Exploring the quality performance implications of temporary workers: the importance of process capabilities

Frank Wiengarten, George Onofrei, Brian Fynes, P Humphreys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current pandemic with its associated economic downturn has intensified the pressures on companies to produce quality offerings with an increased pressure on cost controls. Across industries companies have reduced their costs by enhancing their ability to operate flexibly, through increasing the use of temporary workers. However, such a reliance on temporary workers is generally associated with deteriorating quality. In order to untangle the relationship between quality and temporary workers we address the following research questions: 1. What are the quality performance implications of employing temporary workers? and 2. Can process capabilities eliminate the potential quality performance deterioration that are due to temporary workers? Process capabilities are conceptualized through the plant’s level of of-the-art manufacturing processes technology. To address our research questions, we utilize survey data collected through the Global Manufacturing Research Group. The results suggest that an increased usage of temporary workers significantly increases reject rates and customer returns. Furthermore, we identified that managers cannot rely on their processes to safeguard them from quality performance deterioration, when employing temporary workers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 22 Jul 2021


  • Quality performance
  • temporary workers
  • process capability
  • volume flexibility


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