This article compares the utilization of non-standard employment contracts (fixed-term work, temporary agency work, freelance work) in two cases belonging to the private and public sectors, with a view to investigate the distinct logics which guide the use of non-standard work in different contexts. The first part presents a brief overview of the main attempts to define the various types of work flexibility and illustrates the principal lines of the debate on the effects of work flexibility on organizational adaptability and on living and working conditions of the workers involved. The second part describes two concrete experiences: for the private sector, Abb Italia, a large firm in the electro-mechanical industry; for the public sector, a local authority, the Province of Milan. Conclusions highlight some of the most relevant features of these two cases and, more generally, underline the results of the overall analysis of the data and information collected through the field study.
Keywords: Work flexibility; Non-standard employment contracts; Human resource management; Collective bargaining; Public sector; Private sector.