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Research Companion to Organizational Health Psychology

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

This timely Research Companion is essential reading to advance the understanding of healthy behaviours within working environments and to identify problems which can be the cause of illness. Containing both theoretical and empirical contributions written by distinguished academics working in Europe, North America and Australia, the book covers leading edge topics ranging from current theories of stress, stress management, and stress in specific occupational groups, such as doctors and teachers, to the relationship of stress with well-being. It provides systematic approaches towards practical actions and stress interventions in working environments and a solid theoretical framework for future research. It will be an essential companion to research on psychology and medicine as well as stress.
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Chapter 21: Role-Related Stress Experienced by Temporary Employees

Ellen I. Shupe


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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