Job Satisfaction and Absenteeism


Job satisfaction and absenteeism are two related issues. Job satisfaction affects the rate of absenteeism from the job. Presence of rampant absenteeism is an indication of low satisfaction with one’s job. However, the study found that there are many factors that determine absenteeism, apart from job satisfaction. But most of these other factors were themselves determinants of job satisfaction, meaning that absenteeism is a result of job satisfaction. Also, absenteeism is not the only indicator of presence or lack of job satisfaction. There are other indicators, like motivation and productivity. The researcher conducted a research on 200 employees from two communications companies. Every organization produced 100 respondents. 100 of the respondents were prone to absenteeism while the other 100, the control group, attended job normally. The research concluded that absenteeism was largely present in those workers with low job satisfaction.


Chapter Summary

This chapter is going to introduce the reader to what the researcher intends to do in this study. In other words, it can be viewed as an orientation chapter. In this section, the researcher is going to give the reader a brief background of the problem that is going to be researched on. Then an introduction that touches on exactly what the research is all about will be given. The thesis statement that will guide the researcher will also be provided in this section. This will be followed by a list of definition of the terms and terminologies that are going to be applied in the research. The researcher will also furnish the reader with the objectives of the research, both the broad and specific objectives. It is also under this section that the writer will introduce the


Job Satisfaction and Absenteeism

research questions that the study will be attempt to address.

1.1: Background

Job satisfaction has been defined as the degree to which a person is contented with his job. It is assumed that for job satisfaction to be present, an individual has to be happy at his work place. As such, it can be said that happiness is one of the determinants of job satisfaction. However, caution should be taken to differentiate between job satisfaction and motivation. The two are different aspects of the job. However, they are interrelated. Motivation is an indicator of the level to which the employee is satisfied with the job.

There are several determinants of job satisfaction. They include, among others, the relationship between an employee and the other employees, or the relationship between the employee and the supervisor or administration. When this relationship is enhanced and satisfying, job satisfaction follows. Compensation is also another determinant of job satisfaction. When the employee believes that he is sufficiently compensated, he will be happy at the job and hence be satisfied. The opposite is also true; if an employee feels that he is not been sufficiently compensated, then he will not be satisfied at the job. The conditions under which the person is working will also determine the level of his job satisfaction. If the conditions are conducive, the employee will be satisfied. However, if the conditions are not conducive, for example in the case of hazardous working conditions, the employee will not be satisfied.

It is paramount to note that a presence of one of the conditions mentioned above will not necessarily mean that the employee is satisfied. There has to be a favorable mix of the conditions, meaning that the conditions come together to determine the level of satisfaction. For example, even if the employee is compensated well, and the relationship between and his supervisor is wanting, job satisfaction will be lacking.


Job Satisfaction and Absenteeism

There are also indicators of job satisfaction. What this means is that a certain criteria can be used to determine the presence or lack of job satisfaction. One of these indicators is motivation. A worker who is motivated is likely to be satisfied with his job. Another indication is the attitude that the worker holds as far as the job is concerned. A positive and constructive attitude is an indicator of a satisfied worker. The rate of workers’ turnover is also another indicator. If the company experiences an extra ordinarily high level of employee turnover, then it is most likely that the workers in that company are not satisfied.

But perhaps the most important of these indicators is job absenteeism. Frequency and duration of absenteeism from the work place is one of the clearest indicators of job satisfaction. Absenteeism can be conceptualized as a habitual pattern of truancy from a task. Absenteeism may involve a worker failing to turn up for work completely or attending job but spending a lot of time away from the work station.

A worker who exhibits an exceptionally high frequency of absenteeism from work is likely to be a dis-satisfied worker. The worker will be taking every opportunity to make sure that he is away from work.

1.2: Introduction

The fact that job satisfaction and absenteeism are related is beyond doubt. Absenteeism is an indicator of job satisfaction, whereby a higher rates of absenteeism which is unaccounted for indicates low job satisfaction. On the other hand, a case where the worker exhibits low incidences of absenteeism, staying away from work only when absolutely necessary, indicates that the worker is highly satisfied.

