This paper critically examines management's recruitment of temporary labour at three U.S. electronics firms operating in the Republic of Ireland. Recent discussions around the flexible firm and human resource management models would suggest that the recruitment of a secondary labour force is a strategic and advantageous practice. This paper is critical of these assumptions. It was found that management's reliance on temporary employees gave rise to a number of contradictions and tensions, and in the end was considered to be disadvantageous. This paper is also critical of the flexibility literature's neglect of employees' response to these initiatives. This paper corrects this shortcoming. The counterposing of `flexibility' and `rigidity' as opposites is also criticised.
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