Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts


School of Business

First Advisor

Dr Deirdre O'Donovan


High absenteeism levels, which have become synonymous with the call centre industry, have a detrimental impact on the delivery of contractual requirements, as well as the quality of service provided to customers. Conversely, presenteeism has less of an established association with call centres, primarily due to it being a relatively recent phenomenon. It is recognised, however, that both constructs have a negative effect on productivity and cost. Furthermore, presenteeism presents an incredible opportunity to reveal the unknowns that exist between absenteeism, no productivity, and maximum work engagement. This thesis focuses on identifying the leading factors correlated with absenteeism and presenteeism in a call centre. At the time the study was conceived, the researcher was employed as an Operations Manager within Call Centre X. High absenteeism levels had been observed at the organisation, which were correlated with difficulties in achieving specific contractual agreements, as well as negatively affecting the client relationship. Consequently, this influenced the financial performance of the operation. A survey was distributed to staff, seeking both qualitative and quantitative data, to capture the frequency, duration, and nature of the absence, as well as whether employees report for work while ill and why. A number of significant findings emerged via the analysis of the survey results. It was discovered that in excess of 80% of Call Centre X’s staff had attended work while ill in the last 6 months. Additionally, pay was shown to be a major influence on absenteeism and presenteeism rates in the call centre. The importance of adequate and adept training was found to be a critical consideration for Call Centre X should it wish to reduce absenteeism in the organisation. The implications of the findings suggest that call centres could reduce their absenteeism and presenteeism rates, if they review their sick pay entitlements, in addition to evaluating the training needs of their organisation.


Summitted for the Award of Master of Arts in Human Resource Management, 2018.

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