There are cases where the worker exhibits a higher frequency of absenteeism but where he is highly satisfied with the job. This is for example when he falls sick or other unavoidable


Job Satisfaction and Absenteeism

circumstances keep him away from duty. Likewise, there are cases where the worker is rarely absent from work but he is not satisfied with the job. A case in point is when there are very strict regulations concerning absenteeism in the workplace. In this case, the worker is attending work but not out of his own volition. This scenario means that absenteeism cannot be taken as the sole indicator of job satisfaction or lack of it there of. Caution must be taken to delve beneath the absenteeism itself and find out the reason why the worker is absent from the job. Also, caution should be taken to ensure that workers who are present at job at any given moment are not there because they are satisfied. As such, there is a need to go beyond the actual absence from duty and find out the intention of the worker to skip duty.

This research is going to look at the relationship between job satisfaction and absenteeism. The researcher set forth to research on the assumption that absenteeism is an indicator of job satisfaction or lack of it. The study was conducted on office workers of middle level in an urban communications company. The reason why this environment was picked is because the researcher felt that the demanding nature of the communications industry will be a suitable ground for such a study. The researcher will analyze the results of the research to determine whether it is true that job satisfaction can be measured by the rate of absenteeism. The researcher is open minded, meaning the he is aware of the fact the results that he gets can either refute or support his assumptions.

1.3: Definition of Terms

Bradford Factor

It is also referred to as Bradford Formula. It is a scale used to gauge staff absenteeism and is mainly utilized by human resource departments.

Enterprise Feedback Management System


Job Satisfaction and Absenteeism

It is a combination of processes and software utilized by companies to organize the conduction of surveys. It does this while at the same time distributing authoring and analysis everywhere within the organization.

1.3: Objectives of the Research

Throughout the research, the writer will be guided by one major objective. This is determining the relationship between job satisfaction and absenteeism. To achieve this, the researcher will be guided by several specific objectives. By addressing these specific objectives, the researcher will be in effect addressing the major objective as a whole. These specific objectives are as listed below:

1. measures of job satisfaction

2. theories addressing job satisfaction

3. causes of absenteeism

4. job satisfaction and absenteeism

5. improving job satisfaction

6. controlling and avoiding absenteeism in the work place


Job Satisfaction and Absenteeism

1.4: Research Questions

In order to carry out the research, the writer will have to answer some basic questions. The success to which the research addresses these questions will also determine the degree of success of the research. The questions are as follows:

1. What is the relationship between job satisfaction and absenteeism?

2. In which ways does job satisfaction affect absenteeism?

3. Can absenteeism be reduced by improving job satisfaction?

1.5: Thesis Statement

This statement is what the researcher will be addressing throughout the research process. The research will revolve around supporting or refuting the statement. The statement is as follows:

Job satisfaction affects the rate of employee’s absenteeism. Absenteeism is an indicator of lack of job satisfaction.


2.0: Chapter Summary


Job Satisfaction and Absenteeism

In this section, the writer is going to review the information that is available on the topic under investigation. The writer will consult the body of knowledge that has been accumulated through past researches and studies. By consulting this knowledge base, the writer will be able to identify the lacuna that exists in the field. This is the lacuna that the writer will seek to try and fill by this research. Review of relevant literature ensures that the researcher does not duplicate studies that have already been conducted. This is because every research must add value to the existing knowledge in the field. A research that merely duplicates what has already been addressed by other researchers does not add anything new to the field. As such, its value is neutralized even before it commences.

2.1: Measuring Job Satisfaction

Several methods exists that aim at gauging the satisfaction that workers derive from their job. These are the methods that are used to collect data on this phenomenon. One of the methods is the Likert Scale (Jones, 2009). This scale measures the satisfaction of the workers by placing views collected on a scale of one to ten. A greater score means that the worker is highly satisfied, while a lowly score indicates a low level of job satisfaction.

Syptak, Marsland and Ulmer (2008) are of the view that Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) system is another favorite tool used to collect data on the same. The data is collected using closed ended questions, where the worker has to reply a simple yes/no or true/false to a set of questions (Mayonh, 2007). Point systems can also be used to gauge the satisfaction of the workers using the EFM system. A worker is given a list of items to check off, or given questions that have multichoices, where he has to pick one or several choices out of the several given.

