Out of the Shadows

1st Edition

Managing self-employed, agency and outsourced workers

Authors: Patricia Leighton Michel Syrett Robert Hecker Peter Holland
Paperback ISBN: 9780750665247
Imprint: Butterworth-Heinemann
Published Date: 6th November 2006
Page Count: 296


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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’s customer relationships, reputation and brand identity.

Yet, remarkably, little attention has been paid to how these ‘non-employees’ are managed, motivated and meaningfully engaged. Management protocol generally sees them as outside the organization’s 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’s 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.

“Looking 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 de

Key Features

  • Highlights and examines the implications of relevant case-law

  • Incorporates recent research and regulation from across Europe

  • Illustrates how core HR functions can build flexible working patterns into an international or cross-boundary workforce development strategy


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

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.


No. of pages:
© Butterworth-Heinemann 2007
Paperback ISBN:

About the Author

Patricia Leighton

Patricia Leighton is Emeritus Professor of Employment Law at the University of Glamorgan, UK and specializes in European Employment Law. She is also a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe, Bruges, Belgium and at the University of Hertfordshire. She has researched and written widely on employment law, especially on employment contracts, flexible working and equal opportunities at work and has undertaken many research projects for UK government departments, the European Commission, the International Labour Office and various public and private sector employment bodies, including the CIPD. Her books on employment matters cover flexible working, employment contracts and health and safety and she contributes to leading journals such as the Industrial Law Journal and Employee Relations and to major international conferences such as convened by the International Industrial Relations Associations, the International Human Resource Management Association and the International Federation for the Academic Study of Management. She is a member of the editorial advisory board of Personnel Today.

Affiliations and Expertise

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

Affiliations and Expertise

Journalist and Visiting Fellow, Roffey Park Management Institute and Poon Kam Kai Institute of Management, University of Hong Kong.

Robert Hecker

After a career in customer service and marketing with an Australian telco, Rob ran his own consulting business working primarily with large businesses and government agencies in training and development. His involvement with the School of Management dates from 1994 and he has been full-time since 2000. As an academic his teaching is primarily in marketing and human resource development. He is a member of the Australian Psychological Society, an associate fellow of the Australian Marketing Institute, and a Certified Practicing Marketer.

Affiliations and Expertise

Senior Lecturer, School of Management, University of Tasmania

Peter Holland

Affiliations and Expertise

Senior Lecturer, Department of Management, Monash University, Australia


“Patricia 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 – and this book goes a long way towards showing how this should be done.” John Raywood, HR Manager, GlaxoSmithKline “Patricia Leighton argues very effectively that good management is about fitting individuals into organizations and understanding the balance between people performance and management.” Nic Stevens, Chief Executive, RSA “Outsourcing 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…Through 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.” Philip Hollowday, HR Operations Manager, Cereal Partners UK “This 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…For 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.” 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