Negotiating employee absence in public school districts: Findings from three case studies
Connelly, Paul Michael
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In the field of public education, employee absence can be problematic for many reasons. K-12 public school districts in New York State occasionally attempt to address this concern through the collective negotiations process which can result in changes to formal labor contracts. But to what extent have those efforts been successful? What are the dynamics associated with negotiating employee absence? And how are those dynamics related to the organization at large? This dissertation sought to examine how efforts to address the topic of employee absences in three K-12 public school districts in New York State have been addressed through the collective negotiations process. The existing body of literature suggests that workplace dynamics exist that are associated with absence behavior. Utilizing survey and a multi-case study research strategies, the study primarily focused upon participant interviews with key practitioners who were negotiators involved in the collective negotiations process relative to the topic of employee absence. Among other salient findings, the study concludes that the examination of employee absence can provide an important lens from which workplace culture can be viewed; that consistent administration of contract language is critical; that the negotiations process was perceived as an effective forum for addressing employee absence and that the quality of relationships between school district administration and the negotiating unit is indicative of the outcome of the negotiations.