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Wednesday, February 02, 2022

Gig Economies in the Post Pandemic

Good piece in Knowledge@Wharton  ....  How will it change post Pandemic? 

How Workers Create Meaning in the Gig Economy

Jan 31, 2022 Research North America

Wharton management professor Lindsey Cameron was so committed to her research on gig workers that she became one, driving part-time for Uber for three years as she studied how people in the sharing economy give meaning to their work.

Her time spent as both a driver and a passenger helped Cameron forge a deeper understanding with the 63 ride-hailing drivers she interviewed over five years for her formal study. Questioning them, she drew out intimate details about their experiences and learned about the mental games they play to find satisfaction in jobs that are transactional, temporary, and downright lonely at times.

“There’s a cultural narrative that the gig economy is so terrible and so exploitive,” Cameron said. “I honestly came into the research thinking that was true, but that’s not what many of the drivers told me. They really liked it.”

Her paper, “Making Out While Driving: Relational and Efficiency Games in the Gig Economy,” which was recently published in the journal Organization Science, adds to a growing body of research into what is quickly becoming the new normal for many — workplaces without walls, bosses, co-workers, or any of the traditional structures that keep employees engaged and socially connected. As many as 55 million Americans were gig workers in 2017, a figure that has risen during the COVID-19 pandemic. And policy debates continue over whether those workers should be classified as employees who deserve benefits.

“We’re going into a world where there are weaker organization and occupational mechanisms for socialization. You can get hired by a company and work there and never talk to a single person face to face,” Cameron said. “It raises the question of what keeps people in the work game? Hopefully, this paper is helping you understand what it’s like to be literally in the driver’s seat.”

“Hopefully, this paper is helping you understand what it’s like to be literally in the driver’s seat.” .....'

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