This article develops an explanatory framework for understanding the growth and development of temporary agency work (TAW) and the related industry. The analysis shows that explanations based on economic logic are helpful in understanding the choice of TAW in general. These explanations, however, fall short when trying to explain the growth of agency work over time or the variation in its use among European countries. To cope with these shortcomings, we extend our explanatory base to include a variety of sociocultural dynamics. Our analysis shows how deep-seated national work-related values ('deep embeddedness') affect the way TAW is regulated nationally. It also demonstrates how differences in more changeable norms, attitudes and practices ('dynamic embeddedness') affect the process of embedding agency work as a societally acceptable phenomenon, providing a basis for its subsequent proliferation.

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ERIM Report Series Research in Management
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Koene, B., Paauwe, J., & Groenewegen, J. (2004). Understanding the development of temporary agency work in Europe (No. ERS-2004-086-ORG). ERIM Report Series Research in Management. Retrieved from