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Journal of World Business 42 (2007) 214227 www.socscinet.

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Job attitudes and absenteeism: A study in the English speaking Caribbean


Betty Jane Punnett a,*, Dion Greenidge a,1, Jase Ramsey b,2
a

Department of Management Studies, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados b Moore College of Business, University of South Carolina, United States

Abstract This paper examines the relationships of job attitudes (facets of job satisfaction and organizational commitment) and personality characteristics to absenteeism, in ve manufacturing companies in Barbados, an English-speaking Caribbean country. The relationships examined are based on well-established theories from the developed world, especially the USA. In addition, individualism, uncertainty avoidance, and power distance were measured. The results show that an employees levels of satisfaction with co-workers, activity, responsibility, and job security, as well as loyalty to the organization, are related to absenteeism. These results are similar to those found in past research in the developed world. The most important single predictor of absence was satisfaction with co-workers. Respondents were moderate on individualism, high on uncertainty avoidance, and low on power distance. The cultural scores are used to help interpret the results. The implications of the results are discussed in terms of expanding the reach of an established theory, and relative to decreasing absenteeism in Barbados. # 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Job satisfaction; Organizational commitment; Personality characteristics; Cultural values; Absenteeism

The focus of this research is on absenteeism in an English speaking Caribbean developing country, Barbados. The relationships examined in the research were based on well-established theories regarding absenteeism, from studies done in the USA, as well as other developed countries. Very little work on absenteeism has been done in developing countries, and the authors found no published research on the English speaking Caribbean. The study was undertaken for practical as well as theoretical reasons.

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +246 417 4309; fax: +246 438 9167. E-mail addresses: eureka@caribsurf.com (B.J. Punnett), dgreenidge@uwichill.edu.bb (D. Greenidge), ramseyj3@mailbox.sc.edu (J. Ramsey). 1 Tel.: +246 417 4309; fax: +246 438 9167. 2 Tel.: +1 803 269 4923; fax: +1 803 777 6782. 1090-9516/$ see front matter # 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.jwb.2007.02.006

From a practical perspective, absences are a particular concern in todays competitive, global environment. It is no longer other local organizations, facing similar levels of absenteeism that constitutes the competition. Local organizations now compete with rms from other countries, where absenteeism levels may be different. In the Barbados and Caribbean context, concern with absenteeism from work has been growing in recent years. Interviews with businesspeople in St. Vincent and Barbados during 2001 (Punnett, Dick-Forde, & Robinson, 2006) suggested that it was a key concern for many businesses. Reports of absenteeism, in the press and from public speeches, from Barbados indicated that days lost due to absences was increasing substantially in 2001, and the consensus in the press in 2004 was that absenteeism had reached crisis proportions. Many recent news articles have stressed

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the need to deal with absenteeism in Barbados, and the wider Caribbean. There are currently no reliable statistics on absenteeism in Barbados, but the information from a variety of sources (personal communication) indicates an absenteeism level of about 7%, calculated as the number of days lost to absenteeism divided by the number of days available (not including vacation days) to give a percentage gure; this is substantially higher than reported rates in the USA of about 2% (CCH Survey reported on http://www.radford.edu/). The 7% absenteeism gure translates to about fteen days of absence compared to about four days for the 2% gure (these are estimates only, but give a sense of the order of magnitude represented by these absenteeism gures). This comparison suggests that lowering absenteeism rates could potentially have a substantial impact in Barbados. While the research had an immediate and practical purpose, it also had a broader objective of examining well established relationships in a new context, and thus broadening the global reach of an accepted theoretical framework. The purpose of the present study was to investigate whether the absenteeism relationships identied in the North American literature were applicable to Barbados. Barbados is classied as a developing country, thus, to some extent this project extends research and theories from the developed world to a developing country context. According to the World Bank (2005) World development report, Barbados is classied as an upper middle income country (economies are divided according to Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, calculated using the World Bank Atlas method; upper middle income countries have a GNI per capita ranging from $30369385. The following brief literature review explains the relationships that have been established in the developed world research, and the theoretical underpinnings for this project. 1. A brief review of the absenteeism literature The focus of this research is on absenteeism and the factors that inuence an employees decision to be absent from work. The strongest evidence from research in North America and the developed world is a consistent relationship between levels of job satisfaction and absence from work (Farrell & Stamm, 1988; Harrison & Martocchio, 1998). The more satised employees are with the workplace, the less likely they are to be absent, conversely, the more dissatised

