Materials for Teaching, Research and Policy Making



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KEY WORDS: Business and Industrial Personnel; Employee Attitudes; Organizational Change; Attitude Change; Employer Attitudes; Top Level Managers; Changes in Paid Work.

Mitlacher, L. W. (2007). The role of temporary agency work in different industrial relations systems - a comparison between Germany and the USA. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 45(3), 581-606.


Theoretical and empirical insights are used to review the use of temporary agency work in different industrial relations systems, as well as to propose reasons for company usage of the employee type. Propositions are then viewed against German and American case-study data to highlight the contrasts between the two systems. Legal regulation and employer strategies are the main contrasts, while supply of agency labour is the main similarity.
KEY WORDS: Temporary Work; Agency Work.

Moore, S. (2005). Contractor VS. employee: What's best for you? Contract Management [McLean], 45(2), 8-15.


As of September 2004, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics conservatively reported that 10,450,000 Americans nationwide are classified as non-permanent employees, representing 7.5 percent of the nation's entire workforce. Since it is virtually impossible to capture rock-solid data about non-permanent employees, the actual number of "contingent" workers that would include contract consultants, considered by many to be one of the fastest-growing sectors of the economy, is most likely higher. Contract employees have to adapt rapidly to the culture of the office where they're working on a project. It's possible that the permanent employees may be a little jealous or intimidated by your expertise depending on the contract. Despite the facts and statistics, the decision to become an independent contractor rests with each individual.
KEY WORDS: Consultants; Career Development Planning; Consultants; United States; Development; Changes in Paid Work.

Moran, A. E. (2004). The contingent workforce: A challenge for benefits managers. Employee Relations Law Journal, 30(3), 87-100.


The contingent workforce is resulting in special challenges for HR professionals and for those who counsel them. The "contingent workforce" is made up of people who do not identify themselves as employees but who perform services on a free lance or independent basis, and it is fairly typical that such contingent workers do not get the same employee benefit packages as "permanent employees." Controversies often arise when a worker, the IRS, or a court opts to challenge arrangements for contingent workers by reclassifying the previously agreed-upon status of the worker.
KEY WORDS: Temporary Employees; Legal Status; Independent Contractors; Employee Benefit Managers; Responsibility; Changes in Paid Work.

Myerson, J., & Ross, P. (2006). Radical office design. New York: Abbeville Press.


Traditional office work, characterized by repetitive clerical tasks, is quickly giving way to “knowledge work,” characterized by the creative application and exchange of information. In response, architects around the world are leaving aside the old cubicle grid to design creative, high-tech offices that foster knowledge work and, at the same time, help workers balance the competing demands of colleagues, customers, and family. The forty-three exceptional workplaces profiled in this timely volume have all been completed within the last six years and serve a large variety of organizations, both private and public, small and large. Examples range from the headquarters of an advertising firm where one enormous table seats all two hundred employees, facilitating communication, to a BMW plant where the factory production line runs through and above the administrative offices, bringing the corporate community together.
KEY WORDS: Knowledge Economy; Knowledge Workers; Public Sector; Private Sector; Changes in Paid Work.

Ng, R., Yuk-lin Wong, R., & Choi, A. (1999). Homeworking: Home office or home sweatshop? NALL Working Paper No. 6. Toronto: Centre for the Study of Education and Work, OISE/UT. Available at: www.nall.ca.


