The strategic use of contingent workers in Hong Kong’s economic upheaval
Human Resource Management Journal
This research examines strategy in the use and purposes of contingent employment in four retail firms under different economic conditions in Hong Kong. Data from in-depth qualitative case studies found that the four firms - three Japanese and one British - had different organisational responses to the economic conditions caused by the increase of sales before the Asian financial crisis of 1997 and the shrinkage of sales afterwards. One such response concerned the companies’ employment policies, especially in their use of contingent workers. Some tended to have an ad hoc opportunistic approach to the use of contingent workers, while others were more strategic and incorporate long-term planning in their labour utilisation strategy. Implications are drawn relating to companies’ use of contingent employment to changes in the contextual environment regarding their long-term development.
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