Contingent workers' impact on standard employee withdrawal behaviors: does what you use them for matter?

Sean A. Way, David P. Lepak, Charles H. Fay, James W. Thacker

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47 Citations (Scopus)


Previous research has suggested that workforce mixing-simultaneously using contingent workers and standard employees-can negatively affect standard employee attitudes and behaviors. In this study, we consider the impact of two reasons employers choose to use contingent workers (to enhance standard employee employment stability and to reduce labor costs) on standard employee withdrawal behaviors (absenteeism and turnover). We posit that when the aim of using contingent labor is to enhance standard employee employment stability (employment stability contingent labor strategy or ESCLS), the effects on standard employee withdrawal behaviors will differ from when the aim is to reduce labor costs (labor cost contingent labor strategy, or LCCLS). Using a sample of 90 firms that employ a mixed workforce, we examine the influence of ESCLS, LCCLS, and high investment HR systems (HIHRS) on standard employee withdrawal behaviors at the firm level. In addition to supporting the hypothesized direct (positive) effect of LCCLS on standard employee withdrawal behaviors, this study's results support the hypothesized moderating effects of HIHRS on the negative relationship between ESCLS and standard employee withdrawal behaviors and the positive relationship between LCCLS and standard employee withdrawal behaviors. Implications for research and practice and suggestions for further research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-138
Number of pages30
JournalHuman Resource Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Contingent workers
  • High investment human resource systems (HIHRS)
  • Standard employee withdrawal behaviors

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