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Temporary Agency Work, the Changing Employment Relationship and its Impact on Human Resource Management


  • Lars W. Mitlacher

    () (University of Mannheim)


The increasing use of temporary agency work in Germany has implications for the nature of the employment relationship. The notion of a clearly defined employer-employee relationship becomes difficult to uphold in triangular relationships like in the case of temporary agency work where the agencies employees are working at the site of the client company. The blurring of the boundaries of organisations and of the employment relationship leads to ambiguities that affect Human Resource Management. Given the dominance of new institutional economic approaches in the analysis of temporary agency work, it is not surprising that the ambiguities and the effects and consequences of the use of temporary agency workers on the Human Resource Management of client companies have been underestimated and not been explored in detail. This paper wants to close that gap by adding a Human Resource Management perspective to the current debate in order to gain insight on the role of Human Resource Management in triangular relationships. By building on theoretical discussions and empirical studies the implications of the use of temporary agency workers for the Human Resource Management of client companies are analyzed with a special regard to commitment and identification with the client company. Different suggestions how to organize Human Resource Management instruments for temporary agency workers are presented to illustrate the value of a diverse Human Resource Management for different groups of the workforce.

Suggested Citation

  • Lars W. Mitlacher, 2005. "Temporary Agency Work, the Changing Employment Relationship and its Impact on Human Resource Management," management revue. Socio-economic Studies, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 16(3), pages 370-388.
  • Handle: RePEc:rai:mamere:1861-9908_mrev_2005_03_mitlacher

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.

    More about this item


    Temporary Agency Work; Employment Relationship; New Institutional Economics;

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence
    • M10 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - General


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