Absenteeism is one the serious problem and expensive occurrence for both employers and employee apparently undependable in nature. A satisfactory level of the attendance by the employee is necessary to achieve the objectives and targets by a department. It is a major problem faced by almost all employee of today. Employees are absent from the work thus the work suffer.

According to the Webster's dictionary

Absenteeism is the practice or habit of being an absence and an absentee is one who habitually stays away from work.

According to the fichman

Absence occurs whenever a person choose to allocate time to activities that compete with scheduled work either to satisfy the waxing and warning of underlying motivational rhythms. Or

Absenteeism is defined as a failure of an employee to report to work when he or she is schedule to do so.

Types of absenteeism

There are two type of the absenteeism, each of it require different type of the loom.

  1. Physical absenteeism.
  2. Functional absenteeism.
  1. Physical absenteeism:-
  2. Physical absenteeism defined as when an employee's does not come to work. This is divided into two sections.

    • Voluntary absenteeism
    • Involuntary absenteeism

    Voluntary absenteeism

    Voluntary absenteeism is in the employee's control where it all depend on the employee to attend the office or factory.

    Involuntary absenteeism

    Involuntary absenteeism is not in the employee control because employees can absent from work the due to the illness or death in family which is not in the control of the employees.

  3. Functional absenteeism:-

Functional absenteeism occur when an employee coming to work but not performing or not productive as he should be this include coming late not paying attention on work etc.

Organisational behaviour theories

Following organisational behaviour theories are best example to motivate employees and tell us the reasons that why employees are absent from their work.

  • Fredrick Herzberg theory
  • Adams equity theory
  • Theory X and Y
  • Expectancy theory
  • Job satisfaction
  • Goal setting theory
  • Fredrick Herzberg theory:-

A content theory of the work motivation which is closely related to Maslow's hierarchy is Professor Herzberg two factor theories or the motivator-hygiene theory. Abraham Maslow was a contemporary of the Herzberg and a behavioural scientist who developed a theory of the motivation based on the satisfied the human needs. According to me one of the main reasons from absent of the work is the motivation so this theory helps us to get a best solution to get rid of this problem.

Herzberg theory stated that there are two strands of the factors that affect people work attitude. One strand is called hygiene factors. Hygiene factors included issues like company policy, work environment, peer relationship, supervision, and job security. According to Herzberg the presence of these factors does not necessarily motivate or create satisfaction for employees but the absence of these factors can create job dissatisfaction. And the second strands included status, work itself, promotion, challenges, achievement, professional growth, responsibility, recognition. Salary was with hygiene factors and not with the factors that more directly motivated workers. Because many of the people are motivated by money and are willing to go the extra mile for it. Herzberg work has influenced thinking in organisational behaviour and management. Its most enduring benefits is its focus on the effects on the company system and job design on employees motivation and job satisfaction. Job design refers that how employees control their work decision. Because if the employees are satisfied with their job then that one is biggest thing absent from the job because then he thing that he doing this to meet their daily expenses that varies people to people some employees are very keen to their status when they did not get their status that is the reason of their motivation and some are very keen about the money and they expected pay raise when they did not get pay raise so that is the reason of their demotivation and starting absent from the job for no genuine reasons.

  • Theory X and Y:-

Douglas McGregor a social psychologist projected his famous X-Y theory in 1960. Theory X and Y is still use in the management and motivation and as more recent studies have questioned the firmness of the model X-Y theory remains a valid basic principle from which to develop positive management style. Still this theory consider central to organisational development, and to improving organizational culture. In this theory McGregor maintained that there are two fundamental approaches to managing people. Mangers who fall in theory X are generally produce poor result and mangers fall in theory Y generally produce better performance and result and allow people to grow and develop.

Theory x manager style:-

Theory X is the authoritarian managerial style held by managers who believes that employees prefer to avoid responsibility and they therefore require close, direct supervision. Thus the X managers believe his employees are lazy free boarders who lack self control and must be prodded by various managerial sticks to achieve organisational goals.

