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School ethical climate and teachers' voluntary absence

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Purpose ‐ This paper aims to offer a theoretical framework for linking school ethical climate with teachers' voluntary absence. The paper attempts to explain this relationship using the concept of affective organizational commitment. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Participants were 1,016 school teachers from 35 high schools in Israel. Data were collected by self-report questionnaires and tested against archival data. The GENMOD procedure of SAS was applied. This procedure enables regression models for variables which are not necessarily normally distributed ‐ such as absence ‐ to be fit and also to account for the intraclass-correlations within schools. Absence was measured by frequency of absence events, and ethical climate was measured by two dimensions: caring and formal. Findings ‐ Results show that caring and formal ethical climates are both related to teacher absence. Affective commitment was found to mediate the relationship between formal ethical climate and absence frequency. This is not true for the ethical climate of caring. Practical implications ‐ School principals may reduce voluntary absence by creating an ethical climate focused on caring and clear and just rules and procedures. Originality/value ‐ Whereas past research on work absence focused primarily on personal antecedents, the present study addresses factors embedded in school ethics. The results contribute to knowledge of the influence of organizational context on absence behavior.
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Keywords: Absenteeism; Affective psychology; Ethics; Israel; Teachers

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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