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    Rights statement: The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, German Journal of Human Resource Management: Zeitschrift für Personalforschung, ? (?), 2018, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2018 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the German Journal of Human Resource Management: Zeitschrift für Personalforschung page: http://journals.sagepub.com/home/gjh on SAGE Journals Online: http://journals.sagepub.com/

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The cost of shiftwork: absenteeism in a large German automobile plant

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>08/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>German Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number3-4
Volume32
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)236-256
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date7/08/18
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Using a balanced panel of some 400 organizational units in a large automobile plant, we analyse changes in absenteeism following a company innovation intended to improve worker health and well-being. During the period under consideration (January 2009–December 2011) the firm replaced its traditional shift schedule associated with high health risks for workers with an ergonomically more advantageous system. Our findings show that this innovation was accompanied by a statistically significant and economically relevant decrease in absenteeism. However, when workers started to express discontent with the new system, management after a few months implemented another shift system that was, from an ergonomical perspective, again associated with higher health risks than those associated with the second one. Absentee figures quickly returned to their initial levels. This suggests that short-term leisure preferences can override long-term health concerns in worker responses to the implementation of different shift schedules.

Bibliographic note

The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, German Journal of Human Resource Management: Zeitschrift für Personalforschung, ? (?), 2018, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2018 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the German Journal of Human Resource Management: Zeitschrift für Personalforschung page: http://journals.sagepub.com/home/gjh on SAGE Journals Online: http://journals.sagepub.com/