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Factors in absenteeism and presenteeism: life events and health events

James N. MacGregor (School of Public Administration, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada)
J. Barton Cunningham (School of Public Administration, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada)
Natasha Caverley (School of Public Administration, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada)

Management Research News

ISSN: 0140-9174

Article publication date: 20 June 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship of stressful life events and health related events with sickness absenteeism and presenteeism (attending work while ill or injured).

Design/methodology/approach

A web‐based survey was conducted within a public service organization which had just undergone a significant downsizing, where the workforce was reduced by over 30 per cent.

Findings

The findings indicated that stressful life events were significantly associated with both presenteeism and absenteeism, to the same degree.

Research limitations/implications

These results extend previous research in suggesting that employees are substituting presenteeism for absenteeism. However, different health risks (chronic conditions vs needing counselling support) were more likely to predict absenteeism than presenteeism.

Originality/value

By supporting a substitution hypothesis, the present study suggests that both presenteeism and absenteeism are important measures of employee health and organizational productivity.

Keywords

Citation

MacGregor, J.N., Barton Cunningham, J. and Caverley, N. (2008), "Factors in absenteeism and presenteeism: life events and health events", Management Research News, Vol. 31 No. 8, pp. 607-615. https://doi.org/10.1108/01409170810892163

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited