Measuring Preference for Non-standard Work: Relationships with EPL Motivations, Efficacies, Perceived Employability, and Career Adaptability

  • Kang Yang Trevor YuEmail author
  • Kim-Yin Chan
  • Jia Lin


We report the development of a new self-report measure of individual differences in Preferences for Non-Standard Work (PNSW), and an effort to explore relationships between PNSW and Entrepreneurial-Professional-Professional motivations and efficacies, alongside measures of perceived employability and career adaptabilities. Using data collected from a sample of 225 undergraduate students, confirmatory factor analysis showed that individuals can discriminate between five forms of nonstandard work as follows: independent contracting, outsourced work, temporary or part-time work, working in a “start-up”, and external deployment. Correlation and regression analyses revealed that while the preference for outsourced, temporary/part-time work and external deployments were not predicted by EPL motivations, efficacies, or career adaptability factors, entrepreneurial motivation and efficacy were significantly predictive of preferences for independent contracting and start-up work, as one would expect. The preference for start-up work was also weakly but significantly correlated with all four career adaptability factors, with overall career adaptability correlating significantly with start-up preference at r = 0.26. The findings are discussed in relation to understanding individual differences in Preferences for Non-Standard Work (PNSW), and the use of such measures in career counselling.


Nonstandard work Work preferences Employment relationship Job search Independent contracting 


  1. Arthur, M. B. (1994). The boundaryless career: A new perspective for organizational inquiry. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 15(4), 295–306. Scholar
  2. Ashford, S. J., George, E., & Blatt, R. (2007). Old assumptions, new work: The opportunities and challenges of research on nonstandard employment. The Academy of Management Annals (Vol. 1, pp. 65–117). New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Group/Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  3. Barley, S. R., & Kunda, G. (2004). Gurus, hired guns, and warm bodies: Itinerant experts in a knowledge economy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Berntson, E., & Marklund, S. (2007). The relationship between perceived employability and subsequent health. Work & Stress, 21(3), 279–292. Scholar
  5. Bidwell, M. J., & Briscoe, F. (2009). Who contracts? Determinants of the decision to work as an independent contractor among information technology workers. Academy of Management Journal, 52(6), 1148–1168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bonet, R., Cappelli, P., & Hamori, M. (2013). Labor market intermediaries and the new paradigm for human resources. Academy of Management Annals, 7(1), 341–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boswell, W. R., Zimmerman, R. D., & Swider, B. W. (2012). Employee job search: Toward an understanding of search context and search objectives. Journal of Management, 38(1), 129–163. Scholar
  8. Briscoe, J. P., Henagan, S. C., Burton, J. P., & Murphy, W. M. (2012). Coping with an insecure employment environment: The differing roles of protean and boundaryless career orientations. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 80(2), 308–316. Scholar
  9. Cable, D. M., & Judge, T. A. (1994). Pay preference and job search decisions: A person-organization fit perspective. Personnel Psychology, 47(2), 317–348. Scholar
  10. Cappelli, P. (1999). Career jobs are dead. California Management Review, 42(1), 146–167. Scholar
  11. Cappelli, P., & Keller, J. R. (2013). Classifying work in the new economy. Academy of Management Review, 38(4), 575–596. Scholar
  12. Chan, K. Y., Ho, M.-h. R., Chernyshenko, O. S., Bedford, O., Uy, M. A., Gomulya, D, Sam, Y.L., & Phan, W. M. J. (2012). Entrepreneurship, professionalism, leadership: A framework and measure for understanding boundaryless careers. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 81(1), 73–88.
  13. Davis-Blake, A., & Broschak, J. P. (2009). Outsourcing and the changing nature of work. Annual Review of Sociology, 35(1), 321–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. DeVellis, R. F. (1991). Scale development: Theory and applications. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  15. Feldman, D. C., & Bolino, M. C. (2000). Career patterns of the self-employed: Career motivations and career outcomes. Journal of Small Business Management, 38(3), 53–67.Google Scholar
  16. Feldman, D. C., Doerpinghaus, H. I., & Turnley, W. H. (1994). Managing temporary workers: A permanent HRM challenge. Organizational dynamics, 23(2), 49–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fox, J. (2016). The gig economy is powered by old people from
  18. Fugate, M., Kinicki, A. J., & Ashforth, B. E. (2004). Employability: A psycho-social construct, its dimensions, and applications. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 65(1), 14–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gascoigne, C., & Kelliher, C. (2018). The transition to part-time: How professionals negotiate ‘reduced time and workload’i-deals and craft their jobs. Human Relations, 71(1), 103–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hinkin, T. R. (1998). A brief tutorial on the development of measures for use in survey questionnaires. Organizational Research Methods, 1(1), 104–121. Scholar
  21. Kalleberg, A. L., Reskin, B. F., & Hudson, K. (2000). Bad jobs in America: Standard and nonstandard employment relations and job quality in the United States. American Sociological Review, 65(2), 256–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Liñán, F., & Chen, Y.-W. (2009). Development and Cross-Cultural Application of a Specific Instrument to Measure Entrepreneurial Intentions. Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, 593–617.Google Scholar
  23. Manyika, J., Lund, S., Bughin, J., Robinson, K., Mischke, J., & Mahajan, D. (2016). Independent work: Choice, necessity, and the gig economy. McKinsey Global Institute.Google Scholar
  24. Pfeffer, J., & Baron, J. N. (1988). Taking the workers back out: Recent trends in the structuring of employment. In B. M. Staw & L. L. Cummings (Eds.), Research in Organizational Behavior (Vol. 10, pp. 257–303). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  25. Rau, B. L., & Adams, G. A. (2005). Attracting retirees to apply: Desired organizational characteristics of bridge employment. Journal of Organizational Behavior: The International Journal of Industrial, Occupational and Organizational Psychology and Behavior, 26(6), 649–660.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rothwell, A., & Arnold, J. (2007). Self-perceived employability: Development and validation of a scale. Personnel Review, 36(1), 23–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rothwell, A., Herbert, I., & Rothwell, F. (2008). Self-perceived employability: Construction and initial validation of a scale for university students. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 73, 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rothwell, A., Jewell, S., & Hardie, M. (2009). Self-perceived employability: Investigating the responses of post-graduate students. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 75, 152–161. Scholar
  29. Savickas, M. L. (1997). Career adaptability: An integrative construct for life-span, life-space theory. Career Development Quarterly, 45(3), 247–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Savickas, M. L. (2002). Career construction: A developmental theory of vocational behavior. In D. Brown (Ed.), Career choice and development (pp. 149–205). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  31. Savickas, M. L., & Porfeli, E. J. (2012). Career adapt-abilities scale: Construction, reliability, and measurement equivalence across 13 countries. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 80(3), 661–673. Scholar
  32. Sullivan, S. E., & Baruch, Y. (2009). Advances in career theory and research: A critical review and agenda for future exploration. Journal of Management, 35(6), 1542–1571. Scholar
  33. Taylor, T. (2016). All the job growth is in “alternative” jobs from
  34. Trank, C. Q., Rynes, S. L., & Bretz, R. D. (2002). Attracting applicants in the war for talent: Differences in work preferences among high achievers. Journal of Business and Psychology, 16(3), 331–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Verbruggen, M., & De Vos, A. (2019). When people don’t realize their career desires: Toward a theory of career inaction. Academy of Management Review. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations