Presenteeism and Absenteeism at Work—an Analysis of Archetypes of Sickness Attendance Cultures

  • Sascha Alexander RuhleEmail author
  • Stefan Süß
Original Paper


The purpose of this study is to develop a richer understanding of how the interaction between individual perceptions of attendance norms, values, behaviors, and the work context shapes the perception of attendance culture. We aim to identify various perceptions of attendance culture in the workplace and their respective characteristics. To gain insight into the individual perception of attendance culture, we conducted 28 in-depth semi-structured interviews with individuals from various organizations. Using a two-step approach and analyzing based on the GIOIA method, participants’ perceptions of the legitimacy of sickness absenteeism and sickness presenteeism lead to three archetypes of attendance cultures: health focused, individual decision, and presentistic. The findings highlight the importance of analyzing the legitimacy of both absenteeism and presenteeism, as they are highly interrelated. We find support for the relevance of perceptions of attendance cultures for the respective behavior. This underlines the significance of culture in the formation of attendance behavior and offers a more comprehensive perspective on attendance. Although a growing body of research has suggested that norms and values on a collective level might influence the decision to show presenteeism instead of absenteeism, a conceptualization that includes both absenteeism and presenteeism is missing and was provided in the study.


Attendance culture Presenteeism Absenteeism Interviews 



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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Heinrich-Heine-University DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany

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