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Nonstandard work arrangements: Meaning, evidence, and theoretical perspectives

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Author(s): Gallagher, D. G., & Connelly, C. E.

Date: 2008

Resource: In J. Barling & C. Cooper (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of organizational behavior (pp. 621-640). London: Sage.

The primary objective of this chapter is to provide a fundamental overview of the study of organizational behavior (OB) in the particular realm of nonstandard or nontraditional employment relationships. In doing so, attention will be directed to the examination of five broad topical areas. First, and most obvious, will be the effort to define the meaning of the term and phenomenon of ‘nonstandard’ or ‘nontraditional’ work arrangements. Second, attention will be briefly directed to identifying major strategic factors which have been contributing to the growth of nonstandard employment relationships. More specifically, focus will be directed to demand and supply-based factors which enhance the viability of nonstandard or alternative work arrangements. Third, drawing in part from a recent review of the literature in the area of ‘contingent employment’ (Connelly and Gallagher, 2004), we will identify and analyze the topics which have garnered attention by behavioral researchers in the area of nonstandard or alternative work relationships. Fourth, and relatedly, attention will further be directed to understanding the theoretical frameworks which have driven behavioral research pertaining to employment arrangements which lie outside of the traditional or standard employment relationship, and offer some observations about the applicability of existing OB theories or frameworks to the research questions, which have been, and will need to be addressed by behavioral researchers. Finally, based on suggestions of researchers who have begun focusing on nonstandard or alternative employment relationships, as well as our own observations, we will conclude with some suggestions pertaining to a research agenda in need of further development and investigation.

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Related Research Areas: Temporary and Gig Workers