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Entrepreneurial Firm Use Patterns

The use patterns of contingent resources in entrepreneurial firms can be characterized as boundaryless.  There is no intended strategy to seal off certain parts of the firm from contingent resources.  While larger firms may attempt to protect core areas from contingent work, entrepreneurial firms cannot because they are motivated more by necessity, as discussed above. While these firms may express the desire to keep key positions in the hands of full–time employees, they often express frustration that they cannot do so, given their time constraints.  As a result, contingent resources can often be found in very sensitive, core areas of the firm.

In addition, these individuals are often indistinguishable from full–time employees.  They are less likely to be segregated physically from full–time employees or segregated by assignment
 to distinct tasks that do not require mutual interdependency between contingent and full–time individuals.  Assignments are less structured than those in non–entrepreneurial firms.  These individuals are both formally and informally integrated into the organization.

...when I first got here, I couldn’t tell who was contract and who was regular.  I only started to figure it out when I was doing some accounting stuff...The mental conception of independents and regular employees was really the same.  I didn’t even know without going through all of the records to figure it out.
Operations Manager at start–up software firm (HI)

There’s no real difference (between contractors and full–time employees).  They are all use the same equipment, have the same access—there’s no real distinction.  Our Art Director is a good example...
Director of Human Resources at start–up software firm (HE)

In addition, contingent work arrangements are often conceived of as mutual sniff tests.  Accordingly, entrepreneurial firms are very cognizant of the contributions of contingent individuals.  They also may encourage informal integration of these individuals and are more likely to extend offers of full–time employment to contingent individuals.  The contingent individuals, conversely, may be interested in assessing whether the firm's project has sufficient market potential to warrant accepting a traditional employment arrangement.

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