The current conditions of home workers in the garment industry in Toronto, Canada, were examined through in-depth telephone interviews with 30 Chinese-speaking immigrant women who were employed as home workers in 1999. The paper dicusses the formal training and informal learning experiences of immigrant woman who are garment workers. A comparison of the results of the 1999 survey with those of similar surveys conducted in 1991 and 1993 revealed that the wages of sewing machine operators remained at the levels of the 1980s. Many subcontractors were circumventing the Employment Standards Act's provisions protecting home workers. Instead of receiving wage increases as they became more experienced, many home workers were actually "punished" for getting skilled. Most women were paid by check every 2 weeks and reported few problems getting paid. Although many women preferred home work because it gave them more flexibility and a chance to combine paid work with child care, many others expressed feeling internal pressures from having to work all the time and meet the multiple demands of household, family, and employment. The following were among common problems reported by the women: (1) not learning the piece rate until garments were completed; (2) no vacation pay despite the legislative provisions calling for paid vacations; and (3) no avenues of compensation for work-related health problems (repetitive strain syndrome, back pain). Education of the public and policymakers and broad-based action on the part of homeworkers and the government are needed. (Contains 19 endnotes) (MN)
KEY WORDS: Child Care; Comparative Analysis; Compliance (Legal); Consciousness Raising; Education Work Relationship; Employee Attitudes; Employer Employee Relationship; Employment Patterns; Employment Practices; Employment Problems; Family Work Relationship; Fashion Industry; Federal Legislation; Foreign Countries; Fringe Benefits; Government Role; Housework; Immigrants; Job Skills; Labor Conditions; Labor Legislation; Labor Standards; Needle Trades; Occupational Safety and Health; Outcomes of Education; Overtime; Public Policy; Quality of Working Life; Salary Wage Differentials; Sewing Machine Operators; Teleworking; Trend Analysis; Unions; Work Environment; Working Hours; Chinese Canadians; Chinese Speaking; Employer Responsibility; Ontario (Toronto); Piecework; Sweatshops.

Olsen, K. M., & Kalleberg, A. L. (2004). Non-standard work in two different employment regimes: Norway and the United States. Work, Employment and Society, 18(2), 321-348.


This article examines organizational use of non-standard work arrangements - fixed-term employees hired directly by the organization, workers from temporary help agencies (THA), and contractors - in the United States and Norway. Our analysis is based on information obtained from surveys of 802 establishments in the US and 2130 in Norway. We find that Norwegian establishments make greater use of non-standard arrangements than the US establishments; we argue that this is due in part to the greater overall restrictive labour market regulations on hiring and firing regular workers, and greater demand for temporary labour resulting from generous access to leaves of absence in Norway. We also find that certain institutional factors have a similar impact in both countries. First, establishments in the public sector are more likely to use direct-hired temporary workers and less apt to use contractors and THAs; this pattern is particularly striking in Norway, but is also evident in the United States. Second, highly unionized establishments tend to have the lowest use of non-standard arrangements in both countries.
KEY WORDS: Human Resource Management; Labor Relations; Regulatory Compliance; Guilds; Changes in Paid Work.

Osnowitz, D. (2005). Marketing expertise: The contingent experience of contract professionals. Dissertation Abstracts International, A: The Humanities and Social Sciences, 66(6), pp. 2405-A.


Contract professionals represent a segment of nonstandard, "contingent" workers whose ranks have grown in the wake of workforce restructuring. Addressed are contract professionals into 2 occupational groups: (1) writers and editors and (2) programmers and engineers. In both occupations, contractors comprise an external labor market of mobile practitioners who procure and carry out assignments for clients. Lacking organizational positions, contractors work outside a system of standard employment, usually augmenting staffs of employees with standard jobs. From interviews, observations, and documentary evidence, examined are the micro-processes that constitute work relations for these professionals, at the margins of employing organizations. The processes of contracting depend on a labor market structure that facilitates mobility. With contract work well institutionalized, contractors span the boundaries of multiple client firms. Standard jobs, however, had typically demanded excessively long hours and had failed to provide stability, so that contracting, with professional challenge and financial reward, offered an alternative opportunity structure. The choice to contract can thus represents an implicit critique of standard employment in these two occupational groups. Contract work constitutes a parallel system of work relations, outside the social and legal protection that comes with a standard job. Assuming greater labor market risk, contract professionals described managing uncertainty through expert performance. They presented themselves as skilled and authoritative. Exercising discursive control over their work, they depended on social interaction to define and adjust the terms of their employment, displaying competence both to clients, who engage their services, and to colleagues, who might provide referrals for new assignments. Maintaining distance from organizational conflict, they accounted for "billable time" and patrolled the boundaries of organizational membership, drawing their identity from occupational, affiliation.
KEY WORDS: Contracts; Professional Workers; Self Employment; Writers; Editors; Engineers; Marketing; Labor Relations; Client Relations; Changes in Paid Work.

