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Ahn, S, Lee, S and Steel, R P (2014) Construction Workers’ Perceptions and Attitudes toward Social Norms as Predictors of Their Absence Behavior. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 140(05).

  • Type: Journal Article
  • Keywords: Labor; Human factors; Social factors; Construction industry; Personnel management; Labor; Absence behavior; Absenteeism; Behavioral control; Worker attitude; Social norms; Social cohesion; Labor and personnel issues;
  • ISBN/ISSN: 0733-9364
  • URL: https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0000826
  • Abstract:
    Because construction operations depend on labor activity, absenteeism on a job site can damage project performance in many ways. Traditionally, construction managers have viewed absenteeism as a problem of individuals and have not paid much attention to absenteeism as a group-level phenomenon. As a result, individually focused formal rule enforcement (e.g., issuing a penalty) has been used to reduce absenteeism in construction projects, but this approach often results in the insufficient encouragement of attendance motivation. To better manage workers’ attendance on job sites, another aspect in absenteeism that has recently received attention is behavioral control of workers, including how workers perceive formal and social rules for absence, build attitudes toward these rules, and control their absence behavior accordingly. With this background, the objective of this paper is to investigate the relationship between workers’ perceptions/attitudes toward formal/social rules and their absence behavior by using real-world data. To fulfill this objective, a survey questionnaire was developed, data were collected from three different job sites, and statistical analyses were performed using logistic regression models. The results of the analyses show that construction workers who perceive salient social norms in their team are less likely to be absent from the job site, which implies that worker absence behavior is under the influence of social controls. It is also found that the primary mechanism by which social controls on workers’ behavior take place in construction is self-categorization. The results of this research extend the current knowledge of the mechanism and the role of social controls in shaping construction workers’ absence behavior. From the results, it is inferred that even a modest investment in promoting social cohesion and creating a positive prototype in teams can be an effective means of maintaining low absenteeism on a job site.