To better understand the possible influence of a supervisor on (all types of) absenteeism, it is essential to know that four mechanisms can be at play.
Attendance or absence is influenced by…
- The demands (and resources) of the job.
Absence is the result of the employee's perception that they cannot handle what is being asked. E.g. "There is so much work to do. I can't stop thinking about it, and I can't sleep anymore!" (Job Demands Resources perspective).
- Job satisfaction and commitment to the organization.
Absence is the result of the employee’s low feelings of satisfaction and commitment. They are so low that the employee needs to step away from the negative situation to stay mentally healthy. E.g. "Now we'll get negative press again. I'm ashamed of my work!" (Withdrawal perspective)
- The expected response to the presence or absence.
Absence is the result of a trade-off where not working produces more positive results than working. E.g. "I'm quickly going to help my friend with the move; I only have boring meetings lined up today anyway". (Expectancy perspective)
- The social relationships at work.
Absence is the result of observed behavior of others (e.g. "if everyone here seems to take bad days off; then so will I!"), or the relationship with them (e.g. "no one notices whether I'm here or not any way") (Social dynamics perspective)