employees are with the workplace, the more likely they are to be absent. Three Meta-analyses of the relationship between employee absenteeism and job satisfaction (Scott & Taylor, 1985; Hackett & Guion, 1985) showed that job satisfaction was found consistently to be negatively associated with absence (Scott & Taylor, 1985; Hackett, 1989). Job satisfaction was also shown to be negatively associated with absence, and found to be the most signicant predictor of absenteeism by Brooke (1989). Historically, withdrawal theory has been used to account for the job satisfactionabsenteeism relationship (Steers & Rhodes, 1978, 1984). This theory suggests that when individuals become dissatised with their jobs, this reduces their motivation to attend work, culminating in absence behavior. Further, Steers and Rhodes (1978) predicted that the effects of all other jobrelated and organizational variables on absence would work their way through job satisfaction. Although the withdrawal theory has seen substantial support in the literature, a more recent meta-analysis has shown that absence behavior is much more complex than a simple direct relationship between job satisfaction and absence behavior (Harrison & Martocchio, 1998). This metaanalysis concluded that a number of direct relationships exist in addition to the job satisfaction, absence relationship. These authors challenged the credibility of the Steers and Rhodes (1978) model by referring to it as a framework rather than a theory because it species broad collections of variables [satisfaction] rather than relations between well-dened constructs (p. 312). Ultimately, these meta-analyses provided evidence that work attitudes do not explain the whole phenomenon of absenteeism in the work place. We can conclude, therefore, that job satisfaction, one of the most-studied variables in organizational behavior research (Spector, 1997), results from a complex evaluative and emotional process (Weiss, 2002) that goes beyond a reection of objective working conditions. Job satisfaction has, in fact, been linked with a wide range of antecedents, including culture (Judge, Parker, Colbert, Heller, & Ilies, 2002; Spector et al., 2002), gender (Muhonen & Torkelson, 2004), core self-evaluations (Rode, 2004), work locus of control (Muhonen & Torkelson, 2004), and personality (Judge et al., 2002; Ones, Viswesvaran, & Schmidt, 2003). It has also been linked with other outcomes such as career success (Burke, 2001) and life satisfaction (Rode, 2004). In addition, the question of the meaning of job satisfaction is relevant here. A global satisfaction variable has been shown to predict absenteeism;

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however, this is not very helpful in making changes in the workplace to improve satisfaction levels. Consequently, a variety of facets of job satisfaction have been identied, and survey instruments have been designed to measure these. Broadly, intrinsic job satisfaction has been differentiated from extrinsic job satisfaction intrinsic is dened as satisfaction with the job itself, and extrinsic as the satisfaction with factors external to the job (Weiss, Davis, England, & Lofquist, 1967). Research has looked at many facets of job satisfaction extensively in North America, and found them, to varying degrees, to be related to absenteeism. The literature on absenteeism also suggests that dedication to the company, or organizational loyalty and commitment, relate both to job satisfaction and to absenteeism. Loyal and committed employees are believed to feel a sense of responsibility to their employer and organization. Consequently they do not want to be absent because of the potential negative impact on the employer and organization. Organizational commitment, like job satisfaction, is a general attitude, and thus also subject to the predictions of withdrawal theory employees with high levels of organizational commitment identify with a particular rm; they are less likely to miss work because it jeopardizes their membership in it (Harrison & Martocchio, 1998, p. 320). Results of studies in North America have found that the more loyal and committed employees are, the more satised they are, and the less likely they are to be absent i.e., loyalty and commitment are positively correlated with satisfaction (Rizzo, House, & Litzman, 1970; Porter & Steers, 1973; Oliver & Brief, 1977; Bedeian & Armenakis, 1981; Mowday, Porter, & Steers, 1982; Bateman & Strasser, 1984; Clark & Larkin, 1992; Igbaria & Guimaraes, 1993; Deconinck & Bachmann, 1994; Fletcher & Williams, 1996), thus suggesting that as organizational commitment increases, job satisfaction increases (Yousef, 2000; Bennett, 2002), and consequently, absenteeism decreases (Hammer, Landau, & Stern, 1981; Terborg, Lee, Smith, Davis, & Turbin, 1982; Farrell & Stamm, 1988; Dunham, Grube, & Castaneda, 1994; Somers, 1995), or, as organizational commitment decreases, absences from work increase (Blau & Boal, 1987; Savery, Travaglione, & Firns, 1998; Lok & Crawford, 2001; Bennett, 2002). Meta-analysis (Hackett, 1989) shows similar outcomes on job satisfaction absenteeism relationship ( p = .14) as the organizational commitmentabsenteeism relationship ( p = .11). Personal characteristics have also been linked to absenteeism (Furnham & Miller, 1997; Hackett, 1990;

Harrison & Martocchio, 1998; Hogan & Holland, 2003). Three personal characteristics that have received considerable attention are need for achievement, locus of control, and self-efcacy. A high need for achievement means that individuals work hard to achieve the goals that they set for themselves, including work goals high need for achievement is expected to be related negatively to absenteeism. Locus of control ranges from internal to external internal locus of control means that individuals attribute causality to their own activities while external locus of control means the individuals attribute causality to factors outside of their control. The more internal a persons locus of control the more likely they are to attend work in the face of difculties, while the more external a persons locus of control the more likely the are to be absent because they feel they have little control over external factors. Self-efcacy refers to the degree to which people feel that they are capable of achieving what they set out to achieve a high sense of self-efcacy is expected to be negatively related to absenteeism, as employees want to demonstrate their capability at work and are reluctant to be absent. Based on the literature, a series of hypotheses were developed, relating personality characteristics, facets of job satisfaction, and facets of organizational commitment, to absenteeism. 1.1. Hypotheses Hypotheses utilizing personality variables: H1a. Need for achievement is negatively related to absenteeism. H1b. Internal locus of control is negatively related to absenteeism. H1c. Self-efcacy is negatively related to absenteeism. Hypotheses utilizing satisfaction variables. Hypotheses H2aH2k are intrinsic satisfaction variables, and H2lH2t are extrinsic satisfaction variables. H2a. Ability utilization satisfaction is negatively related to absenteeism. H2b. Achievement satisfaction is negatively related to absenteeism. H2c. Activity satisfaction is negatively related to absenteeism. H2d. Authority satisfaction is negatively related to absenteeism. H2e. Creativity satisfaction is negatively related to absenteeism.

