Outsourcing is typically the domain of trade economists, whereas nonstandard work arrangements are the province of labor economists. Temporary work is one aspect of nonstandard work arrangements, just as are part-time work, contract work, and other work forms. Although there are many polemics on the positive and negative effects of outsourcing and nonstandard work on productivity and personal well-being, industrial and organizational (I-O) psychologists have paid scant attention to either. One recent change is that research on temporary workers seems to primarily come from Europe.

In the early 1980s, outsourcing referred to the situation in which firms expanded their purchases of products (such as automakers’ buying car seat fabrics) rather than making them themselves. By 2004, outsourcing had taken on a different meaning. It referred to ...

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