The Effects of Technological Supervision on Gig Workers: Organizational Control and Motivation of Uber, Taxi, and Limousine Drivers
Norlander, P. Jukic, N. Varma, A. & Nestorov, S. (2021). The Effects of Technological Supervision on Gig Workers: Organizational Control and Motivation of Uber, Taxi, and Limousine Drivers. International Journal of Human Resource Management. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2020.1867614
49 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2021
Date Written: September 14, 2020
Does supervision from technological platforms alter gig workers’ motivation and perceptions of control? We address this question with two field studies set in the passenger livery industry. A between-subjects field survey (n=50) finds that while UberX drivers perceive significantly greater organizational control compared to taxi drivers, they do not report significantly higher levels of intrinsic motivation, needs satisfaction or enjoyment of work. In a follow-up within-subjects field experiment (n=79), we seek to identify the causal impact of technological supervision on drivers’ perceptions of control and motivation. Black car limousine drivers who sometimes work on the UberBlack platform are randomly assigned to respond to questions about their perceptions while driving either for Uber or their limousine company. Limousine drivers in the Uber condition report greater market control and enjoyment of the work. We draw several conclusions: 1) large differences between gig workers and incumbent workers are selection effects, and 2) Uber’s platform modestly increases perceptions of market control and task enjoyment with 3) no negative impact on motivation or needs satisfaction. We discuss the implications for employment relationships and human resources management.
Keywords: Uber, Gig Economy, Algorithmic Management, Motivation, Control, Technology
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