New Horizons in Management series
Edited by Alexander-Stamatios G. Antoniou and Cary L. Cooper
Chapter 21: Role-Related Stress Experienced by Temporary Employees
Ellen I. Shupe During the past several decades, the United States has witnessed a signiﬁcant restructuring of the workplace environment, with a trend toward the increased use of externally based personnel (Pfeﬀer and Baron, 1988). Although such externalization has taken several forms, it has been most notably manifested in the use of a contingent workforce, including the reliance on temporary employees to ﬁll positions that traditionally have been occupied by permanent employees (Barling and Gallagher, 1996). Indeed, recent estimates suggest that temporary employees represent about 20 per cent of the US workforce (Caudron, 1994). Furthermore, given the real and perceived structural, political and ﬁnancial beneﬁts associated with the use of a temporary workforce (Pfeﬀer and Baron, 1988), the trend is unlikely to change in the near future. Although psychological and organizational theory related to temporary work is beginning to catch up with the externalization trend, actual empirical work has lagged further behind, particularly in the area of stress and coping. Indeed, with a few notable exceptions (for example, Bauer and Truxillo, 2000; Chen et al., 1999), there has been a clear absence of research examining stress experienced by temporary employees, in part because of the diﬃculty inherent in collecting data from this population. Temporary workers are generally employed on a short-term basis or, in the case of ‘temp-to-perm’ workers, retain their job permanently after passing through an initial probationary period. In either case, it is diﬃcult to gain access to the workers to collect...
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