Vol. 3:3 (1998) ► pp.179–206
Action Research to Reduce Sickness Absenteeism
A Case Study
An action research program was started in two Dutch concrete construction factories to reduce absenteeism due to sickness. Representatives of workers and managers analyzed all possible causes of absenteeism. This process was guided by the action researchers, who also explained theoretical models. Smaller working parties were then formed to formulate proposals for action. The working parties consisted of workers and foremen. Top management set aside a budget for improving the work environment. The communication structure in the organization was improved, especially by encouraging two-way communication and by creating more opportunities for workers to have their say and to participate. Care was taken to ensure a good fit between the absenteeism program and a Quality Control Program. The program succeeded in drastically reducing sickness absenteeism. The change process is described, with special attention to theoretical models and to the characteristics of action research.
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