Theory Y manager style:-

The Y manager uses reward and incentives with subordinates because he believes that employees want to exercise self control and they are commitment to achieving the organisational goals through creative problem solving and teamwork. The Y manager retains talented employees by encouraging them to seek stimulating and rewarding work that not only reward their skills but also encourage them to acquire new ones. When this managerial style is extensive, firm de-emphasises rules, regulation, and standard procedures. This produces an organisation that values knowledge and creativity over observance and consistency.

I will consistently favour Y organisation because they value knowledge they challenging their employees to innovate and create product and services. Because this allow to the employees to show him that how he is productive for the organisation and in against they need recognition in the organisation.

  • Equity theory:-

Equity theory as developed by professor Stacy Adams (1965) makes a contribution to understanding that how employee react to the incentives and outcomes in the context of the performance job satisfaction relationship. The theory proposes that employees gauge the fairness of their work outcomes in the comparison to the work outcomes received by other who perform comparable jobs. To the extent that employees feel that their rewards are inadequate, they experience a state of imbalance or perceive inequity motivates the employee to take action to address his dissatisfaction. Inequity exits at work when employees feel that their rewards for their efforts are less then rewards received by other for their efforts.

Negative equity occurs when an employee think or believes that he has received relatively lower reward than other in proportion to the level of the efforts that he expended on the job. Positive equity occurs when an employee feels that he has relatively receive more rewards than someone else for a measure level of efforts.

Employees who falls in the negative equity might are absent from the job because they think that he did not received a handsome amount for their work are not happy so because of the silly reasons they start absent from the jobs.

  • Expectancy theory:-

The expectancy theory was proposed by the professor Tolman (1930) he realised that behaviour is always purposeful and goal directed and it could only be understood in terms of the probabilities that given behaviour will lead to outcomes valued by individual. Professor vroom uses this idea in the human behaviour and expectancy theory was born. Now it is important explanation for employee behaviour such as, absenteeism, joining of new company, turnover, career choice etc. Expectancy theory is depend on the three beliefs of employees,

  • Valence
  • Expectations
  • Instrumentality
  1. Valence:-
  2. Valence is the personal attractiveness of the different outcomes. If an outcome such as a promotion has a positive valence then the employee is highly motivated. Negative valence is close to undesirable outcomes and it lead to avoidance behaviour to the employees. Thus being censured publicly by the managers is the negatively valence for most of the employees. The concept of the valence is highly idiosyncratic and value laden. Valence is just like a stress.

  3. Expectations:-
  4. Expectancy theory has two classes of the outcome. First level of the outcome is the result of the expanding efforts in some directed way. Important first level outcomes at work would be job performance, late coming. These outcomes are important for the organisation and they have reflective the efforts of the employees. Second level of the outcomes occurs after first level outcomes and is direct toward result of achieving, or not achieving first level of outcomes. Second level of the outcomes include a promotion, transfer from one organisation to other, pay rise, attending training program etc.

  5. Instrumentality:-

This is a perception of the employees either they will in fact receive what they are expected or not. Even if has been promised by the mangers then it is management duties that they fulfil their promise of the rewards and employees are aware of it.

This gives a good understanding to the mangers about their employees towards their behaviour in the organisation. If an employee is receiving a rewards in term of the promotion according to their work or ability then he happy to work continuously and if they think that he reward which he receive is not according to their ability then he start to absent from job.

Job satisfaction

Job satisfaction in regards to ones feeling regarding of their work. Job can be prejudiced by variety of the issue like relationship with supervisors, quality of physical environment in which are working, level of fulfilment in their work. Employees who have positive attitude toward their job are referring to the job satisfaction. Job satisfaction is important tools to find out that ho employees are feel about their job and predictors of work behaviour such as turnover, absenteeism etc.

