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The research studies the strategy in the use of contingent employment in four retail firms - three Japanese and one British - in Hong Kong under different economic conditions, and the purposes of the use of contingent employment. From the data of in-depth qualitative case studies, it is found that the four case firms had different organisational responses to the economic conditions from the increase of sales before the Asian financial crisis and the shrinkage of sales after the crisis, notwithstanding these firms face similar contextual environment of Hong Kong. One of such responses is the companies ' employment policies especially in their use of contingent workers. Some companies tend to have an ad hoc opportunistic response in the use of contingent workers, whilst some tend to be more strategic and had a long-term planning in their labour utilization strategy. Implications are drawn to relate the company’s responses in the use of contingent employment to the changes in the contextual environment regarding the company's long-term developn1ent.


HKIBS Working Paper Series 043-001

(The paper is later published in Human Resource Management Journal, Vol. 11, No. 4, 2001)

Recommended Citation

Wong, M. M. L. (2001). The strategy in the use of contingent workers in Hong Kong: Case studies in retail firms (HKIBS Working Paper Series 043-001). Retrieved from Lingnan University website:

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