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Sustainable Development in Organizations

Sustainable Development in Organizations

Studies on Innovative Practices

Edited by Mattias Elg, Per- Erik Ellström, Magnus Klofsten and Malin Tillmar

An increasingly competitive environment can lead to considerable problems for many organizations as they struggle to adapt to change. As a result, they fail to create the conditions that can lead to sustainable development over the long term, thus affecting the capabilities of employees. This book provides a fresh perspective on sustainable change and development in organizations, as well as a critical perspective on lean implementation, work environment and sustainability.

Chapter 4: Conditions for presenteeism and production in changing organizations

Kerstin Ekberg, Maria Gustavsson and Anna-Carin Fagerlind Ståhl

Subjects: business and management, management and sustainability, organisational innovation, organisation studies


Reasons for sickness absence are reasonably well documented, whereas reasons for sickness presence, that is, going to work while ill, are less well investigated. The phenomenon of presenteeism has gained increasing interest among researchers and practitioners, as a growing number of sick workers go to work in spite of their medical condition. Several studies have demonstrated reduced production, as well as an increased risk of later sickness absence due to presenteeism. A number of organizational practices and policies, as well as social insurance regulations are designed to limit absenteeism, but may in fact stimulate presenteeism (Johns, 2010). The assumption that factors that constrain absence from work could stimulate presenteeism has been called the substitution hypothesis (Caverley et al., 2007). Johns (2010) and Gosselin et al. (2013) suggested a complementary hypothesis, assuming that absenteeism and presenteeism are positively related to each other. The common basis is ill health, but the decision to stay at home or go to work during illness may be influenced by conditions at the workplace or outside work, promoting one or the other of the behaviours.

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