Brayfield and Muchnisky (2006) advocate for the Job Descriptive Index (JDI) as a tool to measure the satisfaction of the employees. This is set of questionnaire which gauges five elements of the worker’s satisfaction. These are remuneration, promotions, relationship with fellow workers, administration issues and the work itself (Burgoon, 2009). In this questionnaire,


Job Satisfaction and Absenteeism

the researcher furnishes the respondent with statements describing the five aspects of job satisfaction already mentioned. All the respondent has to do is agree, disagree or indicate ignorance to the statements (Burgoon, 2009).

Some researchers have fine tuned JDI to come up with the Job in General Index (Brayfield & Muchnisky, 2006). This is a set of questionnaire that concentrates on collecting data on individual attributes as far as job satisfaction is concerned. They do not only try to capture the data on job itself alone but also the information on the worker as a person.

The Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ) seeks to measure twenty attributes of the job to gauge the level of satisfaction (Rensis, 2006). The questionnaire is divided into a long and short form. The former has 100 questions, five from each attribute of the job that is being measured. The latter has twenty questions, one for each of the attributes (Kendall, 2006). Job Satisfaction Survey is a questionnaire with a total of thirty six questions. These questions are four for each of the nine attributes of the job that the researcher is interested in (Kendall, 2006). There is also the Faces Scale, where the workers are supposed to respond to only one item. They respond by picking a face for it (Rensis, 2006). This was one of the first scales to be used in measuring job satisfaction.

2.2: Two Factor Theory of Motivation

This theory was developed by Frederick Herzberg in the 1960’s. It is also referred to as the motivator hygiene theory (Hulin & Teven, 2008). It makes an attempt to highlight satisfaction and motivation of workers in the work place. According to this theory, job satisfaction and dissatisfaction stem from different motives. These motives are motivation and hygiene factors respectively (Rensis, 2006).

Quoting this theory, Argyle (2007) opines that motivation of an employee is directly related to his


Job Satisfaction and Absenteeism

level of job satisfaction. The higher the level of job satisfaction, the higher the motivation and vise versa. Jones (2009) views motivation as an inner drive on the part of the employee. This drive urges the employee to work towards attainment of individual and corporate goals.

According to Martin and Miller (2008), motivating factors can be viewed as those attributes of the task at hand that create an urge within the individual to perform and work towards the satisfaction of other people around him. This is for example the achievement of set goals at the job place, acknowledgement and promotion chances (Yorges, 2009). All these factors are inherently within the job or task performed.

On the other hand, hygiene factors are those attributes of the working environment, rather than the intrinsic nature of the job itself (Hulin & Teven, 2008). These include, among others, remuneration package, organizational goals and the management practices of the organization. Other working conditions like the relationship between the workers are also contributory factors.

Herzberg’s theory has received wide recognition in the management circles. However, despite all this recognition, this theory has not been able to be empirically proved (Rensis, 2006). Researchers are off the view that this theory has little academic value; rather, it is just a methodological artifact (Yorges, 2009). Another major weakness of the theory is that it fails to recognize that employees are of different personality traits. This been the case, the employees in a real situation will react differently to some of the factors expounded b y Herzberg (Kendall, 2006). Rather than Herzberg recognizing this, he instead goes ahead to assume that all the employees, regardless of their differences, will react the same way when operating under the same environment. But this is not the case. There is a worker who will not be motivated by attractive remuneration, despite the fact that Herzberg considers this to be a very crucial hygiene factor.

2.3: Prevalence of Job Satisfaction


Job Satisfaction and Absenteeism

According to a report by Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM, 2009), there is a widespread job dissatisfaction among workers of all cadre. The study did not find any difference between satisfaction levels of people from different income brackets or ages. According to this study, the past ten years have seen an unprecedented decline in the level of job satisfaction across all income brackets. For the past four decades, researches have consistently proved that a considerable number of workers would quit the job they are working on now and look for another one given the chance. This number ranges from 40-50% of all workers interviewed (SHRM, 2009).

Researchers have identified different types of job satisfaction. There is what Burgoon (2009) refers to as extrinsic and intrinsic job satisfaction. The latter is when the employee takes into consideration the conditions of their work as a determinant off their satisfaction. This can be viewed as been composed of Herzberg’s hygiene factors, as earlier described. On the other hand, intrinsic job satisfaction is when the employee considers only the inherent attributes of the job, (like category, difficulty among others) as the determinants of his job satisfaction (Kendall, 2006). Again, this can be equated to Herzberg’s motivating factors.

