History of full time vs part time employment

This chapter starts with the definition of both full time and part time employment which goes through findings of the historical background between part time and full time employees. The literature review describes some factors regarding part-time and full-time employees on the variables of job satisfaction and organizational commitment and also reviews some other studies. At the end of this section concludes with a discussion on the work based on developing hypothesis and its implementation.

2.2: Employment Definition:

2.2.1: Part time Employee:

We defined Part-time work as regular wage employment in which the hours of work are less than normal (Thurman & Trahs, 1990). In the United States, part time work is generally defined as less than 35 hours a week. Canada and the United Kingdom normally use 30 hours as the cut off for part-time (Kahne 1992). In France, part-time is defined as at least 20% below the statutory level of working hours (which became 35 hours on January 1, 2000), while in Germany it is less than 36 hours of work per week (Houseman 1995). By contrast, part-time employment in Japan is explicitly related to status within the firm and not to hours worked; indeed, recent Japanese surveys indicate that 20-30% of those classified by their employers as “part-time” actually work as many hours as “full-time” workers (Houseman & Osawa 1998).

The rate of part-time work in Europe is about 16% of the European Union’s total labour force working part-time in 1996 (Fagan 1999) which has a wide variation among countries (Bosch et al 1993). In the Netherlands, about 38% of the labour force, and 69% of women, work part-time which leads (Freeman, 1998) to characterize it as the “only part-time economy of the world, with a finger in the dike of unemployment.” Part-time employment is also relatively common in Scandinavia with over 20% of the labour force working part-time. By contrast, part-time work constitutes relatively small proportions of the labour force in Greece, Spain, Portugal (De Grip et al 1997, Tregaskis et al 1998), and Italy (5% overall, 3.5% of women) (Thurman & Trah 1990). On the other hand, part-time employment is increasing relatively rapidly in Europe, where it has been used as a way to lighten unemployment and is the major source of employment growth since the 1980s (Brewster et al 1997).

2.2.2: Full time Employee:

Full-time employment is a kind of employment by which the employee works the full number of hours defined as such by his/her employer. Full-time employees are getting a lot of benefits that are not typically offered to part-time, temporary, or flexible workers, such as annual leave, sick leave, and health insurance. To make a career, employees are continuing as a full timer and most of the cases, they get more than jobs, and usually carry more hours per week.

Companies are making their own time schedule for Full-time employees which based on the shift the employee must work during each workweek. The “standard” workweek consists of five eight-hour days, totalling 40 hours. While a four-day week generally consists of four ten-hour days, it may also consist of as little as nine hours, or ten hours including a half-hour lunch (full-time being 40, 36, or 38 hours respectively). Twelve-hour shifts are three days per week, thus 36 hours is always full-time, compensating slightly for the greatly increased fatigue which a person experiences on such long shifts. Retail store offers irregular shifts to their employees but are still full-time if the required number of hours is reached.

The fulltime work schedule does differ country to country. The most common full-time workweek in the U.S. is between 32-40 hours. In France it is a government-mandated 35 hours per week. In Germany it is between 35-40 hours per week, and in Denmark it is 37 hours per week. In Australia it is around 35-37 hours per week, and in the U.K., whilst there is no formal definition, it is generally considered to be 35 hours a week or more. Overtime employees’ works more than full time and get extra per-hour wages which does not including in their salary.


The advantages of hiring full-time staffs are uncountable. As most people work only one full-time job, employers are more likely to have control over the employee’s time and to get increased employee’s loyalty from them. Employers also have the peace of mind which will be ensured that someone around to “mind the store” in their absence. It is also possible for a running business which needs day ahead sells, a full time workers also help to improve business by gaining more buyers. By looking and computing payroll taxes, it will find some disadvantages of full time employees. Full-time employees receive benefits such as health insurance,bonus and paid vacation. Will you have to provide these types of benefits to be competitive? Who will do your employees’ work while they are away?

2.3: Historical Background:

Part time employees have been called the ‘missing person’ of organizational research (Rotchford and Roberts, 1982) though part-time employees make up nearly one fifth of the workforce, relatively little empirical research has focused on part time employees. On the other hand, part-time employees account for 17% of the workforce [1] which looks like significant enough to merit attention in the field of management.Research on part time employees is really critical (Feldman, 1990) because:

Part time employees sheer volume

Part time employees appearance as an important labour supply for entire industries such as service and retail industries

Part-time work is an important employment opportunity for three major demographic groups in our society:

Younger workers

Older workers

Female workers.

