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Temporary and regular workers fulfill their tasks side-by-side, but in different learning conditions
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2347-2644
2014 (English)In: Journal of Workplace Learning, ISSN 1366-5626, Vol. 26, no 2, 79-90 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The purpose of this study is to identify temporary workers' (temps') expected conditions for learning when they are leased to a client company (CC) for numerical flexibility.

Design/methodology/approach – The analysis is based on a phenomenological approach containing 121 transcribed interviews with employees and managers who were active in more than 10 CCs' in seven industries and from seven temporary work agencies.

Findings – One important finding is that the CC expects temps not to learn something about the surrounding organization, but to limit themselves only to the concrete tasks assigned to them. Another is that temps' opportunities to influence organizational conditions in the CCs seem to be cut off in a strategic way.

Research limitations/implications – Results are valid for interviewees' expressed thoughts and expectations about temps' workplace learning, not about an actual separation between knowledge and actions in the working conditions.

Practical implications – CCs associate temps with learning backgrounds that allow them to perform subordinate tasks, such as routine, instructional, or regulatory duties. They associate regular staff with more advanced learning backgrounds and tasks more directly related to occupation and workplace. CCs could benefit from accepting the exchange of knowledge and competence between temps and the company, rather than neglecting it.

Originality/value – The originality of this paper lies in its contribution to the relatively unexplored topic of workplace learning and leaders and employees' expectations of temps. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2014. Vol. 26, no 2, 79-90 p.
Keyword [en]
Development, learning, adaptation, client company, interorganization, temporary work(ers)
National Category
Educational Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-21619DOI: 10.1108/JWL-06-2013-0037ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84896294771OAI: diva2:706839
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2002-0208, 2006-0880Vinnova, 2009-03060
Available from: 2014-03-22 Created: 2014-03-22 Last updated: 2014-04-16Bibliographically approved

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