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On the transferability of ‘traditional’ satisfaction theory to non-traditional employment relationships : temp agency work satisfaction.

Torka, N. and Schyns, B. (2007) 'On the transferability of ‘traditional’ satisfaction theory to non-traditional employment relationships : temp agency work satisfaction.', Employee relations., 29 (5). pp. 440-457.


Purpose – The main purpose of this paper is to identify sources of temp agency work satisfaction and discuss whether or not these sources differ from those well-known to traditional satisfaction research (i.e. those appropriate for employees with a permanent contract). Design/methodology/approach – The paper is a qualitative study (semi-structured interviews and fieldwork) among low and medium skilled metalworkers (welders and fitters) in two Dutch companies. The authors were able to identify sources for temp agency work satisfaction: organizational conditions, central personality constructs, labour market experiences, and layoff experiences. Findings – The findings in the paper conclude that satisfaction theory is transferable to temp agency workers, but that future satisfaction research should include less studied factors such as labour market and layoff experiences, as well. Research limitations/implications – The paper is a qualitative case study research within two Dutch companies and involved a certain occupational group: metalworkers. Consequently, the external transferability of the results (i.e. country, occupational group, industries) may be limited. Furthermore, the research approach used does not allow for the making of casual assumptions. For example, it was not possible to address the question as to whether “perceived alternatives” influences “sensation seeking” or vice versa. Longitudinal questionnaire research could help to clarify such issues. Job satisfaction theory in general is helpful in creating a framework for agency work satisfaction when it comes to Human Resource Management policies and practices. However, in order to explain agency workers' satisfaction, there is a need to broaden the traditional psychologically-orientated theories and include aspects related to history and (occupational) sociology such as work experience in sectors where non-permanent employment relationships are common. Practical implications – The paper shows that hiring-in companies can contribute to agency workers' satisfaction and, it is believed, other non-permanent workers such as freelancers and collegial loan-in, by means of equal treatment policies and practices with respect to job characteristics, development and mobility policies, working conditions, direct employee influence, and (fringe-) benefits. Originality/value – In this paper the focus has been on a relatively seldom-discussed phenomenon in employee attitude research: temp agency work satisfaction. The authors focus on sources that can explain the preference for a ménage à trois employment relationship over life-time employment arrangements with one employer, i.e. a traditional permanent labour contract between two parties

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Human resource management, Job satisfaction, The Netherlands.
Full text:Full text not available from this repository.
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Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:No date available
Date of first online publication:2007
Date first made open access:No date available

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