Why we study prospective differences between part-time and full-time employees? Some of the reasons which includes if differences exist between part-time and full-time employees, existing theories may need to be adapted to account for those differences and different managerial practices may need to be directed to each group (T.W.Lee and Johnson, 1991)

In organization research, it is not only depend on employment status i.e., part-time, full-time but also findings are often generalized to all employees, without regard to the relevance of simplifying from one type of employee to another. Given the increasing role part-time employees are playing in organizations and that managerial decisions and actions may be based on research on full-time employees, it is suitable to statement the question of whether there are significant differences between part-time and full-time employees on variables of interest to organizational research. According to Miller and Terborg (1979), future research should be possible if important differences exist between part-time and full-time employees.

2.4: Some Investigable variables:

If we go through examining the differences between part time and full time employees, we get one results that supports “part-time and full-time workers are more alike than different” (McGinnis & Morrow, 1990, p. 94). These self-contradictory findings lead to the obligation of more research to determine if differences exist or in what surroundings the differences exist. The literature review looks at the studies that have been done using part-time and full-time employees on the variables of job satisfaction, organizational commitment and also reviews other studies that have been conducted looking at differences between part-time and full-time employees.

2.4.1: Job Satisfaction:

The word ‘Job satisfaction’ defines how pleased an individual is with his or her job. It is said that happier people are more job satisfied. Sometimes it is said that motivation and job satisfaction goes for same direction but it is not though there are clear linked between them. Job design aims to boost job satisfaction and performance and this is used by some methods which includes job rotation, job enlargement and job enrichment. Other influences on satisfaction includes the management style and culture,employee involvement, empowerment and autonomous work groups. Job satisfaction is a very important characteristic which is frequently measured by organizations. The most common way of measurement is the use of rating scales based on Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ) where employees report their reactions to their jobs. This MSQ provides twenty questionnaires which is based on five categories that ask to rate satisfaction on 1-5 scale where 1 signifies “not at all satisfied” and 5 signifies “extremely satisfied”.

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On the other hand, job satisfaction also has been defined as a satisfying emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job (Locke, 1976); an affective reaction to one’s job (Weiss, H. M., 2002); and an attitude towards one’s job (Brief, 1998). Job satisfaction has not only an attitudes but also find out for the researchers who can differentiate the objects of reasoning evaluation which are affecting (sentiment), beliefs and behaviours (Weiss, 2002). By definition, we get attitudes by forming our jobs with our feelings, beliefs and behaviour.

Most of the studies that observed part-time employees have focused on the differences in the levels of job satisfaction between part-time and fulltime employees. One study get a results which found that part-time and full-time employees had about the same overall level of job satisfaction; however, when the features of job satisfaction were examined separately, it was found that part-time and full-time employees differ in their patterns of satisfaction (Logan et al., 1973; Levanoni and Sales, 1990). For example,according to Logan et al., part-time workers placed more emphasis on the social aspects of their job than did full-time employees, whereas full-time employees placed more emphasis on aspects such as promotional opportunities. On the other hand, many studies as Hom (1979), Dubinsky and Skinner (1984), Krausz et al. (2000), Lewis (1998), McGinnis and Morrow (1990), and Wetzel et al. (1990) found no differences between the levels of job satisfaction for part-time and fulltime employees.

Conversely, though we differentiate employees by controlling for sex and tenure, but part-time and full-time employees did differ pointedly in their attitudes toward their job (Miller and Terborg, 1979). This study found part-time employees conveyed lower satisfaction with work, benefits, and the job overall than full-time employees, but there were no differences in satisfaction with supervision, pay, or advancement. Edwards and Robinson (1999), Hall and Gordon (1973), and Vecchio (1983) found part-time employees had lower levels of job satisfaction. As from reality, Part time employees have less connection with organization rather than full time employees, it should be expected that part-time employees would have higher levels of job satisfaction because they have less opportunities to mature feelings of dissatisfaction (Still, 1983). Roberts, Glick, and Rotchford (1982); Eberhardt and Shani (1984); Jackofsky and Peters (1987); Wotruba (1990); and Fields and Thacker (1991) found that part-time employees had higher levels of job satisfaction. Conway and Briner (2002) had discovered mixed results with one of their samples having higher levels of job satisfaction for part-time employees, and the other one did not get any results of differentiation.

