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The social dimension of job quality: perceived social support in contrasting regulatory contexts for temporary agency work

Chapter in book
Authors Pille Strauss-Raats
Published in Tommy Isidorsson & Julia Kubisa (red.) Job Quality in an Era of Flexibility: Experiences in a European Context
Pages 200-223
ISBN 9781138561595
Publisher Routledge
Place of publication Abingdon, Oxon
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Sociology and Work Science
Centre for Global Human Resource Management
Pages 200-223
Language en
Keywords Sweden, Poland, comparative case study, multi-method integrative design, interviews, employee survey, regression analysis, temporary agency work, user firm, work agency, employment regulation, segmentation, social support, social relationships, social dimension of job quality
Subject categories Work Sciences, Applied Psychology


Temporary agency workers are commonly reported to face challenges in the social dimension of job quality as existing research reflects practices of social exclusion and stigmatization. This chapter addresses the social dimension of job quality by exploring how differences in the practice of temporary agency work in different national regulatory contexts affect perceived social support for agency workers and their direct-hired counterparts. Using comparative case study design sequentially integrating qualitative and quantitative evidence from interviews, observations and employee surveys, agency workers’ and their direct-hired colleagues’ perceived support from user firm supervisor and coworkers are compared within similar manufacturing facilities of one multinational company the contrasting regulatory contexts of Sweden and Poland. Results indicate that temporary agency workers perceived higher support from their user firm supervisor and coworkers than user’s direct hired employees in both cases. However, differences reflecting the two regulatory contexts emerged after controlling for job characteristics and social integration. The study sheds light on social support as an essential element of the multidimensional and context-specific understanding of job quality, drawing attention to how its need and availability are shaped by other job characteristics in the context of TAW.

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