Alternative Human Resources Strategies In China: The Rise Of Temporary Employment Relationships And Their Performance Effects
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My dissertation focuses on employers' strategies to manage the workplace through the use of alternative employment contracts. It consists of three empirical studies. The first study qualitatively explores managers' interpretations of temporary employment contracts. The findings suggest that the use of temporary employment contracts is not merely a cost minimization tactic; rather, it is a strategic response to capitalize on market opportunities, to increase managerial authority, and to redistribute the economic and legal risks between the employers and the employees. In the second study, I examine the effects of organizational and environmental characteristics on the spread of temporary employment contracts. Results of 102 establishment-level surveys suggest the following findings. First, establishments make greater use of temporary employment contracts when they have access to an adequate supply of skilled labor, when market wage rates are high, and when the product market is geographically concentrated. Second, establishments highly dependent on state resources tend to provide long-term employment opportunities. Finally, as driven by shareholder oriented values and a focus on short-term returns, publicly traded companies are more likely than non-listed companies to use temporary contracts. Furthermore, NYSE listed companies are more likely to adopt temporary contracts than those listed on the NASDAQ and Chinese stock exchanges. The final study investigates the relationship between alternative employment strategies, high involvement HR practices, and organizational performance. Results suggest that establishments that use a majority of temporary contracts are associated with low operational performance. Moreover, high involvement HR practices are performance-enhance because employees are competent and motivated to use their discretionary effort at work. Finally, high involvement HR practices moderate the relationship between alternative employment strategies and performance. In particular, the negative relationship between alternative employment strategies and performances is lower when the company uses more high involvement HR practices.