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Book part
Publication date: 30 March 2020

Shampa Roy-Mukherjee and Michael Harrison

This chapter addresses the two important themes that we believe characterise how the platform-based gig economy operates. The first of the two themes explores the shifting…

Abstract

This chapter addresses the two important themes that we believe characterise how the platform-based gig economy operates. The first of the two themes explores the shifting boundaries of the triangular business model and its place within the wider, evolving capitalist structure. The triangular business model is the foundation of the platform-based gig economy and consists of the digital platform, the producer/worker and the end consumer. The digital platform acts as the intermediary and provides a market for exchange of goods and services between the workers and the end consumers. The fluidity of the triangular relationship has left the platform-based gig economy beyond the reach of the traditional neo-liberal regulatory system leading to the blurring of employee and employer relations. The second theme is based on the exploration and application of the Marxist concept of surplus value creation and its appropriation within the gig structure. Here, the authors seek to show the exploitation of the worker as a participant in the triangular business model. Given that the worker bears the majority of the entrepreneurial risk and provides capital they ought to receive a proportion of the surplus value created from the transaction. The authors have established the increasing dominance of platforms within the triangular business model and the enhanced scope for exploitation of workers in form of poor remuneration standards due to employee status ambiguity and the appropriation of a disproportionate amount of surplus value flowing to the platform owners.

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Conflict and Shifting Boundaries in the Gig Economy: An Interdisciplinary Analysis
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-604-9

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Book part
Publication date: 10 April 2020

Koen Frenken, Taneli Vaskelainen, Lea Fünfschilling and Laura Piscicelli

We witness rising tensions between online gig-economy platforms, incumbent firms, regulators, and labor unions. In this chapter, we use the framework of institutional

Abstract

We witness rising tensions between online gig-economy platforms, incumbent firms, regulators, and labor unions. In this chapter, we use the framework of institutional logics as an analytical lens and scheme to understand the fundamental institutional challenges prompted by the advent of the online gig economy. We view gig-economy platforms as corporations that organize and self-regulate markets. In doing so, they span two parallel markets: the market for platforms competing to provide intermediation services and the market for the self-employed competing on platforms to provide peer-to-peer services. Self-regulation by platforms also weakens the traditional roles of the state. While the corporation and market logics empower the platform, they weaken self-employed suppliers as platforms’ design constrain suppliers to grow into a full-fledged business by limiting their entrepreneurial freedom. At the same time, current labor law generally does not classify suppliers as employees of the platform company, which limits the possibility to unionize. The current resolutions to this institutional misalignment are sought in “band aid solutions” at the level of sectors. Instead, as we argue, macro-institutional reform may be needed to re-institutionalize gig work into established institutional logics.

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Theorizing the Sharing Economy: Variety and Trajectories of New Forms of Organizing
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-180-9

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Book part
Publication date: 19 August 2021

Kristine M. Kuhn, Jeroen Meijerink and Anne Keegan

This work examines the intersection between traditional human resource management and the novel employment arrangements of the expanding gig economy. While there is a…

Abstract

This work examines the intersection between traditional human resource management and the novel employment arrangements of the expanding gig economy. While there is a substantial multidisciplinary literature on the digital platform labor phenomenon, it has been largely centered on the experiences of gig workers. As digital labor platforms continue to grow and specialize, more managers, executives, and human resource practitioners will need to make decisions about whether and how to utilize gig workers. Here the authors explore and interrogate the unique features of human resource management (HRM) activities in the context of digital labor platforms. The authors discuss challenges and opportunities regarding (1) HRM in organizations that outsource labor needs to external labor platforms, (2) HRM functions within digital labor platform firms, and (3) HRM policies and practices for organizations that develop their own spin-off digital labor platform. To foster a more nuanced understanding of work in the gig economy, the authors identify common themes across these contexts, highlight knowledge gaps, offer recommendations for future research, and outline pathways for collecting empirical data on HRM in the gig economy.

