En Reshaping Work también se incorpora al debate el punto de vista académico y de investigación, acerca del futuro del trabajo y las personas trabajadoras en la era digital.
Los trabajos seleccionados se han agrupado en dos sesiones paralelas, de acuerdo a las temáticas tratadas, para favorecer un espacio de discusión y debate.
📌 Auditorio será moderada por David Murillo (ESADE) con la presentación de los siguientes trabajos:
Autores: Jovana Karanovic (VU Amsterdam), Hans Berends (VU Amsterdam), Yuval Engel (University of Amsterdam)
ABSTRACT: A platform depends on an ecosystem comprised of multiple stakeholders. While each ecosystem member (e.g., worker, user, investor) is important (e.g. Jacobides, Cennamo, & Gawer, 2018; Gawer & Cusumano, 2008), the success of platforms (e.g. Uber, TaskRabbit, Deliveroo) has been primarily attributed to their ability to drive network effects (Shankar et al., 2013; Srinivasan & Venkatraman, 2010). Indeed, platforms operating in the realm of the so-called platform capitalism (Davis, 2016) have standardized their services, enabling replicability across multiple geographic regions.
The approach of standardization has, however, not always worked out. For instance, Uber’s failure in the Asian market has mainly been attributed to strong competition from Grabb – a ride-hailing app that was much better acquainted with the local culture. This points to the fact that adaptability is very important but at the same time very difficult to achieve with platform business models, which on the one hand can use digital technologies to drive network effects in a way that multinationals could not, but on the other hand adaptability becomes increasingly difficult and costly. Put differently, there is a tradeoff between two elements of platform strategy: platform size and platform identity (Cennamo, 2018). Platforms need to worry about both, but usually they invest more heavily in one element, such as ‘size’, which has clearly been prioritized by ‘platform capitalist’ organizations. Their identity, on the other hand, has remained relatively uniform across the regions in which they operate.
However, recent years have seen an emergence of platform cooperatives – platforms owned and governed by its users, workers or both. They stand in sharp contrast to platform capitalist organizations as the strategy they employ is driven by identity and ideological principals. This is reflected in their governance structure of co-ownership and joint decision making, but also in terms of products (e.g. Partago advocates for electric car sharing as a greener solution). Therefore, governance can also affect the two elements of platform strategy: size and identity. Thus, this paper seeks to answer how do platform cooperatives govern its ecosystem comprised of multiple stakeholders and how does that affect platform ecosystem strategy?
To answer this question, this paper employs a comparative case study design of two platform cooperatives, differentiated by the type of network effects they exhibit: local vs. global. Data collection will include interviews with multiple stakeholders, comprised of board members of the cooperatives, workers, and users, as well as politicians and renowned experts on the topic. In addition, secondary data will be collected to complement the findings. To analyze the data, we will follow the comparative case study approach as put forward by Eisenhardt (1989).
This study makes three important contributions. First, this study contributes to the strategy literature more generally, which has called for better understanding of digital strategies (Cennamo, 2018), by unraveling governance structure as an important dimension having an impact on platform ecosystem strategy. Second, this study contributes to the literature on new organizational forms by explaining how different strategies can enable coexistence of a radically different organizational form and ways to achieve it. Finally, this study contributes to the growing body of the platform economy literature, which lacks understanding of alternative organizational forms – platform cooperatives more specifically, which can present a viable alternative to the dominant organizational form in the platform economy.
Autores: Mayo Fuster, Ricard Espelt, Melissa Renau (Dimmons Research Group – IN3 UOC)
ABSTRACT: The platform economy that is, the collaborative consumption and production of
capital and labour among distributed groups supported by a digital platform, is
growing rapidly and exponentially, and has burst onto the main cities of the world,
becoming a top priority for governments around the globe. It opens up challenges
as well as opportunities. From the challenges side, the platform economy occurs
in a regulatory vacuum, as it challenges existing regulations and it is unclear
which regulatory schemes and government competences levels are applied to
the platforms, and with unsystematised policy reactions and uncertainty towards
which policies may be more beneficial. From the opportunities perspective,
collaborative practices are opening up a tremendous potential and opportunity for
economic development, sustainability and public innovation that are limitly or not
One of the sectors in which platform economy provokes major impacts is on
labour. In concrete the platforms around the provision of on-demand delivery
services through couriers are one of the most visible faces of an emergent sector
that it is expected to become a significant source of employment. In this regard,
this proposal aims to provide a global and local overview of the platform economy
and its impacts on labour transformation in cities though the specific case of
platform couriers. On the one hand, to provide a global and comparative frame,
it will sketch an international overview on the courier’s platform case, and on the
other hand, it will focus deeply on the specific local case of Barcelona.
