Group norms and excessive absenteeism: The role of peer referent others

Peter Bamberger, Michal Biron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drawing from social identity and social influence theory, we propose that the absence-related norms of an individual's work-based referent others will have a significant effect on the likelihood of excessive absence behavior. We then develop and test a model of the social mechanisms potentially underlying the relationship between referent absence norms and the likelihood of excessive absence behavior. Our findings indicate that referent group norms significantly explain excessive absence behavior, even when taking into account the absence norms associated with the formal organizational units within which these referent groups are often nested. They also indicate that permissive referent group norms are likely to have a greater impact on the probability of target excessive absence when the target has a more conformist disposition. Finally, post-hoc findings suggest that the more negative targets' perceptions of the consequences of absenteeism, the more attenuated the impact of permissive group norms on excessive absence behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-196
Number of pages18
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Absence culture
  • Absenteeism
  • Peer norms
  • Referent others
  • Social comparison
  • Social identity
  • Social influence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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