Gary Johns

Concordia University

The purpose of this chapter is to review the research literature on absence from work that has been published in the last 15 years or so. The review is meant to be fairly comprehensive in that it spans various correlates, causes, consequences, theoretical perspectives, and research methods used to study absenteeism. However, due to space limitations, it does not cover interventions used to manage attendance. This will be the subject of another paper.

The time span of 15 years is not arbitrary. Rather, it reflects the fact that it has been a good while since a more comprehensive review of this subject has been attempted. Earlier reviews include those by Porter and Steers (1973) and Muchinsky (1977). Subsequent reviews have been selective, focusing on particular theories or models of attendance (Brooke, 1986; Chadwick-Jones, Nicholson, & Brown, 1982; Mowday, Porter, & Steers, 1982; Steers & Rhodes, 1978), demographic correlates of absence (Nicholson, Brown, & Chadwick- Jones, 1977), job satisfaction and absence (Nicholson, Brown, & Chadwick- Jones, 1976), and absence management strategies (Rhodes & Steers, 1990). The reader is directed to these earlier qualitative reviews, all of which provide useful summaries of research in particular areas. In addition, since 1984, a number of meta-analyses have been conducted that provide quantitative summaries of particular correlates of absence. The conclusions of these metaanalyses will form part of the present review.

The chapter is organized around a loose series of informal 'models' that reflect various presumed correlates or causes of absence. In some cases, these models are espoused both by researchers and by lay people.

Contemporary Research on Absence from Work: Correlates) Causes and Consequences by Gary Johns taken from IRIOP 1997 vl2, Edited by Cary L. Cooper and Ivan T. Robertson; © 1997 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

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