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Technion researchers present a model for explaining and reducing absenteeism from work:

The immediate work group significantly influences the employee's decision to be absent from work

The environment and colleagues significantly influence the employee's decision to be absent from work. This is what the researchers of the Faculty of Industry and Management at the Technion proposed, who offer a unique model to examine the problem. Their research will soon be published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.
According to the figure of the "Haskim" company, in the first ten months of 2006 there were over four days of absence on average in Israel (in addition to vacation days).
Professor Peter Bamberger and doctoral student Michal Biron propose a model to test the mechanisms that explain the influence of social norms on the individual's absenteeism behavior. They found that the influence of the group on individual behavior is strongest among the "obedient" (conformist) workers and much less on the individualistic workers. In addition, the researchers found support that group norms affect the results attributed to absences. "The social environment shapes a person's perceptions of what can happen to him if he is absent from work," says Michal Biron.
The researchers examined about 150 production workers in a food factory. The questionnaires were not anonymous and the employees answered with their full names. They even mentioned the names of the employees closest to them, and the researchers contacted them as well. These peers constituted the individual's normative group, whose influence the researchers examined.
In light of their findings, the researchers recommend that the management locate individuals and groups in the organization that hold to permissive absence norms (that is, those that refer to many and varied reasons for absence as legitimate) and devote efforts to "educating" the employees - training that is focused on the high costs associated with absence, both from the perspective of the employer and from the perspective of colleagues for work. Collective reward programs for low absenteeism rates in the unit/group can also strengthen these educational processes.


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