The Effects of Absence Culture on Individual Absence

Joseph J. Martocchio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This field study provided empirical evidence for the effects of absence culture on individual absenteeism among employees (N = 264) within five clerical units. Absence culture was derived from the aggregation of an individual-level measure of the beliefs about the perceived costs (i.e., deterrent outcomes) and benefits (i.e., encouraging outcomes) of being absent from work. It was hypothesized that these individual beliefs about absence could be aggregated meaningfully to the unit level. In addition, it was hypothesized that absence culture would explain a significant amount of variance in individual absence beyond the effects of demographics and general work attitudes. Paid and unpaid absence data for the 3-month period following collection of the beliefs measures were collected from organizational records. This study demonstrated support for the existence of an absence culture and its impact on individual absence. Implications for managing absence and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-262
Number of pages20
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1994


  • absence culture
  • social influence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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