Absenteeism in times of rapid organizational change



  • Unscheduled absenteeism is a costly and disruptive phenomenon that remains problematic for organizations. It is imperative that managers understand more fully the antecedents and consequences of this complex behaviour.

  • This study aims to shed light on the issue by analysing the absence trends in a large public sector organization undergoing modernization and downsizing.

  • It is argued that employer assumptions about the legitimacy of individual absenteeism will guide decision making with regard to appropriate absence management strategies.

  • This study highlights the danger of falsely attributing individual-level causes of absenteeism to what may be better understood as a group-level phenomenon. This phenomenon represents a predictable response in the context of major organizational change. This research has implications for human resource management strategies in organizations experiencing rapid change.

Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.