Regulated Dependence: Platform Workers’ Responses to New Forms of Organizing

Jovana Karanović*, Hans Berends, Yuval Engel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Platform economy organizations often resolve fundamental organizing problems with novel solutions, thereby transforming their relationship with core stakeholders including regulators and workers. Despite the integral role played by platform workers, research on the interplay between platforms and regulatory conditions has yet to take workers into consideration. We investigate how Uber drivers engage with novel forms of organizing across different regulatory structures. Drawing on insights from resource dependence theory, we conduct a topic modeling analysis of drivers’ online forum posts and a complementary qualitative analysis of triangulated data sources. Our findings reveal that workers do not always succumb to organizing solutions imposed upon them; they also actively oppose or supplement them. Importantly, platform workers’ responses vary with the local regulatory structure, which affects the mutual dependency and balance of power between platforms and workers. We discuss implications for the literature on new forms of organizing and the platform economy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1070-1106
Number of pages37
JournalJournal of Management Studies
Volume58
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Apr 2020

Keywords

  • new forms of organizing
  • platform economy
  • regulations
  • resource dependence
  • Uber
  • workers

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