This article examines the labor control processes being implemented in Italy's recently developed temporary help industry. The social science literature generally predicts that voluntary forms of labor control require genuine compromises between management and its workforce. Based on interviews, observational fieldwork, and analysis of industry documents, the authors compare this expectation against the details of the Italian case. Overall, they find that management is attempting to build consensus not by granting temporary workers meaningful concessions, as the literature would generally suggest, but rather by reframing temporary work as a viable opportunity for upward social mobility, and reinforcing these ideological messages with coercion when needed. These findings suggest that ideological power may play a larger role in the labor control process than previously recognized, and that Gramsci's theory of ideological hegemony deserves greater attention from scholars studying such matters.
- labor control
- temporary help industry
- nonstandard employment relations