Workforce contracting and performance in knowledge intensive services: An intellectual capital view

Eva Rimbau-Gilabert, Vasileios Myrthianos


Purpose: The performance of service activities of manufacturing companies, in the same way as those of knowledge-intensive services can be affected by the hiring of labor used in them. We study the impact of the use of contingent work (temporary and autonomous) on labor productivity in enterprises of knowledge-intensive services. To develop hypotheses, from the theoretical point of view is taken into account the potential impact of contingent work on intangible capital of the company, as well as the results of the empirical literature.

Design/methodology/approach: Data from a sample of 279 companies in knowledge-intensive services located in Catalonia are analyzed with two linear regression models.

Findings and Originality/value: The results show that the use of non-permanent forms of employment, such as temporary employment and self-employed, have a negative impact on labor productivity. However, there is no quadratic relationship between these variables.

Research limitations: The sample used comes exclusively from Catalonia (Spain), it is not perfectly extrapolated to all businesses with knowledge-intensive services and was obtained during the raising phase of the economic cycle. The design of the study is cross-section. The classification of knowledge-intensive companies is dichotomous, based on the sector they belong to.

Practical implications: Decisions on hiring labor in services with high added value should minimize contingent forms of work, if they want to improve their productivity.

Social implications: A production model that seeks to enhance the services added value services cannot rest on the basis of a labor market in which firms use a high proportion of contingent labor in its workforce.

Value added: This study offers new data to the scant literature that links the use of contingent labor with productivity in the sector of knowledge-intensive services. The growing importance of high-value-added services, both in services and manufacturing companies, and the interest to know the determinants of their productivity justify the need for studies like the one presented.


Contingent labor, intellectual capital, labor productivity, knowledge-intensive services

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Licencia de Creative Commons 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Intangible Capital, 2004-2023

Online ISSN: 1697-9818; Print ISSN: 2014-3214; DL: B-33375-2004

Publisher: OmniaScience