Knowledge workers, managers, and contingent employment relationships

Lindsay Redpath, Deborah Hurst, Kay Devine

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to compare knowledge employees' perceptions of contingent work with their managers' perceptions, highlighting potential differences in their respective psychological contracts which might produce dissonance in the employment relationship. Design/methodology/approach - Original research using interviews and scalar data of both contingent knowledge workers and their managers are reported. The study sample consists of 32 contingent knowledge workers and 33 managers in five industries in Canada: two public sector and three private sector. Findings - The results of this study indicate that differences exist between contingent knowledge workers and their managers with how contingent work affects career goals, promotion opportunities, and training and development opportunities. Additionally, differences occur in the constructs that mirror the traditional empirical measurements of the psychological contract. Two major themes are revealed: coping with uncertainty and integration with the organization on the part of contingent workers and managers. Originality/value - This study contributes to research on contingent employment as it compares manager and contingent knowledge worker responses in terms of the psychological contracts formed by each.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-89
Number of pages16
JournalPersonnel Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Canada
  • Careers
  • Contingent workers
  • Human resource management
  • Knowledge management
  • Psychological contracts


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