Osnowitz, D. (2006). Occupational networking as normative control: Collegial exchange among contract professionals. Work and Occupations, 33(1), 12-41.


With workforce flexibility and nonstandard, “contingent,” work have come new mechanisms for labor market mediation and workforce control. Examined are the occupational connection and control in 2 groups of contract professionals. Networking is a mechanism for labor market regulation as well as for finding work. Networking perpetuates occupational norms that demand commitment to work, accountability to clients, and reciprocity among colleagues. Complying with occupational norms, contractors develop reputations to enhance the likelihood of referrals from colleagues for contract assignments. Collegial exchange in an occupational labor market, thus exposes contractors to the informal sanctions of formative control.
KEY WORDS: Networking; Contingent Work; Professionals; Changes in Paid Work.

Peck, J., & Theodore, N. (2007). Flexible recession: The temporary staffing industry and mediated work in the United States. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 31(2), 171-192.


The growth of the temporary staffing industry (TSI) in the US is reviewed, making specific reference to its structural functions during the boom of the 1990s, the 'flexible' recession of 2001, and the "jobless" recovery. Also reviewed is the TSI's regulatory role in the greater US labour market as well as how it affects and is affected by the restructuring of the US.
KEY WORDS: Temporary Work; Temporary Employment Agencies; US Labour Market; Recession; Jobless Recovery.

Peck, J. A., & Theodore, N. (2002). Temped out? Industry rhetoric, labor regulation and economic restructuring in the temporary staffing business. Economic and Industrial Democracy, 23(2), 143-175.


The article develops a conceptualization of the role of the temporary staffing industry (TSI) in the wider economy, with particular reference to the 'home' of temping, the USA. It is suggested that the TSI should be understood as an active agent of labor-market deregulation and restructuring, contrary to the industry's selfrepresentation as a neutral intermediator in the job market and as a mere facilitator of more efficient and flexible employment systems. The article draws attention to the active steps that the industry has taken to establish (and defend) the legally ambiguous 'triangular' employment relationship upon which its very viability depends and, more generally, to make and grow its markets in segments as diverse as light assembly and construction work, health care, accountancy, teaching and a range of clerical occupations. The article argues also for a more finely grained analysis of the ways in which the temporary staffing business has itself transformed and restructured - as an inventive and energetic vendor of labor flexibility in what has been an expanding market since the industry's take-off in the 1970s. In fact, the American TSI has experienced a series of distinctive stages of growth over the past three decades, during which time it has searched but failed to find alternatives to the established business model of narrow margins, price competition and commodification. If there are limits to this industry's growth, then, these may well prove to be internal ones.
KEY WORDS: Labor Relations; Downsizing (Management); Human Resource Management; Regulatory Compliance; Changes in Paid Work.

Pupo, N., & Duffy, A. (2000). Canadian part-time work into the Millennium: On the cusp of change. Community, Work & Family, 3(1), 81-101.


This paper examines the evolution of part-timer work in the Canadian context and related research on insecure employment. Presented are the major factors implicated in the expansion of part-time employment and speculation on the further evolution of this form of peripheral employment and its likely implications for women, youth, and older workers. Finally, discussed are the challenges to unions and the state in addressing the question of workers' insecurity and marginalized work.
KEY WORDS: Part-Time Work; Insecurity; Peripheral Employment; Canada; Changes in Paid Work.

Rassuli, A. (2005). Evolution of the professional contingent workforce. Journal of Labor Research [Fairfax], 26(4), 689-710.


The professional contingent workers (PCW) market has evolved into one of the fastest growing segments of the temporary labor force in the so-called "new economy." To understand the evolution and success of the professional contingent market, the author utilized a new paradigm. Three dimensions are included: First, supply-side characteristics among PCW are analyzed in aggregation. Second, the role and market contribution of intermediaries, such as staffing groups, are stipulated. Finally, interaction among the parties - PCW, staffing groups, and client firms - is viewed as symbiotic. Within the structural framework established by client firms and staffing groups, PCW create value and scale economies for all parties. Empirical results confirm the hypothesis that PCW professionalism assures the vitality of the market.
KEY WORDS: Labor Unions; Temporary Employment; Contract Labor; Labor Supply; Studies; United States; Labor Relations; Experimental/Theoretical; United States; Changes in Paid Work.

