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Over the past two decades the use of flexible employment relations has increased in most developed countries. The growth of temporary agency work constitutes a significant component of this development. Organizations are now facing the challenges of managing a ‘blended workforce’, i.e. a workforce consisting of both direct hires and contractors. At a time when Europe, as well as the rest of the world, is facing enhanced global competition and a severe labor market crisis, an understanding of temporary employment practices becomes all the more acute. With the evolution of the use of agency work in the Western world over the past decade, the chapters in this volume show how a focus on the management and organization of temporary agency work can be helpful to see possibilities and pitfalls for the use of temporary employment in the wake of changed employment practices and challenges to labor market stability and welfare structures.
Together, the new case studies presented in this volume provide a wide scope of analysis of the organization and management of temporary agency work, offering a much-needed contribution to the discussion of issues and priorities that guide and shape organizational practices today. Its particular uniqueness lies in the empirical richness and variety of local case studies and the way in which these are related to wider policy aims, ideological shifts, and the dynamics of organizational practice, with a particular focus on the organization and management of ‘blended workforces’.