Take Action

Home | Faculty & Research Overview | Research

Research Details

Determinants of Employment Externalization: The Case of Temporary Workers and Independent Contractors, Administrative Science Quarterly


This paper examines what determines the use of temporary workers and independent contractors in a variety of organizations. We hypothesize that four factors affect the use of externalized workers: employment costs, the external environment, organizational size and bureaucratization, and skill requirements. Data from a large sample of employers surveyed by the U.S. Department of Labor were used to test the hypotheses. Analyses showed that each factor affected the use of both temporary workers and independent contractors; however, the effects differed across the two types of workers. Firm-specific training, government oversight, bureaucratized employment practices, establishment size, and requirements for high levels of informational or technical skill had negative effects on organizations' use of temporary workers; variation in employment needs positively affected the use of temporary workers. Variation in employment needs, bureaucratized employment practices, establishment size, and being part of a multiple-site firm had positive effects on the use of independent contractors. We discuss the implications of these findings for the study of the employment relationship.




Brian Uzzi

Date Published



Uzzi, Brian. 1993. Determinants of Employment Externalization: The Case of Temporary Workers and Independent Contractors. Administrative Science Quarterly. 38(2): 195-223.


Explore leading research and ideas

Find articles, podcast episodes, and videos that spark ideas in lifelong learners, and inspire those looking to advance in their careers.
learn more


Review Courses & Schedules

Access information about specific courses and their schedules by viewing the interactive course scheduler tool.


Discover the path to your goals

Whether you choose our Full-Time, Part-Time or Executive MBA program, you’ll enjoy the same unparalleled education, exceptional faculty and distinctive culture.
learn more

Take Action