The Employees absenteeism

The Employees absenteeism has been studied extensively during the last decades, it is considered as a costly problem- phenomenon to the most of the organization across the world. There are huge number of writers and authors who investigate and designed researches about this organizational problem, so many factors have been discovered which is correlated to the absenteeism problem, which affect it positively or negatively which made it possible for the organization management how to deal with it and how to reduce its negative influence on the work and the productivity…etc.

There are many definition to the absenteeism, but here we will define it as the non- attending while it is arranged that the employee is to come to the work, in other words, it is the employee unplanned non- attendance to the work, it includes the sick leave and other aspects of that non attendance, which affect the normal work negatively and make it more costly to the management or the employers.

I’m working in the Human Resources Department (HRD) at BirZeit University (BZU), my Director asked me to design and conduct a scientific research about the absenteeism among the administrative employees in the university (non Faculty), she has observed a general look on the records and felt that there is a probability for a problem such as the absenteeism in the university, so she was interesting in investigating the situation, and to know the factors that affect it if it is really occurs, in order to understand the situation, as a Director of HRD, and to make the proper recommendation to the top level management and the University council, to put the suitable plan to solve it and to reduce the negative effects of the absenteeism.

Birzeit University’s history goes back to 1924 when it was established as a small private school in Birzeit, Palestine. It is located about 7 kilometers north of Ramallah in the West Bank and about 21 kilometers north of Jerusalem. While Birzeit University’s first commencement ceremony in 1976 graduated 68 students, over one thousand students were awarded their undergraduate and graduate degrees during the 29th commencement ceremony held in 2004.

Today, the University is staffed by approximately 700 faculty and staff members with a student body of over 6,600 students (52% women, near 1000 students are graduate while the remaining are undergraduate) from all regions of the West Bank and Gaza. Committed to firm principles of academic freedom, the University aims to prepare the Palestinian young generation to become responsible leaders and citizens. As it encourages its students along the path of academic excellence, it emphasizes the need for social awareness and national commitment.

The university has relatively recent human resources department (HRD), which was established at 2002, and it grows up with its functions, such as Staffing, Training and Developing, health insurance, Compensations and other daily issues that related to the employees affairs. Before that date the department was a traditional department which concentrated its role in the employee’s affairs only.

Preliminary Data Collection: Informal Interviews: After the discussion with my director, I had prepared myself to design the research, and as a first step in the data collection, I took the notes that the director has observed it, and I began to review the HRD records that related to the employees daily- attendances, and parallel to that I reviewed many publications and brochures about the university in historical trend, and I had checked the university Website.

I made many interviews with a lot of employees who came to our department, and whom I visit them at their offices, all of this were informal and the content of it depend on the nature of the questions that I had asked, and depended on level of that employee in the work, so the interviewed were mixed of low, middle and high level positions. I have asked them about many aspects that I felt may be affect absenteeism, and many times I was listening to their notes, opinions and understandings in the related concept, such as: nature of the work, stress, gender issues, the communication channels, job satisfaction, the decision making, the expertise, age, the residential location, personal factors, and etc…

Some issues and factors had been revealed for me from those interviews, which is considered by the employees to be related to the absenteeism, despite some of these factors were not obvious enough, such as: salary, appreciation, transportation, sick, family needs, age…etc, but this gave me signs and indicators about the concept to continue the study more deeply. Literature Review: Directly after I had finished the informal interviews, I took all the notes, and decided to know more and more about the absenteeism, the nature of it, the factors that is correlated to it, in order to take all the information about it which is important to the study, so I began in reviewing the literature about the absenteeism, I had found hundreds of scientific articles and papers about it, and so many basic and applied research have been designed to investigate it across the world.

According to Rosenblat & Shirom (2005), there are no differences between males and females in the absenteeism frequencies in the equal situation, but if the labor division and the society has inequality between men and women, then the females will be more absent in the work than the male who is discriminated positively more than the female. Therefore, for who are married, and during the inequality in labor and the society, the absenteeism will be more also for female than males. Most of the studies, that were designed to investigate the absenteeism, has assured a negative relationship between age and the absenteeism (Globerson & Ben- Yshai, 2002), this means that the older employee become more commitment to the organization than the younger, so the absenteeism frequency will be larger for the younger employee.

According to Savery, Travaglione and Firns (1998), the job satisfaction is an important factor that affects the absenteeism in a negative relationship, because the satisfaction is a reaction or a reflected image of many issues in the work and its nature, such as job environment, the degree of the intersection between the personal and the organizational goals, benefits, training and development opportunities, internal communications, the trust in the supervision, and etc…which affect the absenteeism level for the employees.

“One way of implementing suggested strategies is to emphasis team work, leading to enhanced job satisfaction, improved commitment and ultimately reduced absenteeism and greater productivity (Gottlieb & Conkling, 1995; Mohanty and Yadav, 1994)”, this show for us the importance of the job satisfaction and how affect the absenteeism which is related and correlated to the productivity also.

According to Dierendonck, Blanc & Breukeln (2002), there is a relationship between the supervisory style and the leadership behavior with the subordinate absenteeism, so the unsuccessful leadership would lead to more absenteeism by the subordinates, while if the relation between the supervisor and the employee is governed by the reciprocity, then the absenteeism will be reduced, and a healthy relation will be built to provide easy work environment.

This is a very short summary to the literature review that I had found, in more than 15 scientific articles, but here we want to concentrate on the main factors that affect the absenteeism in our study, in other words, we can say, depending on the above literature review and the preliminary data collection, that the main independent variables in the research is (job satisfaction, age, gender and the social status), while the dependent variable, which is the basic variable in the study, is the absenteeism.

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