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H2f. Independence satisfaction is negatively related to absenteeism. H2g. Moral values satisfaction is negatively related to absenteeism. H2h. Responsibility satisfaction is negatively related to absenteeism. H2i. Social service satisfaction is negatively related to absenteeism. H2j. Social status satisfaction is negatively related to absenteeism. H2k. Variety satisfaction is negatively related to absenteeism. H2l. Advancement satisfaction is negatively related to absenteeism. H2m. Company policy satisfaction is negatively related to absenteeism. H2n. Compensation satisfaction is negatively related to absenteeism. H2o. Co-worker satisfaction is negatively related to absenteeism. H2p. Recognition satisfaction is negatively related to absenteeism. H2q. Security satisfaction is negatively related to absenteeism. H2r. Supervision-technical satisfaction is negatively related to absenteeism. H2s. Supervision-human relations satisfaction is negatively related to absenteeism. H2t. Working conditions satisfaction is negatively related to absenteeism. Hypotheses utilizing organizational commitment variables: H3a. Loyalty is negatively related to absenteeism. H3b. Job involvement is negatively related to absenteeism. H3c. Job identication is negatively related to absenteeism. 2. Methodology In the following discussion we identify the sample details and procedures, and describe the measures used in the study.

2.1. Sample and procedures The survey was lled out individually by employees at each organization. The employees gathered in small groups, at convenient times, and the lead researcher, or an assistant, explained the purpose of the project and the procedure for completing the survey. The lead researcher or an assistant remained to assist if anyone needed help. A small number of persons needed help because of literacy difculties, and the survey items were read to these persons. The researchers were careful to simply read the questions, and not to inuence responses. A notation was made on these surveys, so that they could be considered separately in the analysis. The number of persons requiring assistance was too small to inuence the overall results. The survey was relatively lengthy, and took between twenty minutes and ninety minutes to complete. Surveys were completed between mid-April and the end of May, 2004. The companies provided the lead researcher with a list of employees, and each employee was randomly assigned a number. Respondents were asked to provide this number on the completed surveys voluntarily. This allowed the researchers to link the survey data with absenteeism data. Respondents were assured of condentiality and that the surveys would be available only to the research team and not to the companies. Each company where the survey was completed provided absenteeism data for individual employees. Absences of less than a day were not considered in this research; absence includes both medically certied and noncertied absences. A total of three hundred and fty two (352) surveys were completed; of these, eighty eight (88) declined to provide their assigned numbers. Only those who provided their assigned number were included in the analysis relating to absenteeism a total of two hundred and sixty four (264). All three hundred and fty two respondents were included in the results not relating to absenteeism. Of the sample population 50.4% were male and 49.6% were female. The mean age for the sample population was 36.5 years with a minimum age of 17 and a maximum age of 63. 2.2. Measures The Dependent variable, absence frequency, was calculated by summing explained and unexplained absences, over the previous year, into an overall measure. The distinction between explained and unexplained is whether the employee had an approved

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B.J. Punnett et al. / Journal of World Business 42 (2007) 214227 Table 1 Measures of intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfaction Intrinsic job satisfaction facets Ability utilization The chance to do something that makes use of my abilities Achievement The feeling of accomplishment that I get from the job Activity Being able to keep busy Authority The chance to tell other people what to do Creativity The chance to try my own methods of doing the job Independence The chance to work alone on the job Moral values Being able to do things that dont go against my conscience Responsibility The freedom to use my own judgment Social service The chance to do things for other people Social status The chance to be somebody in the community Variety The chance to do different things from time to time Extrinsic job satisfaction facets Advancement The chances to advance on this job Company policies and procedures The way company policies are put into practice Compensation My pay and the amount of work I do Co-workers The way my co-workers get along with each other Recognition The praise I get for doing a good job Security The way my job provides steady employment Supervision (technical) The competence of my supervisor in making decisions Supervision (human relations) The way my boss handles his people Working conditions The physical environment where I work

excuse for being absent. After discussing the distinction with managers and employees, we concluded that the distinction was largely subjective, and decided to include all absences in the overall measure. We examined each component for normality assumptions, and based on the results, we aggregated the two measures. The mean number of explained absences was 6.2 days per year (s.d. = 8.1) and the mean number of unexplained absences was 4.7 (s.d. = 4.0), for a total absence of 11 days per year. A Pearson correlation coefcient between the two absenteeism items was 0.48, in line with Clark and Watsons recommendations (1995). Absence data was based on the year prior to collecting data on the independent variables based on earlier ndings that absence behavior is stable over time, and that previous absence is the best predictor of future absence (Rentsch & Steel, 1998). A survey instrument was compiled to measure the independent variables personality characteristics, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment. Job satisfaction was measured by the long-form Minnesota Job Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ). The long-form MSQ consists of 100 items measuring twenty (20) subscales. Each subscale or facet was measured by 5 items. The twenty facets of job satisfaction measured by the long form MSQ are summarized in Table 1. Each item was answered on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (very dissatised) to 5 (very satised). Intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfaction was computed separately by a mean score for all items of subscales theorized to measure that particular factor of job satisfaction (Table 1). Organizational commitment was measured by a 23 item revised version of Buchanans (1974) organizational commitment questionnaire. The questionnaire measured three facets of organizational commitment job involvement (6 items), job identication (6 items), and loyalty (11 items). Each item was answered on a 5point Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Buchanans (1974) organizational commitment questionnaire was revised because the original version used a 7 point Likert scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree, and it was felt that assigning the same 5 point Likert scale to all measures in the study would aid participants in completing the questionnaire in a timely and accurate manner. Some items were worded negatively and were reversed scored at the data entry stage. The mean for all (23-items) was computed to determine participants level of organizational commitment on a scale from 1 = low to 5 = high organizational commitment. Personality characteristics were measured using the following scales:

Self-efcacy was measured by a 17-item scale (Sherer et al., 1982). Each item was answered on a 5point Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Some items were worded negatively and were reversed scored at the data entry stage. The mean for all 17 items was computed to determine participants perceived self-efcacy ranging on a scale from 1 = low to 5 = high self-efcacy. Need for achievement was measured by a 22-item revised version of Jacksons (1989) personality research form. Each item was answered on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Jackson (1989) personality research form was revised because the original version used a response of either agree or disagree. It was felt that a 5-point Likert scale would allow for the measurement of relative intensity of responses to items and that consistency across scales would make the questionnaire simpler for respondents. Some items were worded negatively and were reversed scored at the data entry stage. The mean for all 22 items was computed to determine participants need for achievement ranging on a scale from 1 = low to 5 = high.