For the global perspective the methodology is based on 13 interviews to platform
couriers from 12 cities (Berlin and Munich (Germany); Padova (Italy); Barcelona,
Madrid, Seville and Valencia (Spain); Paris (France); Bristol, Glasgow, Leeds,
London (United Kingdom)). Regarding the local dimension, the methodology is
based on 20 interviews on perceptions of platform economy to Barcelona’s
experts over the main issues at stake at city and industry level concerning
platform work and platform activities.
Attention is given to analysing couriers and experts’ insights on the impact on the
economic and employment situation in cities, including employment patterns,
labour processes, working conditions and composition of the workforce. It also
includes an analysis on perceptions on issues related to the welfare and social
protection of workers, how platform activities impact on urban socio-economic
process and on policy initiatives and regulations regarding platform labour in
The work presented is part of the European Project PLUS (Platform Labour In
Autora: Anna Ginès i Fabrellas (ESADE)
ABSTRACT: In the context of the sharing economy and the gig-economy, multiple App-based companies have emerged, which have significantly altered the way in which services are provided. Companies like Uber, Lift, Taskrabbit, Deriveroo, Glovo or Amazon Mechanical Turck have altered the essence of the sharing economy, going beyond the idea of exchange of underused goods and services to offer consumer services and goods.
These digital platforms, examples of postmodern capitalism, have introduced new forms of work that have altered the boundaries of Labour Law. Services that were previously provided by employees, can nowadays be entirely outsourced to independent contractors. Since the providers of services are formally considered self-employed workers, they are not protected by the labor and Social Security legislation.
The key to success of these companies is the division of their production in micro-tasks, the externalization of their entire production to a wide number of independent contractors through an App or webpage and the hiring of each service on-demand. Digital platforms create a new market place where consumers and providers of a service can easy interact and sophisticated algorithms allow instant connection of supply and demand. As a result, technology has allowed these companies to avoid hiring workers and crowdsource to provide their services entirely through self-employed workers.
Nevertheless, from the standpoint of Labor Law, the question that platform work arises is the correct classification of service providers as workers or independent contractors. This question has rose significant discussion among scholars and courts around the world. There is practically not one country where one cannot find contradictory positions among the literature or case-law regarding this issue. The United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Spain, etc. all have contradictory judicial and administrative decisions regarding the classification of service providers in the gig economy.
In this sense, the paper intends to contribute to the existing literature regarding the legal classification of service providers in digital platform. The paper argues that most of the platforms acting in the gig economy –Uber, Deliveroo, Glovo, Amazon Mechanical Turk, etc.– act as employers, hence misclassifying workers as independent contractors.
Nevertheless, the main research questions that the paper intends to answer is what is the role of technology in classifying workers in the platform economy. Specifically, the aim of the paper is to analyse what is the role of technology in the business model adopted by digital platforms. On the one hand, technology has enabled digital platforms that allow extremely fast connection between supply and demand and a business model that attributes workers direct control over their working time. However, on the other hand, the use of algorithms in assigning work can be perceived as a form of management and control characteristic on an employment relationship.
The main finding of the analysis is that technology plays a significant role in classifying service providers in platforms as workers. The platform itself must be considered the essential and nuclear infrastructure without which the intermediation between supply and demand could not be achieved. Furthermore, the use of algorithms in platforms acts as a clear form of subordination, as platform workers are rewarded or penalized by the algorithm based on their past activity.
Autores: Melissa Renau (Dimmons Research Group – IN3 UOC)
ABSTRACT: In recent years the platform economy has burst onto the main cities of the world. These new business models usually operate challenging current regulations and advert a change in the future of work. Worldwide there is a lot of debate around the working and juridical conditions of platform workers. In turn, this new working context challenges the traditional social safety net models. Most of the platform economy workers are not considered laboured workers, so they are excluded from social protections attached to traditional safety net models. In this regard, the platform economy could be a field suitable for testing new policies. This contribution aims at putting into perspective this new world of work within the capitalist system while it seeks to offer a new perspective into Universal Basic Income as an interesting empowering tool for workers which impacts go further from the platform economy.
