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Going global? Internationalization and diversification in the temporary staffing industry


  • Kevin Ward


This paper does three things. First it reviews the existing conceptual work on the expansionary strategies of producer services and argues that while illuminating it has paid insufficient attention to the implications of the internationalization/diversification of temporary staffing agencies, the effects of which are not limited to the temporary staffing industry but also bleed into a host of other manufacturing and service industries. Second, and in light of this, it profiles the internationalization and diversification strategies of leading temporary staffing agencies. It argues that while, on the one hand, the temporary staffing industry exhibits the characteristics of a classic producer service sector, on the other hand, its product--labour--distinguishes it in part from the likes of the accounting, advertising, and legal sectors. Its wider political-economic implications, in this case, are the ways in which agency strategies affect labour markets at a range of geographical scales, and how this is best understood. Third, and finally, the paper argues that the growth of the temporary staffing is the result of, and a contributing factor to, the on-going restructuring of national and urban labour markets. In going about their business, temporary staffing agencies contribute, so the paper argues, to the neo-liberalization of national and urban economies, and in doing so create conditions favourable to their continued growth. Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin Ward, 2004. "Going global? Internationalization and diversification in the temporary staffing industry," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(3), pages 251-273, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jecgeo:v:4:y:2004:i:3:p:251-273

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    Cited by:

    1. Vanselow, Achim & Weinkopf, Claudia, 2009. "Zeitarbeit in europäischen Ländern: Lehren für Deutschland?," Arbeitspapiere 182, Hans-Böckler-Stiftung, Düsseldorf.
    2. Linda McDowell & Adina Batnitzky & Sarah Dyer, 2008. "Internationalization and the Spaces of Temporary Labour: The Global Assembly of a Local Workforce," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 46(4), pages 750-770, December.
    3. Lewin, Arie Y. & Volberda, Henk W., 2011. "Co-evolution of global sourcing: The need to understand the underlying mechanisms of firm-decisions to offshore," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 241-251, June.

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