In Search of Meaningful Work on Digital Freelancing Platforms: The Case of Design Professionals

18 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2020

See all articles by Ekaterina Nemkova

Ekaterina Nemkova

Nottingham University Business School

Pelin Demirel

Imperial College London - Faculty of Engineering

Linda Baines

University of Southampton - Southampton Business School

Date Written: November 2019

Abstract

Growth of the platform economy has been accompanied by critiques of the fragmented, isolated and precarious nature of the employment it offers. Yet, little is known about how creative freelancers perceive the meaning of work on the platforms. Based on 40 interviews with freelancers, clients, platform owners and industry experts, this paper reveals that most freelancers are concerned about how operating through the platform, and their dependence on it, is undermining the meaningfulness of their work. Freelancers find that the platforms are eroding both the manifest (i.e. monetary) and latent (i.e. non‐monetary) meaning of their work although they are mostly concerned about the latent element of meaning. The analysis reveals that the small group of freelancers who pursue meaningful work and earn a sustainable income on platforms are those with strong entrepreneurial orientation.

Keywords: freelancing, meaningful work, platform economy, precarity, global labour, entrepreneurship

Suggested Citation

Nemkova, Ekaterina and Demirel, Pelin and Baines, Linda, In Search of Meaningful Work on Digital Freelancing Platforms: The Case of Design Professionals (November 2019). New Technology, Work and Employment, Vol. 34, Issue 3, pp. 226-243, 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3614749 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ntwe.12148

Ekaterina Nemkova (Contact Author)

Nottingham University Business School ( email )

Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

Pelin Demirel

Imperial College London - Faculty of Engineering ( email )

United Kingdom

Linda Baines

University of Southampton - Southampton Business School ( email )

Highfield
University Road
Southampton, SO17 1BJ
United Kingdom

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
0
Abstract Views
43
PlumX Metrics