2.4: Absenteeism

Absenteeism from the work place is considered as a symptom of a deep seated problem, and not as a problem on its own (Brayfield & Muchnisky, 2006). It might be an indication that the worker is demoralized or dissatisfied with the work. Majority of the employers, when factoring in the effects of absenteeism to the performance of the company, do not differentiate between those absences that were out of necessity and those that were unnecessary. One way they factor in the effects of absenteeism is by the use of Bradford Factor (Yorges, 2009). This considers the total number of absences and the frequency of the same. This is regardless of the fact that there are different forms of absenteeism.

Profile International has suggested the following formula to be used by employers when gauging the rate and impact of absenteeism to the company (Burgoon, 2009):


Job Satisfaction and Absenteeism

i. Number of workers in the



ii. Average Monthly Income per worker


iii. Benefits


(approximately 35% of monthly salary):

iv. Total Monthly Compensation:


v. Average number of workdays


missed in the month:

Total Cost of Absenteeism Annually:


Average Cost of Absenteeism per Day:


2.5: Absenteeism and Job Satisfaction

As earlier indicated, absenteeism and job satisfaction are closely related entities. One leads to the other, while one is a possible indicator of the other. Lack of job satisfaction leads to absenteeism, while on the other hand, absenteeism is a possible indicator of lack of job satisfaction (Hulin & Teven, 2008).

An employee who is constantly absent citing flimsy excuses is likely to be dissatisfied by the


Job Satisfaction and Absenteeism

working environment or the work itself. However, there are others who will still attend job but they are not satisfied. This is for example when they are threatened by deduction from their salary of the number of days they were away. To avoid this, the worker will keep reporting everyday to the workplace, but it is not because he likes to do so, it is because he has no other option (SHRM, 2009). On the other hand, there are those employees who will keep away from the job place not because they are not satisfied by the job, but citing other reasons. For example, they could be sick or they could be naturally of truant predisposition (Jones, 2009). As such, it is crucial for the researcher to find out why the employee is absent or whether the one who is present is satisfied by the job. In a nutshell, this means that absenteeism cannot be taken in isolation to mean that there is no job satisfaction on the part of the worker. Neither should presence in the workplace be taken as an indication of job satisfaction.


3.0: Chapter Summary

Under this section, the researcher is going to put forth the method that was used in the field to collect data. Included will be the sample that the researcher will use for the research. Procedure for picking the sample will be laid down. How the data was collected from the sample will also be explained. The researcher will also put forth the limitations of the tools of collecting data together with the challenges that he faced while in the field.

3.1: Target Population

According to Mayonh (2007), the target population is the population which the researcher set forth to study. In this case, the target population was employees of two communications companies, Ellentier Wireless and Frabonco Communications. This will be treated as one population. The employees that will be of interest to the researcher are those that have been absent from the work place for an average of four days per month in the last two months.


Job Satisfaction and Absenteeism

3.2: Sample Size

Adnelick (2008) is of the view that any one population is so large to study each and every individual within it. That is why a sample population, representative of the whole population is picked. The sample size in this case will be 200 employees. Every organization will have 100 respondents.

3.3: Sample Description

100 of the respondents will be women while the other 100 will be men (N 200= m100+f100). The employees will come from different age groups, ranging from twenty to sixty five years. All of the employees should have worked in the same company for the last six months. 100 of the employees, fifty from each company and equal number of men and women will be the ones who had been absent from work for an average of four days per month in the last two months. The other hundred will be control group.

3.4: Sampling Procedure

Marcoskil (2009) says that these are the steps that the researcher follows when picking his sample. Considerable care should be taken to ensure that the sample is representative of the population as much as possible.

The researcher used stratified sampling procedure. He picked all of the employees that were absent from work for an average of four days per month in the past two months. The data was collected from the files of the human resource department. After the workers were picked from the two companies, they were stratified into males and females. The researcher then picked fifty


Job Satisfaction and Absenteeism

from each category. The companies were however picked randomly. On the other hand, the control group was picked from those employees who had been present from work throughput for the past two months. Fifty were from each organization.

