Investigation of the Causes of High Absenteeism Rates at International Conglomerate Company

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1780 Words
Date:  2022-05-21


The performance and successful accomplishment of an organisation's goals largely depends on the discipline of the human resources. Disciplined workers support the organization's mission and vision and work hard to ensure that the goals are achieved. They are committed to the organisation. On the contrary, undisciplined employees are less committed to the organisation and are characterised by high rates of absenteeism. Absenteeism is the deliberate, intentional or habitual absence from work (Pizam and Thornburg, 2000, p. 211). It may also be described as any failure to report to work or stay at work as scheduled no matter the reason (Mayfield & Mayfield, 2009). Mikulec and Spackova (2017) examines absenteeism into perspectives; necessary and unnecessary. Necessary absenteeism is where the employee is seriously impaired through sickness or injury such that it is difficult to attend work. Unnecessary absenteeism, on the other hand, is where an employee has over-interpreted harmless symptoms and chooses to stay at home when he or she should be at work.

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Absenteeism is a significant problem for an organisation, and it can cost millions of money each year. A missing worker is equivalent to missed productivity. The missing worker may need to be replaced when absent through hiring a new employee or paying overtime for the existing employees all of which involve an extra cost to the company. On the other hand, customers experience delays in the delivery of the products and may be upset to even considering working with a competitor (Godet-Cayre et al., 2006, p. 179). This may inhibit a company's growth ambitions.

While it is clear that absenteeism is costly and even catastrophic to an organisation such as the International Conglomerate (IC), it is not clear what the causes are since employees may be absent from work for many reasons which are often dependent on the nature of work and industry (Hausknecht, Hiller, and Vance, 2008, p. 1223). Therefore, this study aims to investigate the cause of high rate of absenteeism among sales employees at IC Company.

Research Statement

To suggest suitable measures that can be established at IC Company to reduce absence rates.

Research Question

Why have the absence rates been so high at IC Company for the last five years?

Research Objectives

To investigate whether burnout and stress contributes to high absence rates among sales employees at IC Company

To determine if high absence rates at IC Company as a result of low job satisfaction

To investigate whether depression contributes to high absence rates among employees at IC Company

Literature Review

Burnout, Stress and Employee Absenteeism

Glynn (2013) investigated whether there exists a relationship between burnout, stress, job satisfaction and absences. The author used a qualitative research approach where questionnaires were distributed among one hundred part-time students who were employed in different companies. Also, the participants filled The Burnout Inventory (MBI). Eventually, the study found that employees who scored high levels of burnout and stress were most likely to be absent from work (Glynn, 2013, p. 739)). The author considered stress as a condition that may lead to stress related illness which can directly lead to absences among employees. Burnout was considered a situation where employees feel withdrawn from colleagues and clients and that it would be higher when the employee interacts with clients who have life problems or are unhappy such as caring professionals and police. The conclusions of this study are right because working with troubled clients inflicts stress on the employee and may easily be withdrawn. The current research will build on this knowledge of stress, burnout and the nature of the job by looking at the impact on the salesperson on working with clients from different backgrounds who may quickly turn down the employees approach to sell a product or even comment negatively about the product which hurts the personnel leading to stress and burnout.

Heo et al. (2015) examined the manual work employees over a period of twelve months to evaluate the impact of job stress on absences. Through a survey method, 2, 349 employees, a significant sample, were studied. The relationship between stress and absences was analyzed through a logistic regression model. The study established that absences resulted due to accidents associated with insufficient job control, high job demand, organizational injustice and inadequate social support. Organizational injustice and high job demands were linked to increased absences due to stress-related illnesses (Heo et al., 2015, p. 542). The current study will build on this knowledge by demonstrating that high demanding jobs such as sales and marketing may set high targets for employees that lead to stress and sicknesses which lead to high rates of absences.

Absences as a Result of Low Job Satisfaction and Morale

Josias (2005) conducted a study to determine the relationship between job satisfaction and levels of absenteeism in South African organisations. The author presented biographical questionnaires to 121 employees who also completed a Job Satisfaction Survey (JSS) to ascertain their levels of satisfaction. They were also asked to report on their absenteeism levels by indicating the number of days they were absent from work. The results indicated a direct relationship between job satisfaction and employee absenteeism. Low level of employee satisfaction is linked with an increase in frequency and number of sick leave days among the employees. It is probable that employees who are unsatisfied with their job would like to avoid going to work and the only way they can do so is to pretend sick and ask for sick leave. This study will be exploring the tendency of employees to seek sick leaves as a means of avoiding work.

