Purpose – To investigate the level of organizational commitment in agency workers compared with permanent workers by taking into account relations between the two groups. Design/methodology/approach – A mixed methods design was employed comprising of a quantitative survey of 157 call centre workers followed by 29 qualitative interviews with permanent workers, agency workers and employers. Findings – Agency workers had a significantly lower level of organizational commitment compared with permanent workers once the relation between agency and permanent workers was controlled. Significant correlations were found within the sample between organizational commitment, being valued and job satisfaction further supported by a hierarchical multiple linear regression. Research limitations/implications – As with all cross‐sectional research causality cannot be confirmed and difficulty accessing call centre workers led to a restricted sample size. The measurement of worker relations needs developing. Further research is proposed to address these limitations and extend the findings. Practical implications – The implication for human resource management is that employers must be aware of the possible adverse influence that agency workers may have on permanent workers and as such try to incorporate agency workers within the organization to support their commitment. Originality/value – Previous studies have found inconsistent variations in the relative organizational commitment of permanent and temporary employees; a counter‐intuitive finding given the precarious employment contract held by temporary workers. This study casts light on these results by controlling for the relation between agency workers and permanent workers.