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When we talk about the gig economy, what do we mean?  Despite growing interest among academics, policy makers, and media commentators, the discussion is replete with different terminology, definitional constructs and contested claims about the ensuing transformation of work organisation.  

In this talk, Professor Debra Howcroft provides a timely review and classification of crowdwork.  She outlines a typology to map the complexity of this emerging terrain, illuminating range and scope by critically synthesising empirical findings and issues from multidisciplinary literatures.   

Rather than side-tracking into debates as to what exactly constitutes crowdwork, Professor Howcroft aims to highlight commonalities rather than distinctions, enabling connections across areas.  The framework offers a way to consider the broader implications for work and employment in terms of control and coordination, regulation and classification, and collective agency and representation.   

Bio

Debra Howcroft is Professor of Technology and Organisation at the University of Manchester where she is a member of the Work and Equalities Institute. She has served as Editor-in-Chief of New Technology, Work and Employment since 2011. Her research covers new technologies and organising, particularly in relation to work and employment.  She is a co-lead on the research theme Reconnecting the Disconnected: New Channels of Voice and Representation within Digit. 

Related reading

Howcroft and Bergvall-Kåreborn (2019), ‘A Typology of Crowdwork Platforms, Work, Employment and Society‘, Vol. 33(1) 21-38

Vallas and Schor (2020), ‘What do platforms do? Understanding the gig economy, Annual Review of Sociology‘, Vol. 46:273-294