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The Psychology of the Recession on the Workplace

The Psychology of the Recession on the Workplace

New Horizons in Management series

Edited by Alexander-Stamatios G. Antoniou and Cary L. Cooper

An economic recession can affect the aggregate well-being of a population. This highly regarded and timely book shows a significant increase in the mean levels of distress and dissatisfaction in the work place in recent years. In particular, increasing job demands, intrinsic job insecurity and increasingly inadequate salaries make substantial contributions to psychological distress, family conflict and related behaviors. The contributors reveal that the recession has fundamentally altered the way employees view their work and leaders. With employers and employees still facing a continued period of uncertainty, a severe impact on employment relations is a continuing reality.

Chapter 7: Temporary employment, quality of working life and well-being

Alfred F. Wagenaar, Michiel A. J. Kompier, Toon W. Taris and Irene L. D. Houtman

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour, strategic management


The current recession leads many organizations to downsize their workforce in order to optimize their profits. Non-core activities are often outsourced and organizations rely, to an increasing degree, on temporary labour. In this way, they can conveniently manage fluctuations in the demand for their products, without taking on long-term obligations by recruiting workers on a permanent basis. However, the implications for the workers affected by this tendency towards flexibilization of the labour market are unclear. Therefore, the current chapter reviews, integrates and criticizes previous (primarily theoretical) work on the effects of having temporary (versus permanent) employment on workers’ health, well-being and work-related attitudes. Next, we discuss promising venues for future research in this field. In line with OECD (2002: 170), we define temporary employment as ‘dependent employment of limited duration’, thus excluding self-employed and (part-time and full-time) permanent workers.

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