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    “Better than watching daytime TV”: sickness presenteeism in UK academics

    Kinman, Gail and Wray, S. (2022) “Better than watching daytime TV”: sickness presenteeism in UK academics. Studies in Higher Education 47 (8), pp. 1724-1735. ISSN 0307-5079.

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    Sickness presenteeism refers to the practice of continuing to work during illness. Although not always damaging, there is evidence that working while sick can impair employees’ health and job performance. As the causes of presenteeism are multi-faceted and context-specific, insight into the experiences of different occupational groups is required. This study examines the prevalence of sickness presenteeism among academic employees, the occupational, organisational and individual factors that encourage such behaviour and the implications for their wellbeing and performance. Data obtained from 5,209 academics working in UK universities (56% female) were subjected to thematic content analysis. Most respondents (90%) reported working while sick at least sometimes, with more than half (52%) doing so often or always. Seven interlinked themes were identified: workload pressure; non-negotiable deadlines; lack of cover; culture and working conditions; being professional, working strategically and personal choice. Although presenteeism among academics can be therapeutic and functional, it seems to be mainly dysfunctional with serious implications for their continued wellbeing and performance.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis, available online at the link above.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Academics, presenteeism, health, job performance, sickness absence behaviours
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Business School
    Research Centres and Institutes: Sustainable Working Life, Centre for
    Depositing User: Gail Kinman
    Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2022 07:12
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:14


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