This proposal departs from studying the case of couriers at Glovo and Deliveroo in Barcelona, offering a critical perspective on the tactics, tools and means through which their business model operates. Glovo and Deliveroo are both global companies, operating in more than 140 cities (20 countries) and in more than 200 cities (12 countries) respectively. Each of them are companies of recent creation characterized by following cost-lowering strategies and having received a lot of attention by investors. Despite being different platforms, in terms of the working conditions of their couriers are quite similar. Both operate currently in Barcelona through freelancers. The selection process is fast and easy in both. Couriers select the time slots where they “want” to work, and afterwards the platform, through an algorithm awards the turns depending on their punctuation.
The main data source is a set of interviews to ex-couriers of these companies, active members of the courier’s Spanish union and participant observation. Couriers must wait sometimes a lot of time between deliveries -being even one hour- so they use to wait in places where the frequency of orders is high. This is complemented on observations on worker’s public forums, web ethnography, assistance to different events and secondary literature.
The analysis departs from the idea that these platforms need to regulate the supply and demand of work, and that this needs to be negotiated for every transaction. The result of these negotiations depends on power. When these negotiations result in an unsatisfied part -who did not reach what it considers a fair agreement- the relation is in conflict. To analyse the argument that a Universal Basic Income strengthens the bargaining power of workers it is built a model about conflict social relations that puts especial attention into the workers’ capabilities of raising their voice and going for alternative options. Finally, UBI is presented has a potential effective tool that by increasing worker’s bargaining power, can help to promote fairer working relations in the platform economy.
📌 Sala 1 será moderada por Jordi López (UAB) con la presentación de los siguientes trabajos:
Autora: Carolina Salazar Daza (Flacso, Ecuador)
ABSTRACT: La expansión de la gig economy en Ecuador, abre un amplio campo para analizar la relación entre la flexibilización laboral y los problemas de género. El contexto de flexibilización e inseguridad laboral que ha afectado a la población ecuatoriana en los últimos 30 años, y entre ellos particularmente a las mujeres; cabe preguntarse, en primer lugar, si existe algún tipo de diferenciación por género en la inserción laboral en estas nuevas economías. Es decir, si existen más varones presentes en este tipo de actividades, las limitaciones que enfrentan las mujeres en este sector laboral o si existiría algún impacto sobre las relaciones de género dentro del hogar para familias que dependen de este tipo de economías para subsistir.
A través del estudio de dos plataformas que operan en Ecuador y que han tenido un gran desarrollo en Quito, Glovo y Uber, se pretende explorar los efectos que tienen las economías colaborativas o gig economy en la vida y oportunidades laborales de las mujeres, las limitaciones que encuentran para su incorporación en estos segmentos laborales, y la agudización de la precarización de la vida que llevan implícitas. Como hipótesis, se plantea que dentro de estas plataformas digitales del trabajo las mujeres se encontrarían en menor proporción. Esto se explica por la dificultad de las mujeres a acceder a bienes y tecnología, las responsabilidades naturalizadas que asumen las mujeres del espacio doméstico y el cuidado, la dificultad de atender llamados tanto de entregas de encomiendas como recoger pasajeros en barrios considerados inseguros y en horarios en donde las mujeres se sienten más vulnerables, entre otros. Pero además en un contexto como el ecuatoriano, marcado por desigualdades sociales estructurales, la menor presencia de mujeres en estos trabajos mostraría cómo funciona la división sexual del trabajo inclusive en mercados laborales ya precarizados.
