If you have a full-fledged illness, a family emergency, or just need a day under the duvet, whether or not you call in sick or schlep into the office largely depends on the country you inhabit, a new Canadian study finds .
Findings showed that views on absenteeism, whether seen as a legitimate reason to be out of the office or a frowned-upon offense, are more about broad cultural influence than individual views or personal work ethics.
Researchers from Concordia University's John Molson School of Business issued questionnaires on attitudes on office absenteeism to 1,535 employees working at companies, many of them multinational, in Mexico, Pakistan, Ghana, India, the U.S., Canada, Japan, Trinidad, and Nigeria.
Overall the researchers found that respondents from Pakistan, India, and Trinidad believed calling in sick was perfectly acceptable, while their counterparts in the U.S., Ghana, and Japan viewed missed work more negatively.
Respondents from Canada, Mexico, and Nigeria had the most neutral attitudes about calling in sick, the researchers report.
Plus there were subtle differences among the cultures. For instance, Japanese respondents were both the least accepting of absences and the least likely to hold sick employees accountable for being away from work.
Findings are published in the journal Cross Cultural Management.
Previous findings from the European Working Conditions Survey in 2007 found that people living in the Netherlands average 8.5 sick days a year, while Germans average 3.4 days. A 1998 study also suggest that both Canadians and Chinese tend to under-report their own attendance records, while seeing their attendance as superior to those of their coworkers.