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Locus of control was measured by a 24 item revised version of Spectors (1988) locus of control scale. Each item was answered on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Spectors locus of control scale was revised because the original version used a 6 point Likert scale from disagree very much to agree very much, and it was felt that assigning the same 5-point Likert scale to all measures in the study would aid participants in completing the questionnaire in a timely and accurate manner. Some items were worded negatively and were reversed scored at the data entry stage. The mean for all 24 items was computed to determine participants internal locus of control on a scale from 1 = low to 5 = high. A low score indicates that the participant exhibits an external locus of control and a high score indicates that the participant exhibits a greater internal locus of control. A cultural prole, consisting of the dimensions (based on Hofstede, 1980) of individualism, uncertainty avoidance, and power distance, was also examined (Dorfman & Howell, 1988). The researchers believed that understanding the cultural prole of a developing country like Barbados would contribute to interpreting the ndings of the study. The cultural dimension masculinity/femininity was excluded from the study, as there has been concern that this dimension does not corroborate with most peoples understanding of masculinity and femininity (Adler, 2000), as well as because the masculinity/femininity dimension is best examined at the cultural, not the individual, level (Hwang, 2004). Note that the exclusion of one or more of the cultural dimensions of Hofstedes (1980) cultural model is relatively commonplace in cultural research, for example, studies conducted by Earley (1989), Gomez et al. (2000), Morris, Davis, and Allen (1994) only measured individualism/collectivism while studies conducted by Bochner and Hesketh (1994), Kanungo and Wright (1983) only measured power distance, and a study conducted by Birnbaum and Wong (1985) measured power distance and uncertainty avoidance only (Boyacigilller, Kleinberg, Phillips, & Sackman, 2004). The complete survey instrument was pre-tested rst with a small group of administrative employees at one company. Based on their responses, questions, and comments, the instrument was modied. These respondents strongly recommended that the responses for all items should be a consistent one to ve Likert scale, and based on this recommendation we revised some of the original scales. This was felt to be especially important because some respondents literacy could be relatively

low, and different response arrays could be confusing. Following the modications, the instrument was further pre-tested with a group of employees at one of the manufacturing companies. Based on the results of the second pre-test, the decision was made to continue with the instrument as it was, and arrangements were made to administer the survey throughout the ve manufacturing companies. 3. Results A factor analysis to establish the convergent and discriminant validity of the measures conrmed that the original constructs could be used, except in the case of Need for Achievement and Power Distance, where a more reliable estimate of the underlying latent variable was provided by a subset of questions. The Cronbachs alpha reliabilities of the various scales ranged from .62 (need for achievement) to .92 (recognition). Most of the reliabilities were above .70, the commonly accepted rule of thumb (Cortina, 1993). Although all reliabilities may be considered acceptable for cross-cultural research (Strauss, in press), the lower reliabilities for need for Achievement (.62), and Power Distance (.65), were improved following the results of the factor analysis for these variables. The principal components analysis for Need for Achievement showed more than one factor, so we kept only the 7 variables which loaded on the primary factor, resulting in a reliability estimate of .70. The analysis of Power Distance resulted in a 5 item solution, with a reliability estimate of .66. Although this is lower than the .70 cutoff, we decided to report the results; however the somewhat low reliability for PD must be recognized as a limitation, and these scores should be interpreted with caution. Table 2.1 shows reliabilities for each of the scales. Results were compared across the companies we tested the heterogeneity between companies and did not nd enough variance to justify examining the companies separately (Kozlowski & Klein, 2000). Results were therefore combined and are reported for the ve companies together, as one dataset. Signicance levels of .05 are used as a cutoff; however where results are signicant at the .01 level this is reported in the results. Due to the fact that there are not any negative values in absence measures and because there is a high frequency of low values, the distribution is truncated, and an Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) estimator may be both biased and inefcient (Hammer & Holland, 1981). The Tobit estimator (Tobin, 1958) was designed to handle criterion variables that assume some value with a

220 Table 2.1 Descriptive statistics and correlations Variable ABSEN SE LC NA OC AU ACH ACT AD LOY CPP Mean 12.89 4.23 3.58 3.48 3.16 3.61 3.73 3.78 2.97 3.05 2.97 s.d. 15.05 .646 .463 .538 .481 .745 .646 .847 .849 .397 .820

