Employee Absenteeism: A Review of the Literature

Iowa State University USA
Journal of Vocational Behavior (Impact Factor: 2.59). 06/1977; 10(3):316-340. DOI: 10.1016/0001-8791(77)90066-5


The purpose of this paper is to review the literature on employee absenteeism as a form of withdrawal behavior apart from turnover. Studies examining the psychometric properties of absence measures are reviewed, along with the relationship between absenteeism and personal, attitudinal, and organizational variables. Studies exploring the relationship between absenteeism and turnover are examined according to the unit of analysis studied in the research. Programmatic efforts to reduce employee absenteeism are also reviewed. Throughout the paper emphasis is placed on the indices used by investigators to measure absenteeism, and the problems that have arisen in the literature through the use of multiple indicators of absenteeism. The review concludes with suggestions for research that are of both theoretical and practical concern.

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    • "Finally, the location of the workplace has been investigated in relation to withdrawal behaviors such as absenteeism, although few studies (if any) have empirically examined location effects on turnover. Research reveals positive associations between distance to work and absence (Muchinsky, 1977; Scott & McClellan, 1990), perhaps because longer commute times are a source of stress and limit the ability of employees to attend to non-work responsibilities. In the context of retention, living close to work can be viewed as an influence that promotes job embeddedness (Mitchell et al., 2001) or perhaps continuance commitment (Hrebiniak & Alutto, 1972), as employees may have to relinquish a favorable commute if they were to leave the organization. "
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    • "In this research, the consequences of absenteeism on the quality of products is measured. Many researchers consider that absenteeism is an important problem for employers (Allen, 1983; Hackett, 1989; Hackett & Guion, 1985; Inman, Jordan, & Blumenfeld, 2004; Lyons, 1972; Muchinsky, 1977; Pinker & Shumsky 2000; Steel & Rentsch, 1995). Inman et al. consider that assembly lines require the presence and training of every worker. "
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