Why Calling In Sick Matters Less In Trinidad Than In The US

A cross-cultural study involving employees at multinational corporations in nine countries confirmed that cultural attitudes affect how absenteeism is viewed. What does this mean for an increasingly mobile and global workforce?

What's the Latest Development?


Two recent studies that look at absenteeism in a cross-cultural context find that feelings experienced by workers differ depending on a range of factors. In one study, workers at 10 multinational companies in nine countries were surveyed on their feelings about calling in sick. The responses were evenly split: Three countries, including Trinidad, considered calling in sick to be acceptable; three had neutral feelings; and three -- the US, Japan, and Ghana -- viewed missed work days more negatively. In another study, Swedish workers ranging from 19 to 64 were asked whether they felt shame when calling in sick. Those that felt more shame included young people, immigrants from non-Nordic countries, and people suffering from a mental illness.

What's the Big Idea?

Absenteeism is a common part of business, but there hasn't been a lot of study on how individual countries' cultural norms can impact that business. The authors of the first study ask: "[I]n an increasingly mobile global workforce, how does an individual who has been socialized in a nation where absence is generally viewed as a more legitimate behavior behave in a nation where it is viewed as less so?"

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at MedicalDaily

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Why the ocean you know and love won’t exist in 50 years

Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?

Videos
  • Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
  • The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
  • If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
Keep reading Show less
Image source: Topical Press Agency / Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Though we know today that his policies eventually ended the Great Depression, FDR's election was seen as disastrous by some.
  • A group of wealthy bankers decided to take things into their own hands; they plotted a coup against FDR, hoping to install a fascist dictator in its stead.
  • Ultimately, the coup was brought to light by General Smedley Butler and squashed before it could get off the ground.
Keep reading Show less

Health care: Information tech must catch up to medical marvels

Michael Dowling, Northwell Health's CEO, believes we're entering the age of smart medicine.

Photo: Tom Werner / Getty Images
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • The United States health care system has much room for improvement, and big tech may be laying the foundation for those improvements.
  • Technological progress in medicine is coming from two fronts: medical technology and information technology.
  • As information technology develops, patients will become active participants in their health care, and value-based care may become a reality.
Keep reading Show less