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[Excerpt] Over one million American workers who are otherwise employed will not attend work on any given day: they will be absent. Given the expense and disruption associated with such widespread employee absenteeism, it will come as no surprise that a great deal of time has been spent to determine the causes of employee absenteeism and how its incidence might be reduced. Sadly, however, it has been concluded that the heavy investment of research effort on absenteeism has failed to generate significant dividends, whether one’s criterion is the prediction, explanation, or control of absence (Chadwick-Jones, Nicholson, & Brown, 1982).

While prior absence research has not and does not serve the practicing manager very well, new research on employee absenteeism provides promising avenues for management. This chapter will provide an overview of the magnitude of the absenteeism problem and a rationale for why much of the earlier study of workplace absenteeism did not, as a practical matter, provide much information or direction to managers. Then the "new directions in the management of absenteeism” will be examined.


Required Publisher Statement
© Thomson Reuters. Final version published as: Dalton, D. R. & Enz, Cathy A. (1988). New directions in the management of employee absenteeism: attention to policy and culture. In R.S. Schuler, S.A. Youngblood, & V. Huber (Eds.), Readings in personnel and human resource management (3rd ed., pp. 357‐366). St. Paul: West Publishing Company. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.