'Taking a sickie': Job satisfaction and job involvement as interactive predictors of absenteeism in a public organization

Jürgen Wegge*, Klaus-Helmut Schmidt, Carole Parkes, Rolf van Dick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Correlations between absenteeism and work attitudes such as job satisfaction have often been found to be disappointingly weak. As prior work reveals, this might be due to ignoring interactive effects of attitudes with different attitude targets (e.g. job involvement and organizational commitment). Drawing on basic principles in personality research and insights about the situational variability of job satisfaction judgments, we proposed that similar interactions should be present also for attitudes with the same target. More specifically, it was predicted that job involvement affects absenteeism more if job satisfaction is low as this indicates a situation with weak constraints. Both attitudes were assessed in a sample of 436 employees working in a large civil service organization, and two indexes of absence data (frequency and time lost) were drawn from personnel records covering a 12-month period following the survey. Whereas simple correlations were not significant, a moderated regression documented that the hypothesized interaction was significant for both indicators of absence behaviour. As a range of controls (e.g. age, gender, job level) were accounted for, these findings lend strong support to the importance of this new, specific form of attitude interaction. Thus, we encourage researchers not only to consider interactions of attitudes with a different focus (e.g. job vs. organization) but also interactions between job involvement and job satisfaction as this will yield new insights into the complex function of attitudes in influencing absenteeism. © 2007 The British Psychological Society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-89
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007


  • absenteeism
  • work attitudes
  • job satisfaction
  • attitude targets
  • job involvement
  • organizational commitment
  • personality research
  • job satisfaction judgments
  • absence behaviour
  • attitude interaction


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