Academic journal article Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies

The Effects of Part-Time Employees in Supermarkets on Human Resource Practices

Academic journal article Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies

The Effects of Part-Time Employees in Supermarkets on Human Resource Practices

Article excerpt

How might the human resource policies and practices offered to full-time employees be determined by organizational choices to hire part-time workers as part of their staffing strategies? What do organizations do proactively to avoid damaging their work relationships with their full-time employees because of staffing strategies that include part-time employees? As part-time employees are typically a less costly source of labor, full-time employees may see part-time employees as a threat to their job security and a violation of the relational aspects of their psychological contracts. It is proposed that to alleviate full-time employees' concerns, organizations will modify the compensation and benefits packages they offer to their full-time employees to include more security features, thereby improving the relational aspect of their full-time employees' psychological contracts. Hypotheses were tested using survey data of human resource practices for full-time employees in supermarkets across the United States. The results indicate mixed support with a noteably contrarian finding with respect to healthcare. While organizations will reap some financial benefits from the use of part-time workers, they must also be aware of the secondary impacts of these choices on their full-time employees.

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All organizations employ people with diverse abilities and skills to achieve efficient and profitable outcomes (e.g., full-time employees, part-time employees, supervisors, and managers.) To address the needs and motivations of these diverse employees, organizations develop multiple packages of human resource policies and practices for each of their different employees groups. Hopefully, if the varying needs and motivations are met for each of these different employee groups, then they will become productive and satisfied workforces. Organizations must consider the qualities provided by each group and how to best integrate the various skills and availabilities present. The knowledge, skills and abilities available from each group should be directly related to their human resource package. Consequently, each employee group will be offered a human resource package, which matches their employment relationship.

One fundamental part of the employment relationship, which determines, in part, the set of human resource practices for employees, is the degree of permanence that exists between these employee groups and their organizations. The degree of permanence signifies the length of time which organizations and employees are willing to commit to each other. When considering the degree of permanence a wide spectrum of possibilities exist from the traditionally stable, managerial jobs of Internal Labor Markets (Osterman, 1994) to the spot market realities of day laborers. Somewhere in the middle of this spectrum are non-traditional or alternative employment relationships such as part-time or contingent workers, which are continuing to be a steady part of US companies staffing models (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2001). The use of alternative employment relationships seems to result from organizations competitive needs to take advantage of a unique characteristic of this employee group: they are available to work on an ongoing and more flexible basis than traditional full-time employees. Part-time and contingent workers may be used only as labor demands require, relieving organizations from higher labor costs during slower times (Kosters, 1997).

This research analyzes how employing multiple employee groups with varying degrees of permanence in their employment relationships affects the compensation and benefits systems offered to these different employee groups. Specifically, these data are used to examine the effects of using part-time workers in supermarkets on the compensation and benefits of their full-time co-workers, supervisors, and managers. It is anticipated that organizations will choose to reward their core employees (e. …

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