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Temporary Liaisons: The Commitment of 'Temps' Towards Their Agencies


  • Gerla Van Breugel
  • Woody Van Olffen
  • René Olie


The majority of research on organizational commitment has focused on commitment in traditional, ongoing and open-ended relationships. The commitment of employees in non-standard work arrangements such as temporary employment has been subject to much less theoretical and empirical investigation. In this study, we examine the affective and continuance commitment of temporary workers towards their agency and its determinants. We distinguish two groups of determinants: the process by which the temporary worker chose a particular agency and the support provided by the agency. The findings can be summarized as follows: (1) affective commitment among temps is generally higher than their continuance commitment; (2) having more alternative agencies to choose from (i.e., "volition") does not enhance the commitment of temporary workers; (3) a "public" choice for a particular agency raises both types of commitment, whereas the "perceived agency dependence created by the choice" increases continuance, but not affective commitment; and (4) both types of commitment are positively influenced by agency "supportiveness", reflected in the way the agency deals with problems, the career support it provides, and the way it keeps in close contact with its temporary workers. Finally, the results suggest that factors raising affective commitment may 'spill over' to increase continuance commitment. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2005.

Suggested Citation

  • Gerla Van Breugel & Woody Van Olffen & René Olie, 2005. "Temporary Liaisons: The Commitment of 'Temps' Towards Their Agencies," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(3), pages 539-566, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:42:y:2005:i:3:p:539-566

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Roderick D. Iverson, 1999. "Affective, Normative and Continuance Commitment: Can the 'Right Kind' of Commitment be Managed?," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(3), pages 307-333, May.
    2. John Benson, 1998. "Dual Commitment: Contract Workers in Australian Manufacturing Enterprises," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(3), pages 355-375, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Schlese, 2012. "Wie viele Leiharbeitskräfte gibt es?: Zur Vergleichbarkeit der Fallzahlen bei Leiharbeit zwischen SOEP und ANÜSTAT," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 486, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    2. Christian Grund & Johannes Martin & Axel Minten, 2014. "Beschäftigungsstruktur und Zufriedenheit von Zeitarbeitnehmern in Deutschland," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 677, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    3. Nicole Torka & Jan Kees Looise & Stefan Zagelmeyer, 2011. "Ordinary Atypical Workers, Participation within the Firm and Innovation: A Theoretical Endeavor and Empirical Outlook," management revue. Socio-economic Studies, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 22(3), pages 221-239.
    4. Jos Gamble & Qihai Huang, 2009. "One Store, Two Employment Systems: Core, Periphery and Flexibility in China's Retail Sector," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 47(1), pages 1-26, March.

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