Causes of low job satisfaction

  • Conflict between colleagues
  • Conflict between supervisors
  • Fear of losing job
  • Under paid

Effects of low job satisfaction

Low job satisfaction is one of the main reasons of absenteeism and this directly effect on the company productivity low job satisfaction will be responsible in increasing in the rate of absenteeism.

Goal setting theory:-

Employees are motivated when their needs are satisfied on the job. Except of this they are also motivated to make every effort for attain goals. Goals are the source of motivation because they indicate what has to be done and how much efforts should be exerted. Attainments of goals satisfied the individual achievement and this give boosts the self esteem. So it's clearly shown that specific goals increase the performance than general goals. Similarly difficult goals but acceptable increase the performance.

Feedback also plays an important part may it be external or self generated. This will help employees to perform better every time from received feedback.

Five principal of goal theory

To motivated employees goals must take into the consideration the degree each of the following.

  • Clarity
  • Challenge
  • Commitment
  • Feedback
  • Task complexity

Burrhus Frederic skinner says:-

According to skinner many employees or worker work to keep up their living standards and they thought that if there is strict supervision than its leads to absenteeism and low morale among employees. Rewards scheme is not enough for the motivation working condition is play an important part of the as well. Reward scheme should make an objective to getting work done and making work as more fun and enjoyable environment.

Causes of the absenteeism

  1. Serious accidents and illness
  2. Low morale
  3. Poor working
  4. Boredom on the job
  5. Lack of job satisfaction
  6. Poor leadership or supervision
  7. Personal problem
  8. Physical fitness problem
  9. Transportation problems
  10. Stress
  11. Workload

Measurement and control

There is two types of the absenteeism both needed different types of the measurement.

  1. Innocent absenteeism:-
  2. Innocent absenteeism refers those employees who are absent from work for a genuine reasons like illness and injury. Innocent absenteeism is not culpable which means that it is guiltless. In a labour relation circumstance this means that it cannot be get rid by the disciplinary.

  3. Culpable absenteeism:-

This refers to those employee who are absent from work without the authorization of the reasons which are within their control. For example an employee who is on sick leave but actually he not sick is guilty of the culpable absenteeism.

Counselling innocent and culpable absenteeism

Innocent absenteeism is not intentionally so therefore disciplinary action is not fair. It is not a unfair to that employees because innocent absenteeism is not in his control. If employer imposed punishment to these employer result will b lost of that employees and only employer will suffer. There is a point at which the employer have a right to call the employee to be present at the regularly and complete the employment contract. At such point the termination of the employee may be justified.

The procedure an employer may take for innocent absenteeism is as follows

  1. Initial counselling
  2. Written counselling
  3. Reduction of hours
  4. Discharge

Initial counselling

Presuming you have communicated attendance expectation generally and have already identified an employee as a problem then employer will have to met with him or her as part of the attendance program and after that an employer should start to monitor the effect of these efforts on his or her attendance.

If the absence are the irregular meet with the employer each time after finish his or her job. And if absence is prolong then keep in touch on the regular basis and updated on the status of his or her condition. Except it an employer asked for the regular medical assessments. This will enable to the employer about the medical condition of the employee there is any likelihood of the employee providing regular attendance future. Formal meeting in which employer gives him or her verbal warning are given should be given as appropriate and documented. If there is no improvement then employer or manger goes with the written warning.

Written counselling

If improvement is not occurring then a manger should meet with the employee in formal meeting and provide him or her letter of the concern. If absenteeism still continue then he should awarded by the second letter of the concern that contain stronger worded in that it would warn to the employee that unless attendance improves then termination may be necessary.

Job reclassification

Between first and second letter the employer give an option to the employee to reduce his or her hours to better fit his or her personal circumstances. This option must be happily accepted by the employee and cannot be offered as an ultimatum as a reduction in hours is a reduction in pay and therefore this can be discipline him or her.


If the problem of culpable absenteeism persists, following the next interview period and immediately following an absence the employee should be interviewed and advised that he or she is to be suspended. The length of the suspension is depend on the severity of the problem and the explanation of the employee, how employee perform and length of his or her services.