Autor: André Gonçalves Zipperer (Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná)
ABSTRACT: This research sought to verify if the work intermediated via online platform (crowdwork) should be protected by Labor Law as the third type of intermediate relationship between subordinate and autonomous work according to Brazilian legislation. The main hypothesis is that this work relationship, as a result of the transformation of the productive processes of the 21st century, can not be characterized as a classic employment relationship because it has a level of autonomy that is irreconcilable with the managerial power to a sufficient degree for the characterization of full subordination as well as not characterize an self-employed work. For this reason there is a regulatory inadequacy of the two dichotomous definitions of labor relation to provide an effective protection. The need for labor law therefore arises to regulate the position of this worker at the risk of leaving a large number of workers unprotected in the near future. We aim to investigate the characteristics of the work intermediated via digital platform as a reality inserted in a context of 4th. industrial revolution, from a pre-defined concept of crowdworker, and to verify if it fits the classic binary structure of subordination and autonomy. Crowdwork is a result of productive deconstruction driven by disruptive innovations, a desire for flexibility and the so-called «sharing» economy, one of the driving forces behind the 4th. Industrial Revolution. This relationship, which can be classified as online and offline, brings a new paradigm for labor relations characterized from a triangular crowdsourcing relation in which a digital platform connects workers inserted in a «human cloud» and requesters that benefits from the work and the resulting product. The study identifies the incompatibilities of this model with the concepts of subordination and the archaic brazilian legislation itself that can no longer provide sufficient protection to this worker, including in issues of Collective Labor Law. The productive results of the worker’s activity are now joined to both the activity of the platform and the applicant, according qualitative, quantitative and functional criteria. The protection of this new worker, as a result of an unstoppable tendency to virtualize the intermediation of labor relations, must come from the re-reading and reconstruction of the dichotomy inserted at the Brazilian Labour Code and the introduction of a modular tutelage, and this new worker, identified as a «digital coordinated worker» (like the parasubordinate in Italy) should occupy an intermediate tutelage between the autonomous and subordinate worker according to the idea of concentric circles of Alain Supiot.
Autores: Dolors Plana-Erta, Joan Llobet, Marta Viu & Eduard J Alvarez-Palau (UOC)
ABSTRACT: The rise of sharing economy is rapidly changing the way traditional businesses operate. Digitalisation is no longer a future possibility, but a powerful tool that is currently altering corporate operations all over the world. Many start-ups are trying to emulate Silicon Valley’s unicorns, such as Uber and Airbnb, by launching new platforms addressed to disrupt traditional economic frameworks. Accepting these platforms within the broad definition of sharing economy is still a matter of controversy within the academia, but it is a neat reality in the professional environment.
Where there is more consensus is in the lack of available data to study such phenomena. Gig companies are being extremely jealous regarding their business model and, nowadays, data seems to be one of the most valuable assets. Therefore, academics are struggling to formulate adequate hypothesis that rely on actual data, beyond perceptions and intended behaviours. This, as well as the quick volatility of the market, undermine any chance to analyse the real impact of such tendencies in our society with the appropriate detail.
This paper focuses on how new food delivery platforms are impacting the economic and financial performance of restaurants. We distinguished early adopters of ICT technologies from those that still follow traditional ways.
Our analysis relies on data scraped from four food delivery platforms: Glovo, Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats. Specifically, we gathered data of 1.369 restaurants operating in the city of Barcelona in April 2019, both for lunch and dinner meals. We thus created a database with several variables, including name of the restaurant, type of food, rating given by customers, the shipping time range, and the delivery cost.
In parallel, financial information was obtained from the Iberian Accounts Analysis System (SABI) for the period 2012 to 2017. We identified 4.269 companies whose headquarters were in the city and were labelled under the section CNAE 56 (food and drinks services). We gathered 28 different variables; including foundation year, net turnover, procurements, number of employees, operating income, income before tax, working capital, liquidity, etc.
First, we wanted to assert whether restaurants operating in digital platforms had a distinctive performance than those without presence. On the other hand, we also wanted to analyze, in quantitative terms, the kind of restaurant that became early adopter of such technologies. Our research hypothesis, according to OECD Productivity working paper (2016), is that companies incorporating ICT technologies to their day-to-day basis show higher rates of productivity and performance.
In order to test so, we linked restaurants with digital presence with their parent companies. In total 294 matches were made, 94 of which had full information, and could be analysed against the whole sample. We then performed descriptive and bivariant analysis for several accounting and financial variables: productivity, economic profitability, short-term solvency, indebtedness, staff costs, operating costs, operating income, financial result and annual income over sales.
Our quantitative results will show the specific implications of platform economy’s arrival to our society. These effects can be further complemented in the future with qualitative approaches, including organizational changes, investment in IT systems or workers (re)training for an appropriate ICT adoption. In any case, this should encourage a deep social debate in the streets, but also in the institutions, in order to be prepared for reshaping the labour market. Both policy and lawmakers should encourage digitization of small and medium-size businesses to enhance their chances to outlive the second wave of digital revolution.
