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The devil is in the details: Judgments of responsibility and absenteeism from work


Dr Eric Patton, Saint Joseph's University, 5600 City Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19131, USA (e-mail:


This paper presents and tests a model suggesting that individual episodes of absenteeism, and the circumstances surrounding these events, are an important avenue for research and can help us understand the outcomes related to this behaviour. Through an experimental design using vignettes describing the absence of a co-worker, this paper tests how reason for absence and context (i.e., work demands related to deadlines) surrounding an episode influences judgments of responsibility, emotional reactions, and behavioural intentions. The findings indicate that reasons for absence and context are important determinants of the reactions of others following an absence episode.