The double psychological contracts of temporary agency workers

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how temporary agency workers’ job attitudes are influenced by the fulfilment of the psychological contract; a set of employees’ expectations, formed with the temporary work agency and its client: the host organisation. The paper estimated moderated regressions with data collected through an online survey of 352 temporary agency workers employed by a large temporary work agency in Switzerland. Results suggest that temporary agency workers’ job satisfaction, commitment towards the host organisation, and intentions to stay with the temporary work agency relate positively to the fulfilment of the psychological contract by both organisations. Additionally, reported spill-over-effects imply that the fulfilment of the psychological contract by one organisation moderates job attitudes towards the other organisations. Results of the explorative study reveal that future research should consider the interrelated nature of psychological contracts in working arrangements when multiple employers are involved. However, for more generalisable results, a greater international sample, including different temporary work agencies, would be favourable. Findings will help temporary work agencies to better understand how they rely on host organisations to fulfil the temporary agency workers’ psychological contract to attract and retain temporary agency workers.


Author(s) M. Morf, A. Arnold, B. Staffelbach
Language English
Year of publication Sep, 2014
Journal Employee Relations
Volume, Number 36, 6
Page(s) 708 - 726
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