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Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80117-430-5

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Book part
Publication date: 4 July 2019

Patrizia Zanoni

Drawing on the case of the recent Belgian law on the “sharing economy,” this chapter develops a critique of the dominant discourse of platform-mediated work as fostering…

Abstract

Drawing on the case of the recent Belgian law on the “sharing economy,” this chapter develops a critique of the dominant discourse of platform-mediated work as fostering the inclusion of individuals belonging to historically underrepresented groups (e.g., women with caring roles, people living in remote areas, individuals with disabilities, etc.) into the labor market. Exempting platform-mediated employment from social contributions and substantially lowering taxation, the law facilitates platform-based crowdsourcing firms’ predatory business model of capital valorization. The author argues that this business model rests precisely on the externalization of the costs of the social reproduction of this “diverse” labor through its precarization. These costs are not only externalized to individual workers, as often held. They are also externalized to the Belgian welfare state, and thus ultimately both to taxpayers and firms operating through classical business models, which fund the welfare state through taxation and social security contributions. For this reason, the debate surrounding platform-based employment might paradoxically provide a historical opportunity for recovering the Belgian tradition of social dialog between employers’ associations and trade unions. The author concludes by identifying key foci for action to ensure a better protection of workers of crowdsourcing firms including classifying them as employees, revising the conditions of access to social security protection, inclusive union strategies, the leveraging of technology to enforce firm compliance, and fostering counter-narratives of firms’ accountability toward society.

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Work and Labor in the Digital Age
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-585-7

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Abstract

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Platform Economics: Rhetoric and Reality in the ‘Sharing Economy’
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-809-5

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Article
Publication date: 21 May 2021

Btissam Moncef and Marlène Monnet Dupuy

The purpose of this paper is to explore sustainability paradoxes in sharing economy initiatives by focusing on logistics management in last-mile logistics.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore sustainability paradoxes in sharing economy initiatives by focusing on logistics management in last-mile logistics.

Design/methodology/approach

In this exploratory study, a total of 10 case studies were conducted in three categories of companies: anti-waste platforms, food delivery platforms and bicycle delivery companies. Twenty-seven face-to-face interviews with founders and/or managers and contractors (couriers, logistics service providers or volunteers) were the primary source of data collection. The heterogeneity of the sample enabled the authors to build an understanding of sustainability paradoxes in the logistics of sharing economy initiatives.

Findings

The findings indicate how logistics management impacts the sustainability of sharing economy initiatives in last-mile delivery. The authors identify seven paradoxical tensions (five of them social) generated by the contradictions between the organizations' promised environmental and social values and the impacts of their operations.

Research limitations/implications

This exploratory research is based on a qualitative study of 10 cases and 27 interviews from heterogeneous samples; further empirical research is needed to ensure generalization.

Practical implications

The paper increases the understanding of environmental and social paradoxical tensions and awareness of logistics challenges.

Social implications

The paper helps identify ways to reconcile promised values and impacts generated by sharing economy initiatives while managing last-mile delivery.

Originality/value

The results enrich the literature about the paradoxes in sharing economy initiatives by providing illustrations in last-mile logistics and exposing the underlying challenges for sharing economy logistics actors.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 51 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

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Book part
Publication date: 17 October 2018

Georg Reischauer and Johanna Mair

We are currently witnessing a new wave of the digital economy. A prime example is the sharing economy where an organization operates a platform for its online community…

Abstract

We are currently witnessing a new wave of the digital economy. A prime example is the sharing economy where an organization operates a platform for its online community, the sum of individuals who interact to exchange goods and services. The sharing economy blurs several boundaries of economic life – a fact that extant theory on platform organizing has yet paid little attention. We argue to consider two aspects of the sharing economy and revisit related theory to address this lacuna. First, we revive the concept of hybrid community to denote a variant of an online community that mirrors the boundary-blurring nature of the sharing economy. In a hybrid community, individuals interact both online and offline (instead of only online) and consume as well as produce. Second, we revisit the range of strategic responses suggested by extant literature to minimize the dependence of a platform organization on its hybrid community and show that the sharing economy requires management research to adapt and potentially recast existing claims.

