The App as a Boss? Control and Autonomy in Application-Based Management

Working paper

Added on Nov 12, 2018

by Mirela Ivanova, Joanna Bronowicka, Eva Kocher, Anne Degner

Drawing on interviews with self-employed riders at Deliveroo and employed riders at Foodora, we compare how the App affects the interplay between autonomy and control of riders, and how the app-based management relates to different employment models. We find that despite these contractual differences, both companies use the App to delegate significant autonomy over work time and place, as well as delivery routes to the riders. However, the App plays an important role in the platform’s infrastructure of the control of the riders. It can be argued that an integration into the app amounts to the integration into a work organization and therefore indicates employment.

We also look at the consequences of app-based management for mobilizing collective action and conclude that designing a labour platform app means designing labour and employment relations.

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