While staffing agencies are gaining importance in work relationships with the highly skilled workforce, their work relations with highly skilled independent contractors have not been investigated yet. Staffing agencies as labor market intermediaries charge a fee to help independent contractors as well as client organizations to create contracts for services while independent contractors remain self-employed. Besides their growing relevance, their exact role remains unclear. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to analyze the role of staffing agencies in work relationships with highly skilled independent contractors.
The authors applied a mixed-methods design comprising a qualitative interview study with independent contractors and staffing agencies’ representatives (n=29) coupled with a quantitative survey of staffing agencies (n=81).
The analysis shows that staffing agencies are important actors in work relationships with highly skilled independent contractors. However, the relationships can be differentiated into rather standardized ones on the one hand and individualized relations on the other hand. This seems to correspond with differences between sectors.
First, the authors discuss staffing agencies as new intermediaries and highlight their relevance in the negotiation of working conditions. Second, the authors emphasize variations of the role of staffing agencies in triadic work relationships of highly skilled independent contractors in relation to specificities of sectors. Third, the study also adds on organizational support theory and related research.
Ruiner, C., Wilkesmann, M. and Apitzsch, B. (2019), "Staffing agencies in work relationships with independent contractors", Employee Relations, Vol. 42 No. 2, pp. 525-541. https://doi.org/10.1108/ER-03-2019-0159Download as .RIS
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