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Training of temporary workers and the social exchange process

Maria José Chambel (Faculty of Psychology, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal)
Filipa Castanheira (Faculty of Psychology, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 10 February 2012



The purpose of this paper is to analyze the role of training to explain affective commitment and exhaustion of temporary agency workers (TAW). There is a general assumption that training relates with a social exchange relationship where employees exchange positive outcomes, not only with inducements received by training but also with the expectation of prospective inducements that will emerge from the fulfilment of promises made by the organization.


The hypotheses were tested on a sample of 393 Portuguese blue‐collar TAW using structural equation modeling.


The hypotheses were supported. Training was positively related to workers' affective commitment and negatively to workers' exhaustion. Psychological contract fulfilment partially mediated these relationships.

Research limitations/implications

The study is limited due to the nature of the sample (TAW in industrial sector with similar training opportunities as permanent workers) and the lack of longitudinal design. Neither does it provide implications for other types of commitment that may be relevant for TAW (continuance commitment, for example).

Practical implications

An important implication of this research is that employers should not assume that training is an investment without return from TAW. Developmental opportunities, while important to all employees, were positively related to TAW' affective commitment towards the organization and negatively to TAW' exhaustion.


The findings highlighted the importance of training in developing positive employment relationships with TAW and the role of psychological contract fulfilment as a mechanism that contributes to explain such relationship.



José Chambel, M. and Castanheira, F. (2012), "Training of temporary workers and the social exchange process", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 191-209.



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