B.J. Punnett et al. / Journal of World Business 42 (2007) 214227

ABSEN .05 .08 .14 * .12 * .18 ** .19 ** .18 ** .13 * .14 * .07

SE (.80) .21 ** .22 ** .02 .02 .13 * .07 .13 * .08 .06

LC

NA

OC

AU

ACH

ACT

AD

LOY

(.74) .35 ** .25 ** .21 ** .30 ** .22 ** .20 ** .24 ** .19 **

(.70) .19 ** .21 ** .29 ** .18 ** .13 * .20 ** .03

(.84) .46** .46** .25** .55** .88** .50**

(.86) .68** .35** .56** .40** .40**

(.79) .39 ** .51 ** .42 ** .38 **

(.79) .26 ** .22 ** .26 **

(.89) .48 ** .62 **

(.79) .45**

Note: N = 264, *p < .05, **p < .01, Cronbach Alpha reported in parenthesis. ABSEN, absenteeism; SE, self-efcacy; LC, locus of Control; NA, need for achievement; OC, organizational commitment; AU, ability utilization ACH, achievement; ACT, activity; AD, advancement; LOY, loyalty; CPP, company policies and practices; COM, compensation; COW, co-workers; CRE, creativity; IND, independence; MV, moral values; RES, responsibility; REC, recognition; Sec, security; SOS, social serve; SST, social status; S-HR, supervision (human relations); S-TEC, supervision (technical); VAR, variety; WC, working conditions; INTRS, intrinsic job satisfaction; EXTRS, extrinsic job satisfaction; JIN, job involvement; JID, job identication; AUT, authority.

high probability (zero in the case of absence) and are continuously distributed beyond this point with the remaining probabilities (Baba, 1990, p. 428). The Tobit analysis may be considered more consistent, reliable, and less biased because it does not encounter heteroskedasticity (Leigh, 1985). At the same time, Rasmussen and Dunlop (1991) showed that parametric
Table 2.2 Descriptive statistics and correlations Variable COM COW CRE IND MV RES REC SEC SOS SST S-HR S-TEC VAR WC INTRS EXTRS JIN JID AUT Mean 3.10 3.31 3.49 3.60 3.76 3.06 3.51 3.55 3.80 3.30 3.08 3.24 3.54 2.98 3.59 3.09 3.41 3.12 3.41 s.d. .854 .822 .676 .624 .532 .962 .602 .661 .596 .575 .842 .749 .660 .885 .488 .661 .717 .658 .560 a .86 .85 .81 .81 .72 .76 .92 .79 .77 .77 .83 .87 .79 .90 .87 .81 .79 .83 .86 ABSEN .06 .29 ** .18 ** .15 * .14 * .20 ** .21 ** .14 * .13 * .19 ** .10 .12 * .18 ** .18 ** .17 ** .19 ** .09 .08 .15 * SE .05 .02 .03 .20** .22** .11 .04 .06 .10 .04 .14* .01 .08 .10 .11 .10 .02 .06 .05 LC .16 ** .08 .22 ** .17 ** .30 ** .14* .22 ** .28 ** .29 ** .17 ** .11 .18 ** .27 ** .12* .31 ** .19 ** .25 ** .15 ** .19 ** NA .02 .02 .18 ** .27 ** .31 ** .06 .23 ** .21 ** .29 ** .09 .04 .16 ** .26 ** .07 .31 ** .9 .19 ** .17 ** .29 **

analysis of transformed data had superior statistical power to nonparametric analysis or parametric analysis of the raw skewed data (Hardy, Woods, & Wall, 2003). We decided to use the Tobit analysis in addition to the analysis reported below, to conrm the ndings. The results were essentially the same, therefore we report only the OLS for simplicity.

OC .44 ** .25 ** .529** .248** .351** .46 ** .49 ** .57 ** .49 ** .53 ** .50 ** .52 ** .50 ** .49 ** .58 ** .60 ** .91 ** .82 ** .42 **

AU .29 ** .71 ** .51 ** .55 ** .50 ** .66 ** .55 ** .71 ** .62 ** .46 ** .58 ** .58 ** .70 ** .41 ** .84 ** .58 ** .41 ** .39 ** .62 **

ACH .36 ** .32 ** .66 ** .48 ** .60 ** .57 ** .72 ** .55 ** .69 ** .55 ** .50 ** .59 ** .64 ** .38 ** .82 ** .52 ** .40 ** .39 ** .50 **

ACT .13* .11 .30 ** .31 ** .34 ** .24 ** .36 ** .35 ** .47 ** .21 ** .31 ** .35 ** .31 ** .16 ** .54 ** .29 ** .18 ** .25 ** .33 **

AD .60** .32** .62** .29** .29** .703** .54** .57** .50** .60** .59** .71** .58** .62** .63** .834** .50** .46** .45**

LOY .33 ** .19 ** .47 ** .19 ** .30 ** .40 ** .44 ** .50 ** .41 ** .41 ** .43 ** .47 ** .41 ** .45 ** .50 ** 51 ** .74 ** .56 ** .34 **

CPP .47** .38** .54** .29** .26** .61** .53** .57** .40** .48** .69** .70** .52** .62** .55** .81** .46** .41** .28**

Note: N = 264, *p < .05, **p < .01, a, Cronbach Alpha. ABSEN, absenteeism; SE, Self-efcacy; LC, locus of control; NA, need for achievement; OC, organizational commitment; AU, ability utilization; ACH, achievement; ACT, activity; AD, advancement; LOY, loyalty; CPP, company policies and practices; COM, compensation; COW, co-workers; CRE, creativity; IND, independence; MV, moral values; RES, responsibility; REC, recognition; Sec, security; SOS, social serve; SST, social status; S-HR, supervision (human relations); S-TEC, supervision (technical); VAR, variety; WC, working conditions; INTRS, intrinsic job satisfaction; EXTRS, extrinsic job satisfaction; JIN, job involvement; JID, job identication; AUT, authority.

