Out of the Shadows

Managing self-employed, agency and outsourced workers


  • Patricia Leighton, Emeritus Professor, Employment Law, University of Glamorgan and Visiting Professor at the College of Europe, Bruges, Belgium and at the University of Hertfordshire, UK.
  • Michel Syrett, Journalist and Visiting Fellow, Roffey Park Management Institute and Poon Kam Kai Institute of Management, University of Hong Kong.
  • Robert Hecker, Senior Lecturer, School of Management, University of Tasmania
  • Peter Holland, Senior Lecturer, Department of Management, Monash University, Australia

Over half of all people working on behalf of any given organization are typically not their own employees. Some are freelance contractors working in their own right. A significant proportion is employed to provide these services by another firm, under agency or outsourcing service agreements. The services they perform under these agreements are often vital in supporting the organization‚Äôs customer relationships, reputation and brand identity. Yet, remarkably, little attention has been paid to how these ‚Äėnon-employees‚Äô are managed, motivated and meaningfully engaged. Management protocol generally sees them as outside the organization‚Äôs remit or control. The law paints them as victims. This ground-breaking book challenges both these assumptions. Through a combination of pioneering legal analysis and rigorous case-study research, it demonstrates that non-employees are often the organization‚Äôs most important hidden resource. Patricia Leighton and her collaborators highlight the limited good practice that is available, based on examples in large corporations, public sector organizations and smaller firms in a variety of countries. More importantly she clearly sets out the issues and imperatives employers should address, supported by new management concepts and models of effective practice developed specifically for the book. Far from being victims, she argues, non-employees often choose flexible working patterns for their own intrinsic ends and have ambitions, career aspirations and workplace needs that can be responded to and exploited by forward-looking employers. ‚ÄúLooking at the role they now play, these people are no longer marginal, atypical or peripheral as they are still termed and regarded by both legal and management practitioners. They are, however, still in the shadows in terms of the literature available on how best to develop and motivate them. This book aims to rectify this.‚ÄĚ
View full description


Primary: Senior HR practitioners; Employment lawyers specializing; Professionals working for consultants and agencies. Secondary: Postgraduate law and management students; Industrial relations specialists; Policy makers.


Book information

  • Published: November 2006
  • ISBN: 978-0-7506-6524-7


‚ÄúPatricia Leighton has put her finger on an important fact. Non-employees have skills to offer that are intimately bound up with the way they work. We ought to value them more ‚Äď and this book goes a long way towards showing how this should be done.‚ÄĚ John Raywood, HR Manager, GlaxoSmithKline ‚ÄúPatricia Leighton argues very effectively that good management is about fitting individuals into organizations and understanding the balance between people performance and management.‚ÄĚ Nic Stevens, Chief Executive, RSA ‚ÄúOutsourcing functions, the contracting out of services, the use of temporary labour or consultants is common place in organisations, but these new employment relationships are so often taken for granted‚ĶThrough contemporaneous case studies and extensive additional research the authors explore the 'nuts and bolts' of these relationships. An essential reference point for all those involved in both strategic and day to day HRM decisions.‚ÄĚ Philip Hollowday, HR Operations Manager, Cereal Partners UK ‚ÄúThis book fills a key vacuum in a timely way. While such arrangements have many advantages for employers, as Patricia Leighton and her co-authors point out, there are also key risks which need to be managed, some of which such as risks to corporate reputation, many organisations have yet to come to grips with‚ĶFor HRM, this presents both challenges and opportunities. The authors draw on their research to provide an overview of some of the key issues which HR professionals need to consider and illustrate their case with a wide variety of case studies and practical examples which bring the issues and their solutions vividly to life.‚ÄĚ Linda Holbeche, Director of Consultancy and Leadership, The Work Foundation "Sustaining an organisation's performance, reputation and brand is not only important for those that work within the organisation but also is an important element for the often forgotten 'non-employees', that is those people who do not generally fall under the traditional HRM remit. Leighton, Syrett, Hecker and Holland address the oversight in this important and invigorating text." Professor Michael Sheehan, Head, Department of Leadership, Learning and Management, Business School, University of Glamorgan

Table of Contents

Introducing the topic; Context and evidence: the rise of the non-employee; Matching strategic and employment needs; Recruiting and preparing for non-employees; People management and non-employees; Regulating the use of non-employees; Contracts and the use of non-employees; Employment relations and related issues; Health and safety; Reflections and futures.