Predicting temporary agency workers' behaviors

Catherine E. Connelly (DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada)
Daniel G. Gallagher (College of Business, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA)
Jane Webster (Queen's School of Business, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Publication date: 24 May 2011



This empirical study aims to determine whether justice perceptions formed in one context (i.e. the agency or the client) relate to work behaviors in another context (i.e. the client or the agency). To provide a balanced perspective, it seeks to examine both organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) and counterproductive workplace behaviors (CWBs). It also aims to understand how workers' “volition” or their attitudes towards temporary employment would affect their behaviors.


To test the hypotheses, 157 temporary agency workers were surveyed; these data were analyzed with structural equation modeling (SEM). To ensure that the measures were appropriate for the context of temporary agency employment, a two‐stage pretest was conducted.


The results suggest that temporary agency worker perceptions of interpersonal justice from their agencies and their client organizations “spillover” and are indeed related to their OCBs and CWBs in both contexts. Furthermore, the extent to which workers voluntarily chose temporary agency employment related to agency‐directed OCBs, while a preference for permanent employment related to client‐directed OCBs.


This study provides insight into the ways in which perceptions formed in one context (i.e. interpersonal justice) may spill over and affect behaviors in another context. The findings also contribute to the broader literature on how volition affects temporary agency worker behaviors.



Connelly, C., Gallagher, D. and Webster, J. (2011), "Predicting temporary agency workers' behaviors", Career Development International, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 178-194.

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