B.J. Punnett et al. / Journal of World Business 42 (2007) 214227 Table 2.3 Descriptive statistics and correlations Variable COM COW CRE IND COM COW CRE IND MV RES REC SEC SOS SST S-HR S-TEC VAR WC INTRS EXTRS JIN JID AUT .32 ** .35 ** .19 ** .17 ** .52 ** .35 ** .54 ** .36 ** .47 ** .43 ** .46 ** .40 ** .48 ** .44 ** .69 ** .45 ** .37 ** .28 ** MV RES REC SEC SOS SST S-HR S-TEC VAR WC INTRS EXTRS JIN

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JID

.31 ** .25 ** .24 ** .43 ** .46 ** .38 ** .35 ** .40 ** .46 ** .45 ** .34 ** .36 ** .41 ** .59 ** .25 ** .23 ** .34 **

.52** .58** .57** .77** .52** .61** .59** .56** .65** .76** .50** .83** .66** .47** .44** .58**

.59 ** .33 ** .56 ** .33 ** .49 ** .42 ** .30 ** .42 ** .57 ** .29 ** .68 ** .38 ** .26 ** .19 ** .47 **

.32** .54** .43** .58** .45** .31** .43** .59** .26** .73** .36** .35** .26** .45**

.56 ** .55 ** .49 ** .54 ** .69 ** .68 ** .51 ** .54 ** .61 ** .84 ** .40 ** .42 ** .40 **

.55 ** .61 ** .59 ** .57 ** .65 ** .69 ** .49 ** .84 ** .66 ** .43 ** .42 ** .62 **

.58** .53** .54** .61** .51** .51** .70** .69** .51** .49** .49**

.55 ** .44 ** .55 ** .62 ** .38 ** .82 ** .56 ** .46 ** .42 ** .59 **

.49 ** .55 ** .57 ** .43 ** .72 ** .64 ** .52 ** .46 ** .55 **

.81** .51** .56** .59** .84** .44** .44** .40**

.63** .53** .71** .85** .47** .42** .48**

.51 ** .83 ** .64 ** .46 ** .44 ** .58 **

.51 ** .76 ** .44 ** .41 ** .33 **

.71** .53** .49** .74**

.55 ** .51 ** .48 **

.64** .38** .36 **

Note: N = 264, * p < .05, ** p < .01. ABSEN, absenteeism; SE, self-efcacy; LC, locus of control; NA, need for achievement; OC, organizational commitment; AU, ability utilization; ACH, achievement; ACT, activity; AD, advancement; LOY, loyalty; CPP, company policies and practices; COM, compensation; COW, co-workers; CRE, creativity; IND, independence; MV, moral values; RES, responsibility; REC, recognition; Sec, security; SOS, social serve; SST, social status; S-HR, supervision (human relations); S-TEC, supervision (technical); VAR, variety; WC, working conditions; INTRS, intrinsic job satisfaction; EXTRS, extrinsic job satisfaction; JIN, job involvement; JID, job identication; AUT, authority.

Descriptive statistics and zero-order correlations for variables measured in this study are presented in Tables 2.12.3. There were:  signicant negative relationships between absenteeism and need for achievement (r = .124, p < .05), overall organizational commitment (r = .123, p < .05), overall extrinsic job satisfaction (r = .191, p < .01), and overall intrinsic job satisfaction (r = .175, p < .01).  The following facets of extrinsic satisfaction were signicantly negatively associated with absenteeism (reported in order of size of r) co-workers (r = .294, p < .01), recognition (r = .202, p < .01), working conditions (r = .180, p < .01), security (r = 143, p < .05), advancement (r = .139, p < .05), and technical supervision (r = .126, p < .05). The following facets of intrinsic job satisfaction were signicant (reported in order of size of r) responsibility (r = .211, p < .01), achievement (r = .196, p < .01), social status (r = .190, p < .01), activity (r = .189, p < . 01), creativity (r = .188, p < .01), variety (r = .183, p < .01) ability utilization (r = .181, p < .01), authority (r = .157, p < .05), independence (r = .157, p < .05), moral values (r = .147, p < .05), and social service (r = .134, p < .05).

Multiple regression analyses were computed to test the effect of variables on absenteeism. The collinearity diagnostics were examined by bivariate correlations (reported in Tables 2.12.3), and variance ination factors VIFs (reported in Table 3). Results of the collinearity diagnostics indicated that there were no multicollinearities between variables in the regression models, as bivariate correlations between variables in the regression models were not above .8 and VIFs were below 10 (see Howell, 1999). The results of the multiple regression analysis testing for the effect of locus of control, self-efcacy, need for achievement, facets of organizational commitment, and facets of job satisfaction are reported in Table 3. The overall regression equation for the model is statistically signicant (F = 3.689, p < .01), and explains 22.2% of the variance in absenteeism. Additionally, the adjusted R2 = .131, which is substantially smaller than the 22% previously mentioned due to the large number of IVs in relation to the number of subjects (Cohen, Cohen, West, & Aiken, 2003). The following factors were shown to have contributed signicantly and negatively to the prediction of absenteeism organizational commitment facet loyalty (b = .167, p < .05); intrinsic job satisfaction facets activity (b = .193, p < .01) and responsibility (b = .141, p < .05), and extrinsic job satisfaction facets co-workers (b = .290, p < .01)

