* Featured in Academy of Management Insights.


The use of agency temps in the workplace has been the subject of considerable research interest, much of it focused on the effects that using temps have on the job attitudes of regular employees. We advance this stream of research by examining the effects of using agency temps on business performance. We find first that when otherwise identical workplaces make greater use of temporary help provided by agencies, the identification of the employee or “regular” workforce with their workplace declines because the perceived status of the workplace declines. This, in turn, leads to lower store-level service quality and sales. This effect is independent of the notion suggested in earlier studies that temp workers threaten the job security and opportunities for advancement of regular employees. Finally, we find that these negative effects can be mitigated by workplace-level strategies associated with shared instrumental values and social integration practices. We examine these relationships using a range of employee and store-level data sources over time from a retail chain.

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