Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

In certain jobs supervisor support can reduce absenteeism

20.03.2012
Work hazards usually not to blame for employees’ missing work, research says

A supportive supervisor can keep employees in certain hazardous jobs from being absent even when co-workers think it's all right to miss work, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Researchers explored factors that can influence employee absenteeism and found that a job's level of risk and peer pressure were both negligible compared to the influence of the employee's supervisor. Having peers who think it's OK to miss a lot of work days influenced employees to miss more work only when the employees felt their supervisors were not supportive, the study found. An employee's perception of danger on the job did not itself play a role in determining absenteeism, according to the study published online in APA's Journal of Applied Psychology.

"The findings provide useful guidance for companies and organizations that are dealing with a counterproductive employee subculture that condones missing work," said lead author Michal Biron, PhD, of Israel's University of Haifa and the Netherlands' Tilburg University. "Leadership will do well to provide frontline supervisors with training and resources so that they can be supportive of their employees who deal with tough work environments."

The study involved 508 workers with the transportation authority of a large U.S. municipality that closely monitors employee attendance and enforces a strict absence policy. The sample was 69 percent men and 31 percent women with an average age of 46. Forty-three percent of the workers were employed in the authority's bus division, 48 percent in the station division and 9 percent in the subway division.

Researchers determined the participants' rate of absenteeism from their personnel records over 24 months. To determine perceived job hazards, they randomly selected 34 of the participants to respond to a series of questionnaires about hazards on the job such as electrocution, dangerous chemicals or contaminants, continuous loud noise, extreme temperatures or humidity, and verbal or physical assaults by customers or co-workers.

The entire sample was asked to respond to questions asking how they felt about their co-workers and the degree to which their co-workers viewed 20 possible reasons for absence as "justifiable." Reasons ranged from the individual's own illness symptoms to personal situations such as parental illness or an important event at a child's school.

The participants were also asked to rate their supervisor's supportiveness. Researchers asked the employees to indicate how often during the past month their immediate supervisor assisted them in various ways, such as "talked you through work-related problems, helping you come up with solutions," and "provided you with encouragement about your work." The participants responded using a 5-point scale ranging from 0 for "never" to 4 for "several times a day."

"An employee culture that approves of missing work might result in higher employee absenteeism when coupled with aversive work conditions if a supervisor is considered unsupportive, but it seems to have no effect at all when employees feel their supervisor is supportive," said co-author Peter Bamberger, PhD, of Tel Aviv University and the Smithers Institute of Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations. "This may be because employees want to reciprocate positive treatment and avoid causing any problems due to their absenteeism that could negatively impact their supervisors."

Demographic and individual differences such as gender, age, tenure, ethnicity and average hours worked per week were included in the analysis to ensure accurate statistical representation.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 154,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.

Article: "Aversive Workplace Conditions and Absenteeism: Taking Referent Group Norms and Supervisor Support Into Account," Michal Biron, PhD, University of Haifa and Tilburg University; Peter Bamberger, PhD, Tel Aviv University and the Smithers Institute of Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations; Journal of Applied Psychology, online, March 2012.

Full text of the article is available from the APA Public Affairs Office and at http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/apl-ofp-biron.pdf

Lisa Bowen | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.apa.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Oxygen loss in the coastal Baltic Sea is “unprecedentedly severe”
05.07.2018 | European Geosciences Union

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nano-kirigami: 'Paper-cut' provides model for 3D intelligent nanofabrication

16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

New players, standardization and digitalization for more rail freight transport

16.07.2018 | Transportation and Logistics

Researchers discover natural product that could lead to new class of commercial herbicide

16.07.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>