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Temporary work and human resources management: issues, challenges and responses

John Burgess (Newcastle Business School, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia)
Julia Connell (Newcastle Graduate School of Business, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 1 March 2006




The purpose of this paper is to introduce the special issue volume that examines a range of concerns, challenges and responses relating to temporary workers and human resource management (HRM).


The paper highlights eight key research questions and describes the structure of the issue. The various articles investigate six main areas: the rationale for using temporary workers rather than permanent workers; factors determining types of temporary work arrangements; the rationale for temp workers entering into temporary employment; the nature and extent of the relationship between TWAs and user firms; the relationship between employment regulations and an organisation's labour use patterns of temporary workers and the HR challenges associated with ongoing and extensive use of temporary workers.


Findings varied according to the main focus of each paper. It is evident, however, that no one perspective, public policy or organisational strategy is likely to fit all situations in relation to temporary work and HRM. Many differences exist in the skill levels of temp workers, their demographic characteristics and reasons for undertaking temp work. Likewise, as pointed out by many of the authors included in this volume, there are also differences within user firms with regard to their reasons for employing temps.


There is a paucity of literature examining temporary work and HRM and this issue endeavours to fill that gap and may prompt further research.



Burgess, J. and Connell, J. (2006), "Temporary work and human resources management: issues, challenges and responses", Personnel Review, Vol. 35 No. 2, pp. 129-140.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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