Date of Conferral
Employee absenteeism is a global management problem that affects organizational productivity, profits, justice, and employee motivation. A Zambian government agency has little knowledge about absenteeism and the lived experiences of clients regarding staff absenteeism and service delivery. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore employee absenteeism and service delivery through the lens of McGregor's theory x. The research question was about the lived experiences of the agency's clients regarding absenteeism and service delivery. The data were collected through semistructured interviews of 22 purposefully selected clients of the Zambian government agency and were analyzed using the van Kaam method. Findings indicated that health issues of staff and relatives, funerals, alcoholism, demotivation, lack of staff transport, chronic fatigue, staff shortages, poor working conditions and salaries, poor supervision, school runs, laziness and indiscipline, and the transfer of staff affected absenteeism. Absenteeism caused organizational financial losses, inefficiency, reduced productivity, delayed service delivery, damaged the organization's reputation, and created client stress, frustration, and hopelessness. Absenteeism can be significantly reduced by close collaboration between the managers and their subordinates through increased employee engagement, improved incentive rewards programs, and a better understanding of the effects of work-related stress. Positive social change through the reduction of absenteeism in government agencies can enhance the quality of public services in critical public sectors such as education, health, social welfare, labor, and agriculture.