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Minor illness as a legitimate reason for absence

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Joan Harvey



This study proposes that the perceived legitimacy of minor illness as a reason for absence varies according to the nature of the illness, sex, job grade/socio-economic status and age. A measure of perceived legitimacy was constructed which incorporated illnesses commonly given as reasons for short-term absence. Thirteen hundred civil servants provided data on an employee survey. Absence frequency data were collected for 115 of these respondents over a 55-month period. General support was found for four of the five study hypotheses. Contrary to one hypothesis, it was found that men legitimize minor illnesses as reasons for absence more than women. Clusters of minor illnesses were identified using a factor analysis. The implications for management responses to absence and for further research into the perception of minor illness are considered. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Harvey J, Nicholson N

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Organizational Behavior

Year: 1999

Volume: 20

Issue: 6

Pages: 979-993

Print publication date: 01/11/1999

Date deposited: 21/01/2010

ISSN (print): 08943796

ISSN (electronic):

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell