|M.Sc Student||Biron-Ben-Gera Michal|
|Subject||Group Norms and Absenteeism: How Social Information|
Processing Affect Employee Attendance
|Department||Department of Industrial Engineering and Management||Supervisor||Mr. Peter Bamberger|
We present a study aimed at investigating the problem of absenteeism in the workplace, a problem that has, to date, been unresolved by researchers and practitioners alike. While most research literature has traditionally focused on individual-level antecedents, more recent trends, using higher levels of analysis, offer a more thorough examination of the matter. Building on this new agenda, we proposed a model for understanding the mechanisms by which attendance-related norms of reference groups influence individuals’ actual absence behavior.
Our study—which used a sample of 141 industrial workers, and combined self-reports with personnel archive data—partially supported the model. The theory of Social Influence, which suggests that the need to be socially accepted and the fear of being disliked motivate employees to behave in ways that others consider appropriate, received significant support. In addition, consistent with the Social Learning perspective, the normative context affected attendance behavior through perceptions of outcomes that are often associated with absenteeism. However, the Social Information Processing model, which suggests that people seek for a stable view of their environment (i.e., coherence among a person’s behavior, his own norms, and the norms of peers), received only limited support. Although employees’ personal judgments did coincide with those of their significant others, in effect, only group norms could predict future absence rates.
Employers might undermine or counterbalance the negative effects of contextual factors on poor absence records by incorporating group-based interventions into human-resource practices, and by raising the perceived costs associated with absenteeism.