Rice, E. M. (2004). Capitalizing on the contingent workforce - Outsourcing benefits programs for non-core workers improves companies' bottom line. Employee Benefit Plan Review, 58(8), 16-18.


According to the Advisory Council of the Department of Labor, 30 percent of the U.S. labor force is a contingent workforce. This contingent workforce is consists of temporary employees, project consultants, contractors, seasonal workers, freelance workers, and other non-core employees. Outsourcing of benefits programs allows companies to offer a competitive benefits package to contingent staff employees. Discussed are the advantages and considerations to companies that outsource the administrative processes, human resources and benefits program for contingent staff.
KEY WORDS: Contingent Employees; Salaries; Pensions; Employee Health Benefits; Administration; Outsourcing; Changes in Paid Work.

Saloniemi, A., Virtanen, P., & Vahtera, J. (2004). The work environment in fixed-term jobs: Are poor psychosocial conditions inevitable? Work, Employment and Society, 18(1), 193-208.


This study, which aimed to explore the relations between the psychosocial work environment (PSWE) and the type of employment contract, showed that fixedterm employment indicates neither social exclusion in the working community, nor low job control or high job demands. Moreover, exposure to high strain jobs was more common among permanent than among fixed-term employees, while the latter were more often found in low strain and active jobs. A closer glance at the background variables revealed some significant associations, in particular ageing as a temporary employee appeared to increase the risk of a poor PSWE. All in all, however, the findings do not support suspicions about the adverse consequences of fixed-term employment.
KEY WORDS: Finland; Temporary Employment; Work Environment; Job Satisfaction; Job Characteristics; Quality of Working Life; Employment Changes; Changes in Paid Work.

Silla, I., Gracia, F. J., & Peiró, J. M. (2005). Job insecurity and health-related outcomes among different types of temporary workers. Economic and Industrial Democracy, 26(1), 89-117.


The increase in the numbers of flexible workers in past few decades, has captured researchers' attention. Traditionally, temporary workers were portrayed as being disadvantaged compared to permanent workers. However, temporary workers cannot be treated as a homogeneous group. The authors compare 4 types of temporaries based on their contract preference and employability level to that of a permanent workers. Using a sample of 383 Spanish employees, differences in job insecurity and health-related outcomes were tested. Differences in well-being and life satisfaction were found. The results point out that the temporary workforce is diverse. Therefore, in order to attain a better understanding of the experiences and situations of these workers, it is preferable not to consider them as one homogeneous group.
KEY WORDS: Contingent Employment; Insecurity; Labor Force; Changes in Paid Work.
Starks, B. (2003). The new economy and the American dream: Examining the effect of work conditions on beliefs about economic opportunity. The Sociological Quarterly, 44(2), 205-225.
Recent decades have seen major changes in economic conditions in the US, including large-scale layoffs and downsizing, erosion of job quality for some workers, and increased reliance on nonstandard workers. Researchers have investigated the objective contours of this new economy, but few have investigated the consequences of these changes for popular attitudes about economic opportunity. Using data from the 1998 Indiana Survey of Workers in a Polarized Economy (N = 853), I investigate this new economic landscape and its effects on people's views about economic opportunity. I find that job deterioration and experiences with layoffs and job threats are creating pessimism about the American Dream among workers.
KEY WORDS: Employment Opportunities; Worker Attitudes; Indiana; Employment Changes; Pessimism; Economic Conditions; Work Attitudes; Changes in Paid Work.

Theodore, N., & Peck, J. (2002). The temporary staffing industry: Growth imperatives and limits to contingency. Economic Geography, 78(4), 463-493.