Drakopoulos and Grimani (2011) studied the relationship between absenteeism and job satisfaction. The authors reviewed the existing data from the literature. The authors concluded that there is a significant relationship between employee absenteeism and job satisfaction; employees who are not satisfied with their work are likely to be absent more days from work than those who are satisfied. The basis of this scenario is that employees will naturally withdraw from a workplace or situation that is painful and dissatisfying (Drakopoulos and Grimani, 2011, p. 23). This paper will investigate the nature of a sales job or work situation to support literature on the relationship between work relationship and absenteeism in such occupations by considering the nature of the work and how it may impact on the relationship.

Relationship Between Job Depression and Absenteeism

Evans-Lacko and Knapp (2016) examined the impact of depression on employee productivity as well as the extent to which depression lead to absenteeism in the workplace. The authors drew data from literature from various countries across the world. Of the countries examined, the authors established that Japan had the highest costs of absenteeism related to depression with the average cost being about $2674 (Evans-Lacko and Knapp, 2016, p. 1525). This was due to the employees' seeking time off work for at least ten days. The findings can be interpreted to imply that depression does not only lead to absenteeism but longer days off the work. However, an investigation into the factors leading to employee depression is needed to distinguish job-related and other factors contributing to depression.

Sun, Buys, and Wang (2013) examined the factors causing depression among employees. The authors used a cross-sectional research design where 4,847 employees were surveyed between ages 18 and 54 years in 13 enterprises in China. The study examined individual factors (resilience and workability) and organisational-related factors (culture and workplace ethos, health promotion activities and policies and psychosocial environment. The authors established a significant relationship between personal factors (poor workability and low resilience) and depression and one organisational factor which is the low level of enterprise ethos and culture (Sun, Buys, and Wang, 2013, p. 1152). The results of this study can be enhanced by the current study which will examine the relationship between the nature of the job tendency to cause depression. For example, a job such involving company sales may expose an individual to the higher risk of depression since high targets are set which may not be easily achieved, and failure to attain them leads to consequences for employees.


Paradigm of Inquiry

The study will use a qualitative paradigm of inquiry. A qualitative approach to research employs observation and interviews to collect data that will help in understanding and explain a social phenomenon. Qualitative inquiry allows the researcher to gain an in-depth understanding of a cultural phenomenon. It will be suitable for this study because of its descriptive nature which will allow a revelation of situations, settings, processes and relationships that altogether lead to absenteeism as observed in the company (Hennink, Hutter, and Bailey, 2010, p. 45). As the researcher interprets data collected from the respondents in their settings, new insights on absenteeism will be gained. The researcher shall test the validity of certain assumptions that have already been made on the subject matter by comparing to data existing in the real world and enhance the body of knowledge regarding the topic.


The research will adopt a case study approach. A case study is a research strategy commonly used in social sciences and in which an empirical inquiry is employed to examine a phenomenon within its real-life context. A case study is based on an in-depth examination of a single individual or a group of people to investigate the causes of an underlying principle through an exploratory and descriptive nature.

A case study is suitable for this study because it will not only allow the researcher to examine the underlying cause of absenteeism but also to learn the behaviour problems among the employees accounting for the observed phenomenon. A case study method goes beyond the quantitative statistical results into comprehension of the behavioural conditions through the from the participants perspective (Noor, 2008, p. 1602). Particularly, the researcher will understand the problem from the individual employee perspective instead of simply generalizing results through quantitative method. A case study allows for a qualitative study of the participants to understand their situations that lead to higher absenteeism. By the nature of being quantitative, the case study approach will allow the researcher to examine the effectiveness of the employee motivational strategies in place. The employees at IC Company will be the participants

Data Collection

Primary data will be collected for this study. Data will be collected from the employees at India branch because they are many and will provide a representative sample. It is prudent to use all the employees in one station than to pick samples from every branch yet it appears that the cases of absenteeism are equally reported in each of the branches. That rules out the role of the environment and suggests the nature of the job as being the determinant.

Interviews will be a suitable method of data collection. Interviewing is a data collection tool mostly used in qualitative research because it allows for a researcher to record standards and practices, challenge and reinforce...

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Investigation of the Causes of High Absenteeism Rates at International Conglomerate Company. (2022, May 21). Retrieved from

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