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Temporary Employment: Costs and Benefits for Organizations and the Careers of Employees

Special issue call for papers from Career Development International

Temporary Employment: Costs and Benefits for Organizations and the Careers of Employees


Guest editors:

Nele De Cuyper, Hans De Witte, Research Group Work, Organizational and Personnel Psychology, K.U.Leuven, Belgium & Hetty van Emmerik, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

The growth in temporary employment (i.e., dependent employment of limited duration, as in the case of fixed-term contract workers or temporary agency workers; OECD, 2008) from the mid 80s up to now has attracted a great deal of scholarly attention. The dominant position is that the evolution towards increasing numbers of temporary employment is driven by the employer’s demand for more flexibility and innovation, and by their wish to reduce labour costs (Burgess & Connell, 2006; Kalleberg, Reynolds, & Marsden, 2003). This seems to hint at overall favourable effects for the organization, particularly on the short-term and assessed with indicators of economic success. Seemingly missing in this debate is a combination of a HRM and psychological approach; namely the effects of temporary versus permanent employment in terms of workers’ productive and/or contra-productive behaviours that are important for both organizations and employees in the short and long-term (for a review, see Connelly & Gallagher, 2004; De Cuyper, De Jong, De Witte, Isaksson, Rigotti, & Schalk, 2008).
The present special issue seeks to collect a set of studies on the relationship between temporary versus permanent employment and (contra-)productive behaviours, and on possible mediators or moderators of such relationships. Examples of (contra-)productive behaviours are performance, organizational citizenship behaviour, and/or withdrawal behaviour in the form of turnover or absenteeism. Mediators and moderators can be found at the level of the organization (e.g., HR policy vis-à-vis temporary employment), the job (e.g., job resources and demands) or the individual (e.g., career trajectories), or at the interplay of organization and individual (e.g., social exchange dynamics). Ideally, the issue encourages scholars from different countries to share their findings, and in view of arriving at an international perspective. The list below presents potential topics for contributions, but related topics are welcomed, too:
  • Mediators and moderators in the relationship between temporary employment and organizational outcomes: What are the core mechanisms at the level of the organization, the job and the worker to explain the relationship between temporary employment and organizational outcomes? Is the relationship between temporary versus permanent employment and organizational conditional upon the organization’s strategy vis-à-vis temporary employment? What is the role of individual preferences, volition and motives for accepting temporary employment?
  •  (Follow-up) Studies about the effects of transitions between temporary and permanent employment on organizational outcomes. Are transitions from temporary to permanent employment conditional upon productive behaviour? How do workers behave when they are/feel trapped in temporary employment? How do workers behave when they see temporary employment as a stepping stone to permanent employment?
  • International comparisons concerning the relationship between temporary employment and organizational outcomes. Are results conditional upon structural factors or national legislation?
  • Theoretical insights about the relationship between temporary employment and organizational outcomes. Are theories that are traditionally used in Work and Organizational Psychology useful in the realm of temporary work research?
  • Studies on the relationship between temporary versus permanent employment and organizational outcomes with measures other than employees’ self-reports, such as attendance records or supervisor-rated performance, for example. Are relationships conditional upon the source of data-gathering?

We welcome theoretical and empirical papers related to the broad topic of organizational consequences associated with temporary employment. 

Authors who are interested in contributing to this special issue are kindly requested to first inform the guest editors of their plans before November 21, 2009.

The deadline for submissions of full papers is January 21, 2010. 

The special issue is intended for publication in 2011. The guest editors would be happy to discuss ideas for potential submissions. They can be contacted directly at [email protected] , [email protected], or [email protected].

Note that contributions should report original research that is not under consideration at another journal. This call for papers is open and competitive, implying also that they will be subjected to the regular review process. The guest editors will select a number of papers for the special issue. Other papers may however appear in other issues of the journal.
Please direct any general questions about the journal or any administrative matter to the Editors, Professor Jim Jawahar ([email protected]) or Dr. Hetty van Emmerik ([email protected]).
Burgess, J., & Connell, J. (2006). Temporary work and Human Resource Management: Issues, challenges and responses. Personnel Review, 35(2), 129-140.
Connelly, C.E., & Gallagher, D.G. (2004). Emerging trends in contingent work research. Journal of Management, 30, 959-983.
De Cuyper, N., De Jong, J., De Witte, H., Isaksson, K., Rigotti, T., & Schalk, R. (2008). Literature review of theory and research on the psychological impact of temporary employment: Towards a conceptual model. International Journal of Management Reviews, 10, 25-51.
Kalleberg, A.L., Reynolds, J., & Marsden, P.V. (2003). Externalizing employment: Flexible staffing arrangements in US organizations. Social Science Research, 32, 525-552.
OECD (2002). Employment Outlook. Paris: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.