The nature of today’s business world is ever changing, and it is crucial that organizations remain flexible. In order to compete in this fast-paced business environment, companies must be able to react quickly to meet business demands while still keeping an eye on the bottom line, often referred to as strategic flexibility (Nadkarni & Herrmann, 2010). The use of temporary employees also allows organizations to target the specific skill set they need to further their businesses without extending their resources of both time and money by either recruiting individuals themselves or by developing their own employees (Chambel & Castanheira, 2006). Being able to employ a flexible workforce that can meet the direct and immediate business needs can be of great competitive advantage to an organization.

The management of temporary employees is often complicated due to issues of co-employment and differing types of employment contracts. Literature focusing on how to manage this group appears to me limited (Feldman, Doerpinghaus, & Turnley, 1994). Instead the bulk of current literature concerning temporary employees is focused on the perceived differences in the psychological contracts and work behaviors, such as organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs), between permanent and temporary employees (Kraimer, Wayne, Liden, & Sparrowe, 2005; Moorman & Harland, 2002). These studies have often yielded contradictory results, further complicating the issues related to managing this employee category.

Given that the temporary employment industry has increased substantially in recent years with no signs of decline in the near future, the management of temporary employees is becoming increasingly important to organizations (Cappelli & Keller, 2013). Regardless of the type of employment, turnover can be costly to an organization. Surprisingly, there seems to be a lack of awareness concerning the treatment of temporary employees and how it impacts their intent to leave. It is thought that this type of negative treatment could be fueled by the fear of co-employment, which can lead to legal repercussions if both the client and temporary agency share permanent employment roles (Tansky & Veglahn, 1995). Managers need to be aware of how the treatment of the temporary workforce impacts an organization’s outcomes.

The purpose of this study was to examine the unique contextual relationship between temporary employees and the client organization. This study investigated the impact of positive behaviors by the client organization, as measured by procedural justice and perceived organizational support, on a temporary employee’s intent to leave his or her assignment prematurely. The purpose of this study was also to examine whether perceived organizational support (POS) and procedural justice also lead to organizational commitment and organizational trust, which in turn lead to a decrease in intent to leave among temporary employees.

This study examined these constructs in the context of temporary employees by surveying temporary employees who were currently on assignment or who had held an assignment within the past year. Results of structural equation modeling showed that the temporary employees in this study did respond in a similar manner as permanent employees. Results revealed that procedural justice was a precursor of perceived organizational support, and v

that POS was a positive predictor of organizational commitment. It was also found that organizational commitment mediated the relationship between POS and intent to leave. While the relationship between organizational trust and intent to leave was not significant, post-hoc analysis indicated that organizational trust did moderate the relationship between POS and intent to leave.

Date of publication

Spring 5-16-2016

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Ann Gilley, Jerry Gilley, Heather McMillan, Afton Barber


Doctor of Philosophy in Human Resource Development