Self-Organisation and Absence Tendency in the Health Care Sector in the Netherlands
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Self-organisation is currently a topic of great relevance in the health care sector in the Netherlands, many organisations have changed their organisational structure to self-organisation. This study aims to create insight in the possible consequences of self-organisation in terms of absenteeism. A theoretical model is created where the possible mediating role of work engagement on the relationship between self-organisation and absence tendency is tested. In addition to this, six possible mediating variables have been tested to better understand the relationship between self-organisation and work engagement: absence policy, absence culture, teamwork, individual autonomy and social support of co-workers and supervisors. 360 employees of four different health care organisations in the Netherlands have participated in this self-reported questionnaire study. The findings of this study support the introduction of self-organisation and more team autonomy in the health care sector because of its positive relationship with work engagement. This relationship exists because self-organisation is associated with improved absence policy, more individual autonomy and more social support of co-workers. All factors that are positively associated with work engagement, and through this indirectly negatively associated with absence tendency. Despite these interesting findings, the number of direct relationships with absence (tendency) found in this study is limited and more research is needed to draw firm conclusions and use these findings in practical implications. Explicitly research on organisations changing towards more or less self-organisation, on an extensive period of time, would help in building a more causal understanding of the relationship between self-organisation and absence.