IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Role of Temporary Agency Work in Different Industrial Relations Systems — a Comparison between Germany and the USA


  • Lars W. Mitlacher


Although temporary agency work has been growing over the last decade, its use differs widely in different industrial relations systems. Drawing on theoretical and empirical insights, propositions are developed on why companies deploy temporary agency work. These propositions are then contrasted with case‐study evidence collected in Germany and the USA to analyse the deployment of agency work in two different industrial relations systems and the role that agency work plays in these diverse settings. The main conclusions of the research are that differences in the deployment of temporary agency workers exist with regard to legal regulation and employers' strategies of labour use while similarities exist regarding the supply of agency labour.

Suggested Citation

  • Lars W. Mitlacher, 2007. "The Role of Temporary Agency Work in Different Industrial Relations Systems — a Comparison between Germany and the USA," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 45(3), pages 581-606, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:brjirl:v:45:y:2007:i:3:p:581-606
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8543.2007.00629.x

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Neugart, Michael & Storrie, Donald, 2002. "Temporary work agencies and equilibrium unemployment," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Labor Market Policy and Employment FS I 02-203, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Peter Cappelli & J. R. Keller, 2012. "A Study of the Extent and Potential Causes of Alternative Employment Arrangements," NBER Working Papers 18376, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Beissinger, Thomas & Baudy, Philipp, 2015. "The impact of temporary agency work on trade union wage setting: A theoretical analysis," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 01-2015, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.
    3. Valeria Pulignano & Andrea Signoretti, 2016. "Union Strategies, National Institutions and the Use of Temporary Labour in Italian and US Plants," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 54(3), pages 574-596, September.
    4. Jahn, Elke Jutta & Rosholm, Michael, 2015. "The Cyclicality of the Stepping Stone Effect of Temporary Agency Employment," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113117, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. Benjamin Hopkins & Chris Dawson, 2016. "Migrant workers and involuntary non-permanent jobs: agencies as new IR actors?," Industrial Relations Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(2), pages 163-180, March.
    6. Adrienne T. Edisis, 2016. "The Effect of Unemployment Insurance on Temporary Help Services Employment," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 37(4), pages 484-503, December.
    7. Beckmann, Michael & Kuhn, Dieter, 2012. "Flexibility vs. screening : the performance effects of temporary agency work strategies," Working papers 2012/03, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    8. Sílvia Lopes & Maria Chambel, 2014. "Motives for Being Temporary Agency Worker: Validity Study of One Measure According to The Self-Determination Theory," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 116(1), pages 137-152, March.
    9. Jennifer Ferreira, 2016. "The German temporary staffing industry: growth, development, scandal and resistance," Industrial Relations Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(2), pages 117-143, March.
    10. Jill Rubery & Annamaria Simonazzi & Kevin Ward, 2010. "Exploring international migration and outsourcing through an institutional lens," BIS Papers chapters, in: Globalisation, labour markets and international adjustment - Essays in honour of Palle S Andersen, volume 50, pages 77-103, Bank for International Settlements.
    11. Peter H. Cappelli & JR Keller, 2013. "A Study of the Extent and Potential Causes of Alternative Employment Arrangements," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 66(4), pages 874-901, July.
    12. Vanselow, Achim & Weinkopf, Claudia, 2009. "Zeitarbeit in europäischen Ländern: Lehren für Deutschland?," Arbeitspapiere 182, Hans-Böckler-Stiftung, Düsseldorf.
    13. Kristina Håkansson & Tommy Isidorsson, 2014. "The trade union response to agency labour in Sweden," Industrial Relations Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(1), pages 22-38, January.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:brjirl:v:45:y:2007:i:3:p:581-606. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley Content Delivery). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.