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Job satisfaction, distributive justice, perceived absence legitimacy and the role of turnover intentions: an exploratory study in Ghana

Helena M. Addae (Department of Management, California State University, San Bernardino, California, USA)
Nathaniel Boso (Department of Marketing and Corporate Strategy, KNUST School of Business, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana)

International Journal of Organizational Analysis

ISSN: 1934-8835

Article publication date: 7 September 2020

Issue publication date: 7 May 2021




This paper aims to investigate the relationship between job satisfaction and distributive justice on employee perceptions of absence legitimacy. This paper also examined the moderating effects of turnover intentions on the relevant relationships.


The authors used convenience sampling to collect data from 298 employees working in private and public sector organizations in the manufacturing and service sectors in Ghana. Drawing on institutional theory, this study investigates the effects of employee perceptions of the legitimacy of absenteeism on their attitudes toward their job and pay. Structural equation modeling was used to test the direct and moderation effects.


Job satisfaction and perceived distributive justice were found to be significantly related to the absence of legitimacy. Additionally, turnover intentions moderated the relationship between job satisfaction and absence legitimacy; however, unexpectedly, this was associated only marginally with distributive justice.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitation of this study was that it was cross-sectional, but the analysis did not show a common method bias. This study was conducted in a developing country where valid and accurate absence data are non-existent. The hypotheses were supported. When employees felt a sense of inequity and were dissatisfied with their jobs, they were likely to perceive absenteeism as legitimate behavior. These relationships were more pronounced when employees intended to leave their organizations.

Practical implications

From a practical standpoint, as employees are likely to engage in absenteeism as a means to reduce their perceptions of imbalance and because absenteeism is a costly behavior, it would be in the employer’s best interest to mitigate these high costs. It behooves employers to comprehend the factors that lead to the legitimization of absences. Doing so, they would be able to implement attendance management systems and strategies that would delegitimize some of these factors, thus improving attendance and potentially increasing productivity and job satisfaction and reducing turnover intentions.


This study contributes to absenteeism research because, unlike most studies in the area, it examined employee cognitions of the behavior. Such cognitions should provide insights into how employee perceptions of the legitimacy of absences would affect attitudinal variables such as job satisfaction, feelings of equity and turnover intentions. Moreover, even though the study was conducted in Ghana, absence legitimacy can be investigated in different settings at different levels of analysis. This is because it is free from contamination such as, dissimilar absence reporting systems within and across organizations and nations that affect the validity and accuracy of absence data.



Addae, H.M. and Boso, N. (2021), "Job satisfaction, distributive justice, perceived absence legitimacy and the role of turnover intentions: an exploratory study in Ghana", International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Vol. 29 No. 3, pp. 801-822.



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