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Table 3 The effect of locus of control, need for achievement, self-efcacy, ogranzational commitment facets, intrinsic sactisfaction facets, and extrinsic sastisfaction facets on absenteeism Variables Coefcients b Personality characteristics Locus of control Need for achievement Self-efcacy Organizational commitment facets Loyalty Job identication Job involvement Intrinsic job satisfaction facets Ability utilization Achievement Activity Authority Creativity Independence Moral values Responsibility Social service Social status Variety Extrinsic job satisfaction facets Advancement Company policies and procedures Compensation Co-workers Recognition Security Supervision human relations Supervision technical Working conditions 1.772 2.490 .300 6.622 .475 2.402 2.118 1.987 3.421 .297 .320 .989 .402 3.252 1.203 1.652 .126 .223 1.324 1.070 5.307 2.590 4.904 1.760 .621 2.110 R Squared = .222 Adjusted R Squared = .131 F = 3.689, p < .001 Beta .055 .089 .010 .167 .021 .114 .105 .085 .193 .011 .014 .041 .014 .141 .048 .063 .006 .013 .072 .061 .290 .166 .215 .098 .031 .124 t .814 1.131 .124 2.419 .254 1.104 .987 .774 2.739 .128 .121 .500 .158 1.995 .471 .681 .051 .112 .723 .729 3.948 1.643 2.338 .849 .241 1.446 p .418 .259 .902 .019* .800 .271 .325 .440 .007** .898 .904 .618 .870 .045* .638 .496 .950 .910 .470 .467 .000** .102 .020* .397 .810 .149 VIF 1.563 1.928 1.317 2.675 2.143 3.238 3.385 3.513 1.478 2.238 4.196 1.987 2.474 4.368 3.169 2.547 3.231 3.675 2.781 2.614 1.715 3.118 2.521 4.116 4.219 2.332

* **

p < .05. p < .01.

and security (b = .215, p < .05); i.e., as organizational loyalty, satisfaction with co-workers, activity, responsibility, and security decreases, absenteeism increases. These results provided partial support for Hypothesis 1 (need for achievement was signicantly related to levels of absenteeism), moderate support for Hypotheses 2 (several facets of intrinsic and extrinsic satisfaction were signicantly related to levels of absenteeism) and partial support for Hypothesis 3 (organizational loyalty was signicantly related to levels of absenteeism). 4. Discussion In the Barbados context, it was surprising to managers that satisfaction with supervision was not

one of the especially important variables in relationship to absenteeism. Managers believe that an employees attitude towards their supervisor should be central to attendance or absence if an employee is dissatised with supervision, he or she should stay away from work. There are a number of possible explanations for not nding such a relationship. Most simply, it may be that supervision is not a big aspect of employees level of satisfaction. Alternatively, it may be that employees are reluctant to express dissatisfaction with their supervisors, even where their responses are condential, it may be seen as too risky. Satisfaction with supervision may also show up in other facets of the model. For example, satisfaction with co-workers may well be inuenced by supervisory style. It may be that those

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who are more satised with co-worker relationships are those who also get on well with their supervisors, and are in the in group that is favored by the supervisor, while those who are less satised may be part of the out group. Satisfaction with ability utilization, achievement, and so on, are an intrinsic part of a given job, but these can also be a function of supervisory style, and satisfaction with these facets of the job can indirectly reect satisfaction with supervision. 4.1. Scores on personal and cultural characteristics Average scores on all the personal and cultural characteristics are of interest in providing a prole of the Barbados workforce, at least in these manufacturing companies. Scores on the personal and cultural characteristics can range from 1 = low to 5 = high. A score of two or less is considered low, a score from two to three is moderate, and a score above three is high. Mean scores were as follows: The scores on the personal characteristics were: self efcacy 4 (relatively high), need for achievement 3.5 (moderate), locus of control 3.6 (moderate not predominantly internal or external). These scores indicate that, on average, employees are condent of their ability (self efcacy), and that they attribute causes for performance both to their own ability and outside forces (locus of control), and that their need for achievement is neither high nor low. This prole suggests that employees will respond well to delegation (self efcacy and locus of control) but that, on average, they will not seek high levels of achievement. There will, of course, be individuals who differ from these scores, and individual employees may be high or low on any of these personal variables. The scores on the cultural characteristics were: individualism 3.2 (moderate), uncertainty avoidance 4.2 (relatively high), power distance 2.6 (relatively low). The scores indicate, on average, neither strong individualism nor collectivism, a relatively strong preference for certainty, and a preference for equality and power sharing rather than hierarchy (remember the somewhat low reliability for power distance). The scores on the cultural dimensions are identical to scores obtained in other research projects in the Caribbean, with quite different populations. The similarity of the scores for different populations and countries provides support for putting this forward as a good description of the cultural value prole for the English-speaking Caribbean. This cultural value prole suggests that employees will react well to both individual and team activities, that they will be most comfortable where

there is security and certainty, and that they will be motivated when power is shared and hierarchy differences are minimized. The preference for certainty may be part of the explanation for the importance of job security to these current respondents. Similarly, the low score on power distance may be related to the importance of authority for these respondents. The importance of co-workers may be explained by the moderate level of individualism as well as the low power distance. This prole suggests that the group (co-workers) is important and that shared power is desired such a cultural prole could mean that relationships with co-workers are especially important, and that satisfaction with coworker relationships plays a critical role in absenteeism. From a practical perspective, the results of this study lead to the question what can be done to inuence absenteeism rates? There is substantial evidence from research in North America that improving job satisfaction levels can have a direct and signicant impact on absenteeism levels. The current research results suggest that in the Barbados context job satisfaction is also linked to absenteeism. To the extent that job satisfaction can be improved, absenteeism should decline. In addition, previous research has shown that job satisfaction results in employees who care more about the quality of their work, are more productive, more committed to the organization, and more likely to remain with the company. It seems that increasing job satisfaction can potentially provide nancial benets for a company. One guide to performance management (Singer, 2005) says, Managements role is to provide the conditions to ensure optimal performance. A focus on improving the workplace to ensure employee satisfaction is a critical aspect of providing the conditions for optimal performance. A focus of much of the discussion of absenteeism in Barbados has been on developing policies to deal with the symptom absenteeism. For example, it has been suggested that methods must be devised to ensure that doctors do not issue unjustied sickness certicates, to ensure that workers do not report that they are sick when they are not really ill, and to provide deterrents to absenteeism, such as punishments for employees who are absent frequently (one employer reported a monetary reward system for employees with good attendance record, but, in essence, this also punishes those with high absenteeism rates). None of these approaches deals with the question of why employees choose to be absent rather than to attend work. Unless the reasons for absenteeism are understood, and steps taken to change the factors leading to absenteeism, we

