New Doctor Nienke Woldman

Published on
July 2, 2019

Nienke Woldman successfully defended her PhD thesis on competence development of temporary agency workers on May 24th, in the auditorium of Wageningen University.

Today, many employees in organizations are employed via temporary agency work (TAW) constructions. Organizations profit from this form of flexible work, but TAWs themselves often do not appreciate it. This dissertation explored in what ways TAWs themselves and their two employment parties (employment agency and client organization) can increase the benefits from opportunities for professional development, as this helps TAWs to stay employable. The main research question was formulated as:  What is the potential of competence development for improving temporary agency work constructions?

triangular employment contruction (font 24).jpg

The dissertation showed that TAWs’ perceptions of TAW-work are rather traditional: short-term temporary work in which there is no room for competence development. This withholds them from engaging in competence development. Second, it was concluded that there is much diversity among TAWs which is one of the reasons that current policies for competence development fail. Third, we found that there is (almost) no communication between the two employment parties about individual TAW’s competence development. To make better usage of the potential of the triangular relationships among TAWs and their employers, the communication between the three parties should be improved.

Based on these conclusions, it can be stated that a culture change is needed when it comes to providing TAWs with OfCD that contributes to both their short-term and their longer-term career, and when building a fruitful triangular employment construction. This culture change requires stratification of different aspects (further elaborated in this dissertation): (1) a different approach to facilitating TAWs’ CD, (2) a different approach to how these competencies can be managed, and (3) a different approach to the HRD-system. CD needs to be seen both as a means to maintaining a regular joint conversation and remain on speaking terms, and as a goal in itself, to generate a profitable situation for all parties involved. Only then, TAW-constructions can come closer to achieving its ideal.