Temporary Agency Work and Globalisation: Beyond Flexibility and Inequality, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Temporary Agency Work and Globalisation

Beyond Flexibility and Inequality, 1st Edition

By Huiyan Fu


264 pages

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Hardback: 9781472447852
pub: 2015-03-28
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315612027
pub: 2016-03-03
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Despite its geographic and industry expansion as part of the ongoing globalisation of service activity, temporary agency work (TAW) is relatively understudied. TAW is characterised by a distinct triangular structure where workers are typically hired by staffing or employment agencies while being ’dispatched’ to firms that use them as a type of temporary or non-regular labour. This agency-mediated labour dispatching, as a newly institutionalised industry, has registered rapid growth rates over recent decades across vast swathes of the globe. To a great degree, TAW is part of a wider structural transformation of work and employment under neoliberalism. Arguably, controversy over the expanding non-regular workforce is at its most acute when it comes to unsavoury labour-selling practices. In this connection, TAW is an exemplary field in which to examine today’s ’flexible’ capitalism and its concomitant phenomenon, i.e. ’inequality’. Featuring holistic and interdisciplinary perspectives, this edited collection provides a comprehensive overview of TAW, in an international context. It reveals how the TAW industry is intertwined with the changing relationship between the state, corporations and labour unions at the institutional-structural level, and also the perceptions and experiences of ordinary workers in everyday practice. By combining global and local forces, macro and micro levels of analysis, and theoretical and empirical investigations, the book offers fresh insights into recurring issues of labour flexibility and inequality, contributes to practical applications and facilitates fruitful cross-national collaborations.


’By taking temporary labour placement as a strategic lens of analysis, the contributors shed new light on the intersections between changes in the macro political economy, industrial reconfigurations and regulatory adjustments, and individual experiences and perceptions. Well written and exceptionally coherent, the volume makes important contributions to the studies of labour relations, globalization, migration and neoliberalism.’ Xiang Biao, University of Oxford, UK ’As all jobs become more temporary, this volume offers a vital, global portrait of the wellspring of this job-degrading flexibilization�: the temporary help agency industry itself. This sobering volume sounds a much-needed alarm about a future work trajectory that must be avoided at all costs.’ Chris Tilly, Director, UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, USA ’It is an edited book with a good collection of research papers from eminent international scholars and authors. It contains diagrams, tables and lots of references that serve as a foundation for further research on temporary agency work. This book is useful for human resources scholars, practitioners and leaders at all levels. Enjoy reading this book!’ Professor M.S. Rao, Amazon.com review, May 2015

About the Author

Huiyan Fu holds a doctorate in social anthropology from the University of Oxford. Working at the intersection of social anthropology and international business, she has previously taught as a visiting professor at Aalen University in Germany and is currently a senior lecturer at Regent’s University London. She is the author of An Emerging Non-Regular Labour Force in Japan: The Dignity of Dispatched Workers (Routledge/Nissan Institute Japanese Studies, 2011).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Human Resources & Personnel Management
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Strategic Planning