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Human Resource Management and Employment Relations - Essay Example

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The idea of a visible and a distinct definition of employment relationships becomes difficult to sustain as changes in the organisation of work made possible by technological enhancements have rendered the boundaries between standard and non-standard employment relations vague and considerably indistinct…
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Human Resource Management and Employment Relations
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Download file to see previous pages It has been referred to as a flexible staffing arrangement (Houseman, 2001), a market-mediated deal (Abraham, 1990), a flexible working practice (Brewster et al, 1997) or more generally as atypical employment (De Grip et al 1997; Crdova 1986). Based on the definitions, all of them imply that non-standard employment is a clear departure from the standard work arrangement. As it is, standard work arrangements are basically linked to full-time positions that are founded on an unspecified contract and are carried out at the employer's site under the employer's control and supervision (Mckenberger, 1985, p. 429; Bosch, 1986, p.165; Talos, 1999, pp. 417-418; Rogowski & Schmann, 1996). Although, international economic changes and modifications have toughened competition and intensified existing ambiguities within firms, the same have exerted greater pressure on these companies to push and aim for bigger profits and more flexible work arrangements.
Generally, there have always been employment relations that did not fit in to the normative prototype of full-time work (Peck, 1996) and this is quite true even for temporary agency work that initially surfaced in the United States after the Second World War (Mitlacher, 2004, p. 9). As a classic example of a non-standard employment relation, temporary agency work entails the externalization of administrative control and responsibility (Pfeffer & Baron, 1988). Temporary work agencies hire workers and employ them out to a client company where they work at the client's premises and direction while the agency charges a fee for the service (Kalleberg, 2000, p. 346). This consequently creates a triangular relationship wherein an employee sets up different linkages with various establishments (Vosko, 1997).

In the past decade, the use of temporary work agencies has been prominently evident in most European business firms and in some commercial organisations in Asian countries (Bergstrm & Storrie, 2003). Consequently, the number of temporary workers in the global labour market greatly increased which correspondingly created a new type of employment relationship within firms. As it is, engaging temporary workers through temporary work agencies has now become an ordinary procedure in all types of work organisations and such emerging trend has been mirrored in contemporary publications generated from the human resource and employment relations community (Beynon et al 2002; Mangan 2000; Carre et al. 2000; Barker & Christensen, 1998; Blanpain & Biagi, 1999; Felstead & Jewson, 1999). Though the open-ended employment contract still dominates, the role of temporary agency work can no longer be ignored.

Obviously, a huge number of organisations are taking advantage of these workers and the nature of the tasks assigned to them is becoming more complex. However, even with this reality, only a small number of empirical investigations have been made on the human resource management of temporary employment and those that exist have not given so much attention to its peculiarities and dynamics.

The temporary employment workforce is theoretically considered as a group consisting of "contingent workers" (Polivika 1986) and the benefits in employing such workers can be ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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