La creciente importancia de las tecnologías digitales en el trabajo es incuestionable. Tanto así que a nivel internacional se comienza a hablar de gig economy, economía de plataforma o capitalismo de plataforma (Drahokoupil & Fabo, 2016; Forde et al., 2017; Graham, Hjorth, & Lehdonvirta, 2017; Srnicek, 2017). Uno de los aspectos más controvertidos de las plataformas como arreglos tecnológicos que están reorganizando el trabajo, es que, al presentarse como meros intermediarios digitales, no tienen formalmente trabajadores, no asumen los costos de los flujos de demanda, ni pagan impuestos por la actividad que desarrollan (Drahokoupil & Fabo, 2016, Fabo, Karanovic, & Dukova, 2017; Healy, Nicholson, & Pekarek, 2017).
Dado que a nivel normativo nacional e internacional las protecciones laborales están asentadas fundamentalmente sobre la existencia de la relación laboral (Oficina Internacional del Trabajo, 2013; Risak & Dullinger, 2018) el recurso al trabajo autónomo aparece como forma de las empresas de proveerse la prestación de trabajo al margen de las regulaciones laborales (del Luján Charruti, 2013; Muehlberger & Pasqua, 2006; Orsatti, 2010, Todolí-Signes, 2017) dejando a los trabajadores sin las protecciones conquistadas en el siglo XX. Por esta razón, plataformas que reorganizan un trabajo anteriormente asalariado o protegido han estado en el centro del debate público. En particular, las plataformas de reparto rápido a domicilio y de transporte privado han sido cuestionadas a nivel internacional por su modelo laboral que posiciona a repartidores y conductores como como micro-empresarios, dando lugar a sentencias contradictorias entre sí: algunas afirman la relación laboral, otras la niegan.
Desde el punto de vista de los trabajadores no hay una sola lectura. Una parte de ellos reclama la laboralidad, mientras otra, que trabaja sólo ocasionalmente para ganar un ingreso “extra” en un trabajo con bajas barreras de entrada, defiende la libertad para vincularse con la app cuando quiera, en coherencia con las atractivas imágenes de la flexibilidad y el emprendimiento que acompañan la difusión de este modelo de negocios (Srnicek, 2017). Este discurso del emprendimiento ha permeado la sociedad contemporánea (Ainsworth & Hardy, 2008; Rose, 1992), y tiene consecuencias significativas para los individuos, promoviendo activamente una visión particular de lo que las personas son y deberían llegar a ser (Crespo, Revilla, & Serrano, 2009; Crespo, Serrano, & Revilla, 2009.). Así, estas plataformas de trabajo expresan un proyecto identitario en que los trabajadores están llamados a ser empresarios de sí mismos (Ainsworth & Hardy, 2008; Du Gay, 1996) dándole forma a sus vidas mediante las elecciones que realizan (Rose, 1992) y desplegando formas autónomas de monitoreo y control para ser mejores yoes (Du Gay, 1996).
Esta forma particular de individualización de las relaciones laborales puede ser entendida como un proceso de psicologización política del trabajo (Crespo y Serrano, 2012, 2011), que caracteriza el nuevo capitalismo. Una tecnología de lo social orientada a la producción de subjetividades, por medio de la cual los problemas sociales son transformados en problemas personales, mediante el recurso a conceptos y explicaciones de tipo psicológico individual (Crespo y Serrano, 2012).
En esta ponencia analizamos la interface de la aplicación de repartidores o conductores como dispositivos de autogobierno (Foucault, 2002) que enfatizan la responsabilidad individual en la ejecución del trabajo, a la vez que solapa las coacciones, posicionando a los individuos como emprendedores/empresarios en lugar de trabajadores. La aplicación como dispositivo de autogobierno se discute en un marco contextual específico: las diferentes configuraciones societales de España y Chile, especialmente en su dimensión normativa. Esto, pues las regulaciones que aplican a los trabajadores de las apps en cada país definen exigencias y habilitaciones particulares a los sujetos, que cumplen un rol estructurante de su experiencia de trabajo y el modo de comprenderse a sí mismos. De tal manera, las subjetividades laborales de trabajadores de aplicaciones que, en tanto dispositivos de autogobierno les interpelan del mismo modo en ambos países, presentan diferencias significativas, que tienen impactos diferenciados en las formas de acción social disponibles en cada caso.
A la luz de los resultados del análisis comparativo, discutimos la psicologización política como proceso característico de la transformación del trabajo en curso, y sus efectos individuales y sociales en una perspectiva internacional.