Saija Mauno, University of Jyväskylä
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Saija Mauno, University of Jyväskylä Anne Mäkikangas, University of Jyväskylä Ulla Kinnunen, University of Tampere FINLAND. The effects of long-term temporary work compared to permanent work on perceived work characteristics and well-being: A three-wave study. TempWell. EUROCIETT MEETING

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Saija Mauno, University of Jyväskylä

Anne Mäkikangas, University of Jyväskylä

Ulla Kinnunen, University of Tampere


The effects of long-term temporary work compared to permanent work on perceived work characteristics and well-being: A three-wave study



LEUVEN, 27.10-28.10. 2011


We lack information whether long-term temporary work has negative effects on employees’ work experiences and well-being

When temporary job contract becomes longer it might have negative effects on employees’ in line with the ’trap-hypothesis’

Eearlier longitudinal studies are few and partly consistent with this reasoning (see Kompier et al. 2009; Mauno et al. 2011; Parker et al. 2002)

In Finland, also long-term temporary contracts are possible, and do exist in certain fields, providing a good starting point to examine their long-term effects

Aim and hypothesis
Aim and Hypothesis

To investigate whether long-term temporary employees report negative, or even positive, changes in their perceived work characteristics and well-being over time

Hypothesis: their experiences on work characteristics and well-being will become more negative over time (trap-view)

Work characteristics: workload, insecurity, control, co-worker support & supervisory justice

Well-being indicators: vigor at work, job satisfaction, job exhaustion, stress symptoms & life satisfaction

Long-term temporary employees, LTT-group, had the fixed-term contract at minimum for 3 years

Long-term permanent, LTP-group, employees formed the comparison group


  • On-going research project ”Are temporary workers a disadvantaged group?”/Academy of Finland

    • For more, see De Cuyper et al. 2011; Kinnunen et al. 2011; Kirves et al. 2011; Mauno et al. 2011

  • Participants represented Finnish university employees from two rather similar universities

  • Temporary contracts are very common in Finnish universities (50-60%)

  • On-line questionnaire was filled out in three waves

    • 2008=T1, 2009=T2, 2010=T3

  • Altogether 926 participants in all three waves

    • Of them, 318 were in LTT-group and 297 in LTP-group: N = 615 (66% of all T1, T2, T3 respondents)

Group differences at t1 in backgrounds
Group Differences at T1 in Backgrounds

* The difference is statistically significant. Typical/higher for this group.

Results on group differences for work characteristics well being
Results on Group Differences for Work Characteristics & Well-being

Analysis of Variance for Repeated Measures. Adjusted for gender, education and age

Note. T=temporary employees, P=Permanent employees

Figure 1 job control
Figure Work Characteristics & Well-being 1: Job control

Figure 2 co worker support
Figure Work Characteristics & Well-being 2: Co-workersupport

Figure 3 justice
Figure Work Characteristics & Well-being 3: Justice

Conclusions 1
Conclusions (1) Work Characteristics & Well-being

  • No decrease among LTT or LTP workers in well-being

    • Are some mediators involved, e.g., job characteristics?

    • Poorer work characteristics may cause poorer well-being

  • LTT workers reported a decrease in co-worker support and supervisoryjustice over time

    • Temporary workers have less job resources when temporary contract is getting a ’more permanent’ arrangement

  • An increase in support at T2 among LTP workers

    • Organizational changes in were launched at T2

    • LTT workers in worse position in organizational changes?

Conclusions 2
Conclusions (2) Work Characteristics & Well-being

  • A very modest decrease in job control among LTT workers, whereas LTP workers showed a very modest increase over time

  • LTT workers reported higher job control compared to LTP workers at each time point (strong main effect)

    • Position might matter: LTP workers are in high-status jobs, i.e., as professors, lecturers, senior researchers, implying more workload but also less job control

    • Strong main effect for workload (P > T) at T1, T2, T3

  • LTT work means more perceived job insecurity

    • Very strong main effect at T1, T2, T3 (T > P)

    • Implications for well-being? Job insecurity is a severe stressor

To be examined
To Be Examined... Work Characteristics & Well-being

  • Does poorer work characteristics operate as mediators between contract type and well-being?

    • More negative changes found in work characteristics

    • See the findings by Kompier et al. 2009; Mauno et al. 2011

  • Does age or earlier temporary career line moderate the relationships?

    • Older LTT workers -> more negative perceptions?

    • Earlier temporary working career -> more negative perceptions?

  • Contracttransitions were not yet investigated

    • 34% of the respondents were excluded from this study

    • Contract transitions complex in multi-wave data (small groups)

Thanks for your attention
Thanks for your attention! Work Characteristics & Well-being


This study was supported by the Academy of Finland (grant numbers 124360, 218260)

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