Since the 1970s, the temporary staffing industry (TSI) in the U.S. has enjoyed explosive growth during a time in the market when temporary labor has become increasingly complex and diverse. Rather than focus, as has typically been done, on the wider labor market effects of this sustained expansion in temporary employment, this article explores patterns and processes of industrial restructuring in the TSI itself. Results reveal a powerfully recursive relationship among evolving TSI business practices, the industry's strategies for building and extending the market, and urban labor market outcomes as the sector has grown through a series of qualitatively differentiated phases of development or "modes of growth." The distinctive character of the TSI's geographic rollout raises a new set of questions concerning, inter alia, the links between temping and labor market deregulation, the nature of local competition, the scope for and limits of value-adding strategies, and the emerging global structure of the temp market. This idiosyncratic industry has been a conspicuous beneficiary of growing economic instability--has, throughout the past 3 decades, restructured continuously through a period of sustained but highly uneven growth. In so doing, it has proved to be remarkably inventive in extending the market for contingent labor, but has encountered challenges for expansion in the domestic market. This, in turn, has triggered an unprecedented phase of international integration in the TSI, along with a new mode of development--global growth.
KEY WORDS: Workforce Planning; Temporary Employment; Industry; Labor Market; Changes in Paid Work.

Trudeau, G. (2002). Changing employment relationships and the unintentional evolution of Canadian labour relations policy. Canadian Public Policy/Analyse de Politiques, 28(1), 149-152.


In Canada, employment relationships have undergone considerable changes. Current labor policy, which was designed to match the postwar Fordist model of employment, leaves many workers without an adequate level of social protection. This paper argues that major innovations in the regulatory framework applying to labor are needed. In addition, current policy regarding collective bargaining and minimum labor standards, new policies aimed at ensuring the well-being and the development of individuals throughout their career should be developed.
KEY WORDS: Labor Relations; Labor Policy; Canada; Economic Change; Changes in Paid Work.

Uchitelle, L. (2006). Retraining laid-off workers, but for what? Retrieved March 26, 2006, from http://www.nytimes.com/


Layoffs have been destructive in the lives of millions of Americans over the last 25 years. The cure that these displaced workers are offered - retraining and more education - is heralded as a certain path to new and better-paying careers. However, often that policy prescription does not work, as this book excerpt explains.
KEY WORDS: Offshoring; Outsourcing; Globalization; Unions; Industrial Relations; Changes in Paid Work.

VanEvery, J. (1997). Understanding gendered inequality: Reconceptualizing housework. Women's Studies International Forum, 20, 411-420.


VanEvery argues that the concepts used in research on housework are inadequate for the task of understanding the links between divisions of labor and inequalities.
KEY WORDS: Gendered Inequality; Housework.

Vosko, L. (2000). Temporary work: The gendered rise of a precarious employment relationship. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.


Leah Vosko's book presents the history and evolution of the Temporary Help Industry (THI) in Canada and the regulatory system, both national and international, that developed around it. Vosko traces the shift from the Standard Employment Relationship (SER), which marked the post-World War II period to the current period, where in casualized employment, workers have few rights and can expect or demand little from their employers.
KEY WORDS: Temporary Work; Temporary Help Industry; Standard Employment Relationship (SER); Changes in Paid Work.

Wallis, E., Winterton, J., & Winterton, R. (2000). Subcontracting in the privatised coal industry. Work, Employment and Society, 14(4), 727-742.


Uses J. Atkinson's (1984) flexible firm model of capitalist restructuring to examine subcontracting in the UK's privatized coal industry. A longitudinal study of the coal mining industry has embraced flexible firm strategies, offering insights into the longevity of such strategies, as well associations with increased subcontracting. The evolution of the coal industry since its 1994 privatization are examined, along with the rationale that subcontracting allows employers to meet temporary labor shortages, hire persons with special skills, and reduce costs. Comparing the current extent of subcontracting in the UK's coal industry to the recent past, shows its continued utilization after privatization, a noticeable decline following the 1997 coal crisis, and a return to extensive use by 1998. The 5 major subcontracting companies are examined by the range of their involvement in collieries, types of contracts utilized, their labor sources, and by their company structures. Implications of current trends and current patterns are discussed. 2 Tables, 34 References.
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