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…
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.
We witness rising tensions between online gig-economy platforms, incumbent firms, regulators, and labor unions. In this chapter, we use the framework of institutional…
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.
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…
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.
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…
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.
The purpose of this paper is to identify and delineate research directions that guide future empirical studies exploring how engagement platforms facilitate value…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
Despite widespread interest in the gig economy, academic research on the topic has lagged behind. The present chapter applies organizational theory and research to compose…
Despite widespread interest in the gig economy, academic research on the topic has lagged behind. The present chapter applies organizational theory and research to compose a working model for understanding participation in the gig economy and how gig work may impact worker health and well-being. Drawing from past research this chapter defines the gig economy in all its diversity and advances a framework for understanding why individuals enter into gig economy. Next, the authors discuss how various characteristics of the gig economy and gig workers can be understood as both demands and resources that influence how gig work is likely to be experienced by the individual. To understand how these characteristics are likely to influence worker health and well-being, we draw from past research on alternative work arrangements and entrepreneurship, as well as the limited extant research on the gig economy. Finally, a research agenda is proposed to spur much needed research on the gig economy and its workers.
Digitally intermediated peer-to-peer exchanges have accelerated in occurrence, and as a consequence, they have introduced an increased pluralism of connotations…
Digitally intermediated peer-to-peer exchanges have accelerated in occurrence, and as a consequence, they have introduced an increased pluralism of connotations. Accordingly, this paper aims to assess user perceptions of the interplay between the sharing, access, platform, and community-based economies.
The sharing, access, platform, and community-based economies have been systematically tracked in the social media landscape using Social Media Analytics (SMA). In doing so, a total material of 62,855 publicly posted user-generated content concerning the four respective economies were collected and analyzed.
Even though the sharing economy has been conceptually argued to be interlinked with the access, platform, and community-based economies, the empirical results of the study do not validate this interlinkage. Instead, the results regarding user perceptions in social media show that the sharing, access, platform, and community-based economies manifest as clearly separated.
This paper contributes to existing literature by offering an empirical validation, as well as an in-depth understanding, of the sharing economy's interlinkage to other economies, along with the extent to which the overlaps between these economies manifest in social media.