Unfairness at work as a predictor of absenteeism

Elpine M. De Boer*, Arnold B. Bakker, Jef E. Syroit, Wilmar B. Schaufeli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

148 Citations (Scopus)


This study among 514 security guards examines the relationship between perceptions of unfairness at work and absenteeism during a one-year follow-up. On the basis of previous theoretical work and fragmented empirical evidence, it was hypothesized that distributive unfairness causes absence behavior in a direct or indirect way (through health complaints). Procedural unfairness was hypothesized to cause absence behavior through affective commitment or through health complaints. Results of a series of structural equation modelling analyses offer support for the mediating role of health complaints in the relationship between (distributive and procedural) unfairness at work and absenteeism. Moreover, our findings demonstrate that perceived unfairness contributes to explaining T2-absenteeism over and above the impact of T1-absenteeism and traditional work-related stressors (i.e., work load and low job control). The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-197
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2002


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