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Toward Permeable Boundaries of Organizations?
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-829-3

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Article
Publication date: 10 July 2017

Christoph F. Breidbach and Roderick J. Brodie

The purpose of this paper is to identify and delineate research directions that guide future empirical studies exploring how engagement platforms facilitate value…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify and delineate research directions that guide future empirical studies exploring how engagement platforms facilitate value co-creation and actor engagement in the context of the sharing economy.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors adopt a midrange theorizing approach with service-dominant logic as the integrating meta-theoretical perspective to develop a theoretical framework about service platforms, engagement platforms, and actor engagement in information communication technology (ICT) mediated environments. The authors then contextualize the framework for the sharing economy.

Findings

The authors introduce 20 unique research questions to guide future studies related to service ecosystems, engagement platforms, and actor engagement practices in the context of the sharing economy.

Research limitations/implications

The sharing economy is an emerging phenomenon that is driven by the development and proliferation of engagement platforms. The engagement platform concept therefore provides a novel perspective for exploration of how ICT can be utilized to facilitate value co-creation and engagement amongst interdependent economic actors in a service ecosystem.

Practical implications

The purpose of this paper is to guide future academic research, rather than managerial practice. Future research based on the framework can help guide decision-makers to implement and use engagement platforms more effectively.

Originality/value

This paper offers new insight into the important intersection of ICT and service research, and guides future studies exploring the role of engagement platforms in the context of the sharing economy.

Details

Journal of Service Theory and Practice, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-6225

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Book part
Publication date: 10 April 2020

Eliane Bucher, Christian Fieseler, Christoph Lutz and Gemma Newlands

Independent actors operating through peer-to-peer sharing economy platforms co-create service experiences, such as shared car-rides or home-stays. Emotional labor among

Abstract

Independent actors operating through peer-to-peer sharing economy platforms co-create service experiences, such as shared car-rides or home-stays. Emotional labor among both parties, manifested in the mutual enactment of socially desirable behavior, is essential in ensuring that these experiences are successful. However, little is known about emotional labor practices and about how sharing economy platforms enforce emotional labor practices among independent actors, such as guests, hosts, drivers, or passengers. To address this research gap, we follow a mixed methods approach. We combine survey research among Airbnb and Uber users with content analysis of seven leading sharing economy platforms. The findings show that (1) users perform emotional labor despite not seeing is as necessarily desirable and (2) platforms actively encourage the performance of emotional labor practices even in the absence of direct formal control. Emotional labor practices are encouraged through (hard) design features such as mutual ratings, reward systems, and gamification, as well as through more subtle (soft) normative framing of desirable practices via platform and app guidelines, tips, community sites, or blogs. Taken together, these findings expand our understanding of the limitations of peer-to-peer sharing platforms, where control over the service experience and quality can only be enforced indirectly.

Details

Theorizing the Sharing Economy: Variety and Trajectories of New Forms of Organizing
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-180-9

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 4 July 2019

Martin Kenney and John Zysman

The emergence of the platform economy is reorganizing work, employment, and value creation. The authors argue that the digital platforms are fracturing work itself as the…

Abstract

The emergence of the platform economy is reorganizing work, employment, and value creation. The authors argue that the digital platforms are fracturing work itself as the places and types of work are being reorganized into a myriad of platform organized work arrangements with workplaces being potentially anywhere with Internet connectivity. The authors differ from most traditional narratives that focus solely upon either work displacement, a single type of platform-organized value-creating activity, or David Weil’s concentration solely upon the workplace. The authors recognize that even as some work is replaced, other work is being transformed; new work and old work in new arrangements is being created and recreated. The taxonomy begins with the workers employed directly by the platform and its contractors. The authors then introduce the category, platform-mediated work, which we divide into three groups: marketplaces such as Amazon; in-person service provision such as Uber and Airbnb; and remote service provision such as Upwork. The next category, “platform-mediated content creation,” is complex. The authors identify three groups of activities: consignment content creators that include services such as the app stores, YouTube, and Amazon Self-Publishing; non-platform organization content producers, which refers to the enormous number of workers occupied with creating and maintaining websites; and user-generated content which is the non-compensated value creation that ranges from content uploaded to Facebook, Instagram, etc. to reviews on sites such as Yelp. It is only when work and value creation is considered in all of these platform-based manifestations that we can understand the ultimate dimensions of the platform economy and comprehensively understand its implications for work.

Details

Work and Labor in the Digital Age
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-585-7

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