More Than a Temporary Challenge: The Characteristics and Outcomes of Contingent Work in China

CGS Brown Bag Series
Mar 30, 2016
12:15 PM to 01:15 PM
157 Burrowes

Dr. Helen Liu, Penn State

While accelerated technological innovation, intensified global competition, and macroeconomic volatility continue to act as powerful drivers for the changing nature of work, many countries are experiencing a deepening segmentation between workers with stable employment relationships and those with temporary work contracts. In the recent report of Global Employment Trends, the International Labor Organization underscores that the unprecedented growth in contingent work constitutes a worldwide challenge for economic recovery and social development. This study draws on both quantitative and qualitative data to examine the rise of contingent work in China. Results indicate that in the presence of weak labor institutions and poor enforcement, Chinese companies adopt contingent employment practices to retain the power to terminate employees at will, accrue benefits through regulatory arbitrage, and promote their own interests when handling conflicting intra-organizational demands. Xiangmin (Helen) Liu is an Assistant Professor of Human Resource Management in the School of Labor and Employment Relations. She is also an affiliate faculty member of the Department of Asian Studies. Dr. Liu received her Ph.D. and M.S. in Human Resource Studies from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University. Her research focuses on strategic human resource management, contingent work, and employment relations in Asian countries such as China and Vietnam.

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