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Contingent Workforce Phenomenon Research Paper

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Updated: Dec 24th, 2020


Arguably, one of the most fluid, versatile, and quickly developing aspects of the contemporary economic system is the labor market. The majority of scholars, who focus on studying the concepts and phenomena related to the labor market, largely recognize that the several trends could be evidently observed in the structure of the modern workforce. One of such trends is the use of a contingent workforce by corporations and various other employers as well.

In general, the concept of contingent workforce refers to the specific approach of the work arrangement when an organization employs temporary workers on demand. On the one hand, there are numerous advantages of such approach; however, it is also possible to observe that different problems are related to this area of concern.

Therefore, this paper is intended to analyze the topic under discussion with the purpose of understanding its structure as well as its positive and negative impact on contingent workers, their employers, and the labor market and economy as a whole. Then, it would be appropriate to use the studied concepts in the context of the student’s experience. Additionally, the paper aims to address future implications and organizational recommendation related to the implementation of the contingent workforce.

Analysis of the Contingent Workforce Phenomenon

As it was already mentioned, the use of the contingent workforce is an ongoing trend in the current labor market. In overall, the phenomenon of contingent workforce emerged as the organizational tool to fulfill the seasonal demand in workers.

However, this approach evolved during the decades, and currently, the contingent workforce is largely recognized as a highly powerful and efficient method of creating a more flexible work scheduling, reducing risks and costs, and gaining the competitive advantage. It is mentioned by Dokko, Mumford, and Schanzenbach (2015) that the “proliferation of nontraditional and contingent employment relationships, fostered in part by new technology platforms, creates new opportunities, but also new regulatory, legal, and public policy challenges” (p. 1). Thus, it is apparent that the concept under consideration is largely recognized by the contemporary scholars as a promising, yet highly challenging approach to the labor force management.

Moreover, it is possible to mention that the vast employment of contingent workers indicate the emergence of what is called the gig economy. For example, Tran and Sokas (2017) argue that the “gig economy describes forms of contingent work arrangements that require digital platforms, representing an evolution in contingent work, both in moving up the educational scale and in increased visibility” (p. e63).

Additionally, Dokko t al. (2015) also recognize the emergence of the identified phenomenon, stating that “the “online gig” or “on-demand” economy, where work is taking place in a series of one-off gigs, rather than in an ongoing relationship with a single employer” is currently being employed (p. 1). The emergence of this concept reflects the overall changes in the contemporary society.

The use of the contingent labor force could vary significantly, especially in the recent decade, as this approach to work arrangement has gained wide popularity. To exemplify this fact, it is possible to reference the article by Dokko et al. (2015), in which it is stated that in such spheres as cleaning, handiwork, shopping, cooking, driving, and landscaping, customers prefer the use of the contingent, on-demand services.

Also, Dokko et al. (2015) argue that, on the large-scale, the rapid development of the contingent workforce market is the positive reaction of the economic system to the Great Recession, as it improves job growth and household incomes of numerous people in the United States. Additionally, Stirpe, Bonache, and Revilla (2014) mention that “a higher incidence of contingent labor diminishes the productivity payoff” associated with the use of high-performance work systems (p. 1334). Moreover, as the article by Tran and Sokas (2017) indicates, contingent workers are subjects to a set of various specific health disparities and insecurities that are often not addressed properly.

Application of Concepts and Research to Student and Employer Experience

It is stated with certainty that studying the phenomenon of the contingent workforce is highly important for me as a student. Primarily, it should be mentioned that this topic is of high importance for me due to the fact that the significance of contingent labor force for the contemporary market is evidently recognized by scholars and theorists as one of the driving factors of the current economy. Secondly, I should also observe that I had a personal experience as a contingent worker as I did some freelance work online. In general, this experience was a vast improvement in my skills. However, it is also possible to describe contingent employment as a challenging task as contingent employees are treated considerably different from ordinary workers in terms of job requirements.

Future Implications of the Topic Under Consideration

Considering future implications of the use of the contingent workforce, it could be predicted that this trend is not likely to decrease its impact on the contemporary economy, Instead, the growing number of contingent workers, as well as changes in the structure of certain industries, are expected. In general, the nature of the employer-employee relationships is projected to evolve in the near future. Dokko et al. (2015) indicate that “this innovative form of work [contingent workforce] can provide new employment opportunities and flexibility that workers in the new economy highly value” (p. 6). Also, Tran and Sokas (2017) state that it is essential to address the health needs of the growing sector of the gig economy, as it is projected to be continuously growing.

Organizational Recommendations for the Improvement of Contingent Workforce Policies

Regarding the recommendations that could be given to organizations in order to improve their approach to the use of the contingent workforce, it is possible to mention several approaches. Most importantly, contemporary organizations should work toward developing a more comprehensive regulatory system related to the contingent labor force, that would address current legal challenges (Dokko et al., 2015).

Also, it is apparent from the study by Tran and Sokas (2017) that a more inclusive and diversified approach to managing the occupational health of the gig economy workers should be developed. Also, it is recommended that organizations should not rely solely on the use of the contingent labor force, as various factors such as the type of industry and its current state have a significant impact on the overall outcomes of the use of this type of labor force.


It is apparent from the discussion provided in this paper that the contingent workforce is highly significant and rapidly evolving form of the contemporary labor market. The academic literature on the topic largely recognizes the positive impact of this form of the labor force. However, the development of the phenomenon under consideration is far from its final form. The primary claim of this paper is that it is essential to continuously improve regulatory and legal norms related to the contingent workforce.


Dokko, J., Mumford, M., & Schanzenbach, D. W. (2015). . Web.

Stirpe, L., Bonache, J., & Revilla, A. (2014). Differentiating the workforce: The performance effects of using contingent labor in a context of high-performance work systems. Journal of Business Research, 67(7), 1334-1341.

Tran, M., & Sokas, R. K. (2017). The gig economy and contingent work: An occupational health assessment. Journal of occupational and environmental medicine, 59(4), e63-e66.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Contingent Workforce Phenomenon'. 24 December.

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