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are dealing only with the symptom, rather than the problem. Dealing with absenteeism through these methods can actually worsen the problem and create others in the long run. As an example, if employees who have been absent more than the allowed number of times are punished, the results may be negative rather than positive. Employees may come to work because of the policy, but they may feel that they have been treated unfairly, and this makes them unhappy about their job and the company. In turn, their productivity and quality may suffer, they may experience substantial stress because of this, and may actually become sick, and have to be absent, as well as affecting the work of co-workers. The end result thus can be negative. Finally, our results suggest that managers should focus on specic facets of both intrinsic and extrinsic satisfaction in order to reduce absenteeism. For instance, satisfaction with both activity and responsibility (intrinsic variables) were signicantly related to absenteeism. Therefore, a manager should allow more exibility on how the employee allocates his or her time on the job. The increased exibility will increase the perceived responsibility while at the same time permit the employee to allocate his or her time in an optimal manner to keep busy. Furthermore, our results show a signicant relationship between absenteeism and coworker and security satisfaction (extrinsic variables). When employees are concerned about their job security, a competitive environment emerges among the coworkers, resulting in a negative satisfaction with coworkers. A manager could moderate the relationships between co-worker and security satisfaction with absenteeism by providing greater job security. As noted in the introduction, Barbados is classied as a developing country, thus to some extent, this research can be seen as extending the research on absenteeism to developing countries. The results of this project suggest that the job satisfaction/absenteeism relationship holds in a developing country. This may have wider implications for developing countries more generally. At the same time, Barbados is a classied as an upper middle income country, and it can be argued that it may be quite similar to more developed countries, because of inuence from these countries, as well as a relatively robust economy. We should be cautious in interpreting these results in the broad context of the developing countries. 5. Limitations and future research This project tried to include the main variables that we thought might directly inuence absenteeism levels

in Barbados, and, as such, the survey instrument was quite long, and took a substantial amount of time to complete. Nevertheless, there were a variety of other variables and relationships that could have been examined. For example, organizational justice and perceptions of equity may inuence absences (Geurts, Buunx, & Schaufeli, 1994; Geurts, Schaufeli, & Rutte, 1999), individuals integrity may inuence absences, and environmental factors such as the availability of transportation may also inuence absences. All of these provide avenues for further investigation. Additionally, an insightful reviewer posited the mediating role of job satisfaction on the organizational commitment-absence relationship. We tested this relationship using Baron and Kennys (1986) protocol and found partial support for general satisfaction, and full support for both extrinsic and intrinsic satisfaction. Sobels (1987) test for indirect effects also supported these ndings. Further research should be conducted on the specic satisfaction facets in order to provide more detail of the mediation. Surveys, by their nature, are limited in terms of the variables that are addressed. It is always possible that the most important variable is not measured in the survey. Variables unique to the Barbados, or Caribbean, context could be uncovered using other research techniques, such as interviews, focus groups, and indepth case studies. All of these can provide valuable additional information on the causes of absenteeism. In turn, these would contribute to the effective design and implementation of interventions to decrease absenteeism. A major potential limitation of the study was that it could not be anonymous. Condentiality could be assured, but in order to link the variables measured with actual absenteeism statistics, it was necessary for the researchers to have individual information. The participants did not seem to have undue concern in this regard, but we cannot be sure that this did not bias responses. Past absenteeism has been demonstrated to be the best predictor of future absenteeism, and this suggests that the results from this study should hold true if we looked at job attitudes relative to absenteeism in a period of time following the survey. Nevertheless, the approach here of relating attitudes to past absenteeism is a weakness. An alternative approach would be to measure attitudes, then measure absenteeism, and look at the predictive value of a proposed model. Unfortunately, this approach introduces its own problems, as measuring attitudes may inuence future absenteeism, especially in an environment where attitudinal mea-

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surement is rare, as is the case in Barbados. The researchers, nevertheless, intend to continue the research in this direction, as well as others. The researchers also intend to rigorously examine the effectiveness of various interventions. It is interesting to note that the literature does not clearly identify interventions that have had a major impact on absenteeism. This is a major area for future research in all contexts. The current project is seen as the beginning of a series of projects which can provide both theoretical and practical knowledge and information for Barbados, and perhaps the Caribbean region, in its links to a global business environment. The current project examined one specic aspect of the workplace, and considered well established relationships identied in North America, from a Caribbean perspective. The results of this project serve to support the local links of a theory with global roots. There are many other workplace phenomena that could be examined in a similar way. It is particularly important to extend management theory from the developed world to the developing world to establish a truly global understanding of management. This project examines a specic theory that has been well researched in the developed world in a developing country context. References
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