only come to light under the scrutiny of research. Talk to almost any US expat living in the UK and they will tell you how amazed they are by our attitude to work.
It's not that they think we are lazy or lacking in ambition, it's just that in their eyes, we have our priorities wrong.
Americans live to work, we work to live. Their vacations are to be earned; our holidays are seen as a birthright. The disparity is even more palpable to those who have lived and worked on both sides of the Atlantic.
American businesswoman Mary Selfe, who now lives in London with her English husband, first experienced the divide while working for a large multinational firm in Boston, Massachusetts.
She says, "Like many people in the US I was brought up on the understanding that you had to earn time off, and accomplish things in order to go on vacation.
"Holidays were not an automatic right. Some weeks I would put in 65 hours – I knew it wasn't going to last, and at the end I would look back and see it as a real achievement.
"But my British colleagues working with me at the time thought this was a bizarre way to live, and actually felt sorry for me. Clearly, working so hard was not popular with them."
Her comments appear to bear out many of the claims made by Craig Storti, author of the book Americans At Work – A Guide to the Can Do People.
His explanation for the differences is that American workers have a constant need to achieve, which is stronger than the desire for material possessions.
"What they actually care about, why they feel so compelled to acquire things is what the ability to have things says about a person, " he says.
But the Brits weren't always so different. Many remember vividly the 'work hard play hard' ethos that dominated the late 80s and 90s.
As a public relations account executive working for a global agency Nicola Hunt recalls that long hours era as a time of fun.
She says, "I was working on a pan European campaign which required frequent overseas trips, so I often had to be in the office very early. We also regularly worked evenings and Sunday mornings, and it simply didn't bother us. We enjoyed it – it was fun."
So did hard work go out of fashion? Or has the attitude of the British 'live to work' generation been stifled by the concerted efforts of the government to impose family-friendliness and work-life balance in the workplace?
"In the carefully managed and controlled work environment that we have today, there are more boundaries and less space, and that can have a stifling effect on people's self development," Hunt said.
Certainly a large proportion of bosses and staff complain that they are working with colleagues who do not pull their weight.
So are they lazy, or does the environment they work in simply not allow them to pull it in a way they would like?
Mary Selfe is more sceptical. "You don't have to work 60 hours a week to feel you have achieved. You can work 40 hours a week and do well.
"What is lacking in the UK is that work ethic with a smile; a positive attitude to your job rather than trepidation.
"Having lived in the UK for some time I am finally beginning to understand the differences.
"There are clearly many people in this country who are driven and who want to achieve, but this is counterbalanced by a large number of people who don't enjoy their job, but aren't motivated enough to do anything about it."