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Under which condition does platform work enable or restrain work identity construction of platform workers?

Strack, J.S. (2020) Under which condition does platform work enable or restrain work identity construction of platform workers?

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Abstract:The purpose of this study is to investigate under which condition platform work enables or restrains work identity construction of platform workers. As new structures within the labor market develop leading to the so called ‘platform economy’, a new type of work has emerged (named ‘platform work’ in this study). Thus, uncertainty about work identity construction of those individuals involved in ‘platform work’ still exist within common literature about online platforms. However, clear and successful work identity construction is especially important for e.g. job involvement, extra-role behavior and job performance by considering the aspect that individuals usually spend most of their lifetimes at work, clarity about this identity construction process may offer valuable insights on both an individual as well as organizational level. Thus, the concept of identity work, which describes the process individuals make to attain and hold on identities has been investigated with a case study (namely, an online platform offering online food delivery services by connecting requesters (customers) and providers (restaurants)). Identity work serves as the specific phenomenon within this research that has been examined within the unique context in which it takes place in order to construct one’s work identity. Furthermore, identity work has been analyzed on three main dimensions, namely social, structural and individual-psychological dimensions in order to enhance overall understanding of this complex process. Nine semi-structured interviews with platform workers, two with their managing employees plus five hours of shadowing and one interview with the Account Manager of an external party (responsible for platform workers’ employment contracts) have been conducted. In short, the main findings of this study contradict prior assumptions that the social and structural dimension within platform work may restrict successful work identity development of platform workers. Conversely, these dimensions may actually enable work identity construction as long as certain conditions apply, such as keeping main work based contact groups for platform workers at the online platform. Thus, essential sense-making and sensebreaking processes between the platform worker and the online platform can be ensured within the concept of identity work.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:70 social sciences in general
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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