Time for absenteeism: A 20-year review of origins, offshoots, and outcomes

David A. Harrison, Joseph J. Martocchio

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


We use a time-based system to help organize, summarize, and analyze research on employee absenteeism published in the last 20 years (1977-1996). Although what is known about some mid-term (4-12 month) origins of absence-taking has been greatly clarified and expanded, less is known about long-term (> 12 months) and short-term (1 day - 3 months) origins, or about how causes in different time frames relate to each other. Poor performance and "neglectful" behaviors serve as reliable offshoots of absenteeism. The long- and short-term etiology of the latter behaviors is unclear, but their shared variance in the mid-term reflects negative job attitudes. Outcomes of absenteeism have received much less research attention. Although mid-term consequences such as reduced performance, turnover, and organizational expense are well-established, little is known about short-and long-term effects of absence-taking on individuals and their social environments. We conclude with suggestions for more explicit consideration of time frames, causal lags, and aggregation periods in the next decades of absenteeism research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-350
Number of pages46
JournalJournal of Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Strategy and Management


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