That is happens only when all previously conditioned have been met and everything has been done to facilitate the employee can terminate be considered. In case of the innocent absenteeism and authority would consider some point, has employee done everything to regain their health and return to work, has enough time allow to the employee etc. But in case of culpable absenteeism they would dismissal hum or her on the basis of his or her unwillingness to correct his or her absence record.

Calculation of absenteeism:-

Managers generally find it useful to compute and analyse the absenteeism occurrence. The approach can be use in this regard.

Time lost

This one of the most popular calculation that is used this calculation gives a percentage of total scheduled work time that is lost to absenteeism.

Total time lost= days lost to absenteeism for a period/

Cost of absenteeism

There are lot of cost of absenteeism which company have to bear. These can be in different part of areas of a company.

  • Separation cost
  • Production cost
  • Replacement cost
  • Training cost
  • Hidden cost

Bradford factor of absenteeism:-

This is HR tools which used to measure and identify the areas of the absenteeism this enables to analysis absenteeism, lateness, overwork load, overtime, or any exception based time occurrence data according to Bradford factor principles.

  • Return to work: - This tells managers when employees come back to work after being absent from work, prompts post absence interview and it helps identify causes of the unplanned absence promote trends of absence report.
  • Absence administration: - this automatically tells to management for the unplanned absences and managers work flow around the absences. It also integrates the payroll. Staff can request the holiday via PC.
  • Absences self service: - this system enables to the employees that they can check their holiday entailment and they check that on what date their colleagues are absent. So then managers have an idea about the absence and they can approve holiday via SMART system.
  • Absence planning:- this helps managers in both planned and unplanned absences. By using the smart system and taking absences in to account changes can be made to suite business demand including changes in staffing and new holiday booking. Fully integrated with the time and attendant it tells mangers about unauthorized absence and repeat absent such as their realize or training and it even identify when this training is necessary and the corresponding absence.

Organisational behaviour is a study of the behaviour of employees in the organization. To recognize the behaviour of the employees is very help to judge his or her way of working in the organization. Because we know that human behaviour is changed by the internal or external. To analysis these theories gives us a deep understanding of the human behaviour. Furthermore, managers have been grapple with the idea of the channelization of human energy towards the attainment of the organisational goals. Organizational behaviour gives us a path for influence the behaviour of the person in the organisation. Theories which we have analysis above some of them are explaining the productivity, absenteeism, motivation and some of them are for the turnover. Different says differently for example Maslow theory and Herzberg two factor theory none of them has found a widespread support but these are regarding the relationship between achievement and productivity. So Maslow theory is not explaining about the motivation of the employees.

Path goal theory is about the setting goals for the employees during their work, this it is not explaining about the absenteeism but higher level of the goals leads to higher productivity. But settings of gaols have some meaning in the nature of the employees this gives a self believe in the employees and employees enjoy with their work.

Equity theories are very important to deals in productivity and job satisfaction, absence, turnover. This theory is about the organization justice among the employees.

Crucially Expectancy theory works on perceptions so if an employer thinks they have provided everything suitable for motivation of employees. And even if this works with most people in that organisation it doesn't mean that someone won't take in that it doesn't work for them.

This theory would look most applicable to a traditional attitude work situation where how motivated the employee is depends on whether they want the reward on offer for doing a good job and whether they believe more effort will lead to that reward. Other theories, in my opinion, do not allow for the same degree of individuality between people. This model takes into account individual perceptions and thus personal histories allowing a richness of response not obvious in Maslow or McClelland who assume that people are essentially all the same.

Job satisfaction play vital role in the practical life because until an employees are satisfied with their job he is not happy to come on the might be that employee is very talented and productive for the company but due lack of job satisfaction he unable to show his ability. Because an employee needs something in return to meet their day to day expenses. Open communication and culture diversity is playing an important part to find out right employees. Because a talented employee is help to enhance the performance of the company.

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