3.5: Unit of Analysis

The researcher was interested in finding out the connection between job satisfaction and absenteeism. To achieve this, he analyzed nine aspects of the job that the workers were involved in. the researcher divided these factors into intrinsic and extrinsic, like in Herzberg’s theory. Extrinsic factors included pay, organizational policy, relationship with supervisors, relationship with other employees, and promotion opportunities. On the other hand, intrinsic attributes included achievement of targets, recognition, value attached to the job and enjoyment of the tasks.

3.6: Procedure for Data Collection

This is a survey research. As such, the researcher used a procedure similar to Job Satisfaction Survey. He administered questionnaires to the 200 respondents. The questionnaire that was administered had a total of thirty six questions. Each of the nine attributes of job identified above was allocated four questions. The questionnaires were written, and no interview was conducted on the respondents to collect the information.


4.0: Chapter Summary


Job Satisfaction and Absenteeism

This chapter presents the findings that were collected from the survey conducted in chapter 3. The researcher will use tables and charts to present the data. In presenting the data, the researcher will divide the results into two major groups. The first set of results will be for the intrinsic factors while the other set will be for the extrinsic factors. Within these two broad categorizations, the researcher will present the findings for the study group and the control group separately.

4.1: Intrinsic Factors

The chart below shows the scores that were recorded for the two groups when the intrinsic questions were asked.

Chart 1: Intrinsic Questions 1

4.2: Extrinsic Factors

The score for these questions were recorded in the table below:


5.0: Chapter Summary

In this chapter, the researcher is going to analyze the data that was presented in chapter 4 above. The data will be interpreted in terms of the thesis statement that was guiding the


Job Satisfaction and Absenteeism


5.1: Intrinsic Factors

The first intrinsic factor that the study sought to analyze was achievement. The study group scored 13.3% in this question while the control group scored 70.1%. This is an indication that those employees who feel that they cannot perform or achieve the targets of their task tend to be more absent from the job than the others. This is the same for recognition and enjoyment, which were the second and fourth attributes respectively. These findings correlate with the findings that Kendall (2006) got in a study of factory workers in Massachusetts.

However, the score for the third attribute, which was the amount of value attached to the task, was significantly different for the study group. A considerable 45.6% of the study group values their work, despite the fact they are always absent. This is an indication that other factors other than value of the job attributes to the recorded absenteeism.

5.2: Extrinsic Factors

Like in the intrinsic attributes, the study group scored relatively lower than the control group. For example in the first attribute which was pay, the study group scored 13.3% against the 65% for the control group. This shows that those employees who feel that they are not sufficiently compensated for their services tend to be more absent from the job more. The same kind of scoring trait was recorded for the other four attributes. These are the organization’s policy, the relationship between the worker and the supervisor, the relationship between the worker and fellow co-workers and finally promotion issues in that order.


Job Satisfaction and Absenteeism

Again, these findings correlate with the findings of a study that was conducted by Burgoon (2009) in California for metropolitan office workers. The absentee employees scored an average of 23 points below those who did not exhibit absenteeism.


6.0: Chapter Summary

The researcher brings together all the aspects of the study in this chapter. The reader is able to have a glimpse at what the whole research entailed and the findings.

6.1: Conclusion

The findings of this research supported the thesis statement of the researcher. It is obvious from the findings that absenteeism is an indicator of low job satisfaction. This is despite the fact that it is not the only indicator of job satisfaction.

The questions that were posed to the respondents were gauging the level of job satisfaction among them. From the findings, it is clear that those employees who exhibit tendencies of absenteeism from the work place also recorded the lowest level of job satisfaction.

However, it is important to note that age and sex had no effect on the findings. This means that age and sex do not affect job satisfaction in anyway. Another point worth noting, from the results, is that even the workers who were not prone to absenteeism did not score 100% in the


Job Satisfaction and Absenteeism

questions. It is true that they posted higher scores than their study counterparts. However, one would have expected that they would score almost all of the points. A possible explanation for this is that majority of the employees are not satisfied with their jobs. This is despite the fact that they were reporting daily to work.


Job Satisfaction and Absenteeism


Job Satisfaction and Absenteeism


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Job Satisfaction and Absenteeism

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