The cost of shiftwork : absenteeism in a large German automobile plant

Frick, Bernd and Simmons, Robert and Stein, Friedrich (2018) The cost of shiftwork : absenteeism in a large German automobile plant. German Journal of Human Resource Management, 32 (3-4). pp. 236-256.

[thumbnail of gjhrm_paper_1st_revision]
PDF (gjhrm_paper_1st_revision)
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial.

Download (658kB)


Using a balanced panel of some 400 organizational units in a large automobile plant, we analyse changes in absenteeism following a company innovation intended to improve worker health and well-being. During the period under consideration (January 2009–December 2011) the firm replaced its traditional shift schedule associated with high health risks for workers with an ergonomically more advantageous system. Our findings show that this innovation was accompanied by a statistically significant and economically relevant decrease in absenteeism. However, when workers started to express discontent with the new system, management after a few months implemented another shift system that was, from an ergonomical perspective, again associated with higher health risks than those associated with the second one. Absentee figures quickly returned to their initial levels. This suggests that short-term leisure preferences can override long-term health concerns in worker responses to the implementation of different shift schedules.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
German Journal of Human Resource Management
Additional Information:
The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, German Journal of Human Resource Management: Zeitschrift für Personalforschung, ? (?), 2018, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2018 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the German Journal of Human Resource Management: Zeitschrift für Personalforschung page: on SAGE Journals Online:
?? shift workabsenteeismorganizational change ??
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
25 Oct 2018 13:55
Last Modified:
10 Jan 2024 00:25