Over the past two decades the use of flexible employment relations has increased in most developed countries. The growth of temporary agency work constitutes a significant component of this development. Organizations are now facing the challenges of managing a `blended workforce', i.e. a workforce consisting of both direct hires and contractors. At a time when Europe, as well as the rest of the world, is facing enhanced global competition and a severe labor market crisis, an understanding of temporary employment practices becomes all the more acute. With the evolution of the use of agency work in the Western world over the past decade, the chapters in this volume show how a focus on the management and organization of temporary agency work can be helpful to see possibilities and pitfalls for the use of temporary employment in the wake of changed employment practices and challenges to labor market stability and welfare structures.
Together, the new case studies presented in this volume provide a wide scope of analysis of the organization and management of temporary agency work, offering a much-needed contribution to the discussion of issues and priorities that guide and shape organizational practices today. Its particular uniqueness lies in the empirical richness and variety of local case studies and the way in which these are related to wider policy aims, ideological shifts, and the dynamics of organizational practice, with a particular focus on the organization and management of `blended workforces'.
Bas Koene is assistant Professor of Organization and Human Resource Management at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands. He studies human agency and leadership in processes of institutional change and organizational development, especially regarding the organization of work and the management of temporary employment. He has published in journals such as Leadership Quarterly, Human Resource Management Journal, Journal of Organizational Change Management, Personnel Reveiw, Human Relations, and Accounting Organizations and Society. Bas Koene is also director of the RSM Case Development Centre.
Christina Garsten is Professor of Social Anthropology at Stockholm University and of Globalization and Organization at Copenhagen Business School. She is Chair of the Executive Board of Score (Stockholm Center for Organizational Research, Stockholm University and Stockholm School of Economics). Her research interests focus on flexible forms of employment, subjectivity and identity (Workplace Vagabonds). More recent research engages with transparency and accountability in global organizations (Transparency in a New World Order, ed. w. M. Lindh de Montoya; Organizing Transnational Accountability, ed. w. M. Bostroem), corporate ethics (Ethical Dilemmas in Management, ed. W. T. Hernes), and the role of think tanks in influencing policy agendas.
Nathalie Galais is senior Lecturer at the Department of Organizational and Social Psychology at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. Her main research interests include worker-organization relationship in non-standard work-arrangements, effects of contingent work-status on team climate and workers' identity formation. She has conducted research on skill-development and health-outcomes of different groups of contingent workers for Federal Institutes such as the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the Ministry of Education and Research. She has published the results of this research in Human Relations and the International Journal of Selection and Assessment.