Investigation of underlying processes influencing absenteeism.
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The purpose of this study is to use Adams' Equity Theory in order to examine the underlying processes/factors influencing absenteeism. Two primary issues were investigated. One was to examine the potential relationship between the perception of inequity and absenteeism. The second was to examine the potential relationship between the demographic characteristics of the perceiver and the perception of inequity and equity. A random stratified sample of 110 was drawn from automotive component manufacturing companies in KwaZulu-Natal. A specifically constructed questionnaire comprising of a biographical data section and another on assessing perceptions of inequity was administered. Data was analysed using SPSS. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used. The results indicated a significant relationship between the perception of inequity and absenteeism rates. Therefore, participants who perceived an inequitable situation in the workplace were absent more often than participants who perceived an equitable situation. Furthermore a significant relationship was found between age and tenure and the perception of inequity. Participants who perceived inequity were in the 31-35 age group and had been employed by their current company for between 6-10 years. No relationship was found between the biographical characteristics of gender, ethnic background, educational levels and the perception of inequity and equity. A major limitation of the study was access to historical absenteeism data of the participants. In order to generate a more comprehensive understanding of the dynamics that underlie the relationship between perceived inequity in the workplace and behavioural reactions such as absenteeism, within a South African context, further research on the application of the theory must be done in future.