Monash University

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An examination of organisational commitment in the temporary agency worker : agency employment context.

posted on 2017-03-22, 01:21 authored by Cochrane, Robyn
The aim of this research is to examine the organisational commitment (OC) of temporary agency workers (TAWs) to their employing agency. This thesis draws on theory and research relevant to nonstandard work and commitment, and uses a cross-¬sectional, mixed-method research design. In the preliminary study, (study 1), semi¬structured interviews are conducted with agency managers and consultants (N=24) to explore TAW OC from the employers' perspective. In the main study (study 2), mail questionnaires (N= 187) are completed by clerical TAWs, as this occupation continues to be a major area for agency and nonstandard work arrangements (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2009b; Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2005). The theories underpinning the three¬-component model of OC (N.J. Allen & Meyer, 1990a) and subsequent modifications, inform this study's conceptual framework and hypotheses. The findings of this thesis provide five main contributions to research and practice. Firstly, this research shows clerical agency work often involves characteristics typically associated with low level, secondary segment jobs as per dual labour market theorising (Doeringer & Piore, 1971; Piore 1975), although TAWs do not necessarily have low skill or education levels or a transitory relationship with the agency. Secondly, it uncovers a limited range of management policies and practices used by agencies to positively inf1uence TAW OC to agency. Thirdly, this research shows that TAWs report varying levels of OC to agency. Fourthly, the research findings show support for the use of the three-component model of OC in the TAW-agency employment context. The results from the regression analysis indicate support for seven of the 14 hypothesised relationships, and the findings from the content analyses confirm and extend these results. The findings support the theoretical propositions which relate organisational support, job satisfaction, side bets, socialisation experiences, and psychological contracts to the development of TAW OC. The unsupported hypotheses indicate the associations between volition, organisational justice, transferability of skills/experiences, alternative employment opportunities, and the respective components of OC warrant investigation in future research. Finally, there are practical implications for TAW s seeking to proactively manage the TAW-agency employment relationship and agencies seeking to strengthen TAW ~C. The findings could also inform future public policy debates regarding the regulatory approach most suitable for the Australian employment services industry.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Ross David Donohue

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre



Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Business and Economics