A Hawthorne study is one of the biggest introductions to the study of job satisfaction. These studies (1924-1933), primarily credited to Elton Mayo of the Harvard Business School, wanted to find the effects of various circumstances on workers’ output. This research has come up with an output which is called ‘Hawthorne Effect’ that showed novel changes in work conditions temporarily increases productivity. On the other hand, this study also found that this increase resulted, not from the new conditions, but from the knowledge of being observed. This finding delivered strong evidence that people work for drives other than pay, which covered the way for researchers to investigate other factors in job satisfaction.

Again job satisfaction also defines by Taylorism which is based on scientific management study. Frederick Winslow Taylor’s 1911 book, Principles of Scientific Management, argued that there was a single best way to perform any given work task. This book contributed to a change in industrial production philosophies, causing a shift from skilled labour and piecework towards the more modern approach of assembly lines and hourly wages. The initial use of scientific management by industries greatly increased productivity because workers were forced to work at a faster pace. However, workers became exhausted and dissatisfied, thus leaving researchers with new questions to answer regarding job satisfaction.

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Next a motivation theory called Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory said that the base of job satisfaction. This management theory describes the five factors which includes physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, self-esteem needs and self-actualization. This model assisted as a good basis from which early researchers could develop job satisfaction theories. It can also be seen within the wider framework of the range of issues which affect an individual’s experience of work or their quality of working life. Some other key factors help us to understand the relationship with job satisfaction such as general well-being, stress at work, control at work, home-work interface, and working conditions at job.

2.4.2: Organizational Commitment:

The word ‘Organizational Commitment’ is defined as a subject matter which is multidimensional in nature, involving an employee’s loyalty to the organization, enthusiasm to employ effort on behalf of the organization, degree of goal and value congruency with the organization, and aspiration to maintain membership (Bateman and Strasser, 1984). Porter et al. (1974) discusses three major components of organizational commitment as being “a strong belief in and acceptance of the organization’s goals, a willingness to employ considerable effort on behalf of the organization and a definite desire to maintain organizational membership”. Furthermore, there are some reasons for studying this organizational commitment are related to the following matters (Batemen and Strasser, 1984)

Worker behaviours and performance effectiveness

Attitudinal, affective and cognitive constructs such as job satisfaction

Employee’s job and role characteristics e.g. responsibility

Employee’s personal characteristics e.g. age, job tenure

It has been noted that managers often believe part-time employees are less committed (Gannon, 1975; Skinner, 1999; Still, 1983; Walsh & Deery, 1999). However, many of the empirical studies that have examined levels of organizational commitment in part-time employees did not find significant differences between part-time and fulltime employees’ level of organizational commitment (Dubinsky & Skinner, 1984; Krausz et al., 2000; McGinnis & Morrow, 1990; Pearce, 1993; Still, 1983; Wetzel et al., 1990). T. W. Lee and Johnson (1991) found that full-time employees had higher levels of organizational commitment than part-time employees when both worked a preferred work schedule. The results were different when they worked unpreferred timetables, with part-time employees having higher levels of organizational commitment than full-time employees. On a study based on organizational commitment, it is found that part-time employees had higher levels of organizational commitment than full-time employees (Jacobsen, 2000; Fields and Thacker, 1991).

2.5: Development of Hypotheses:

If we go through the literature review, we will find that part-time and full-time employees are varied with inconsistent findings regarding part-time and full-time employees. This study examines whether differences between part-time and full-time employees exist on the variables of job satisfaction and organizational commitment and we also empirically examine the construct of inclusion. Therefore, the following hypothesis will be tested:

Hypothesis 1: Part-time employees will have lower levels of job satisfaction than full-time employees.

The study of organizational commitment has also yielded opposing results with some studies finding no difference between part-time and full-time employees on organizational commitment (Dubinsky & Skinner, 1984; Krausz et al., 2000; McGinnis & Morrow, 1990; Pearce, 1993; Still, 1983; Wetzel et al., 1990), on the other hand, some others finding part-time employees had higher levels of commitment (Fields & Thacker, 1991; Jacobsen, 2000), and other studies finding that part-time employees had lower levels of commitment (T. W. Lee & Johnson, 1991). For this reason, we will test the following hypothesis:-

Hypothesis 2: Part-time employees will have lower levels of organizational commitment than full-time employees.

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