Temporal Withdrawal Behaviors in an Educational Policy Context

The purpose of the present study was to investigate the differential relations between two teacher withdrawal behaviors: work absence and lateness, and two types of school ethics: organizational justice (distributive, procedural) and ethical climate (formal, caring), all in the context of school turbulent environment. Data was collected from 1,016 teachers in 35 Israeli high schools. The GLIMMIX procedure was used to consider simultaneously the hierarchical structure of the data, as well as the two dependent variables (absence and lateness).
Results showed that lateness was negatively related to two relatively short-term aspects of school ethics: distributive justice, in particular for women, and formal ethical climate. Absence was negatively related to a relatively long-term aspect of school ethics: caring climate, in particular for low- to medium-level seniority teachers.
In order to reduce teachers’ temporal withdrawal behaviors, school management may need to attenuate policy that taps into organizational ethics, while considering the effects of school culture and turbulent environment.
Based on evidence that lateness and absence are distinct yet interconnected withdrawal constructs, the two behaviors were analyzed simultaneously as dependent variables. The study model posited that lateness and absence would be differentially related to specific dimensions of school ethics, based on organizational time orientation. 

Results showed that while as hypothesized, teachers’ lateness was related to school distributive justice and to school formal climate, absence was not related to either of these dimensions. Similarly, it was also found that as hypothesized, teachers’ absence was related to school caring climate, while lateness was not related to school caring climate. However, contrary to the third hypothesis, absence was not related to procedural justice. This unexpected finding may perhaps be explained by the current context of school absence policy in Israel. Israeli absence policy is extremely structured; in teachers' collective bargaining contracts, absence is highly regulated (with detailed categorization of justified versus non-justified reasons for absence). Because absence behavior is covered by nation-wide collective rules, teachers might have tended not to associate their absence behavior with the clear school-based absence procedures, where rigidity partially protects against discrimination and abuse. 

The study findings refine understanding of the temporal nature of teachers’ lateness and absence. Previous studies focused on employees’ withdrawal reactions to perceptions of organizational ethics (e.g., Burke et al., 2010), based on theories pertaining to organizational misbehavior and organizational exchange relations.The present study focused on teachers' time manipulation in relationship with perceived organizational unfairness. Results may indicate that when teachers perceive their work environment as ethically compromising, they protect themselves by conserving their own time while abusing school time.
Updated: Aug. 07, 2017