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In search of meaningful work on digital freelancing platforms: the case of design professionals

In search of meaningful work on digital freelancing platforms: the case of design professionals
In search of meaningful work on digital freelancing platforms: the case of design professionals

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.

entrepreneurship, freelancing, global labour, meaningful work, platform economy, precarity
0268-1072
Nemkova, Ekaterina
bd179570-8602-4834-8742-d95d34768b0c
Demirel, Pelin
687c839d-b7dc-4914-972a-293ab9f014c2
Baines, Linda
806697b2-8a12-4663-8f57-92f38ee1f9aa
Nemkova, Ekaterina
bd179570-8602-4834-8742-d95d34768b0c
Demirel, Pelin
687c839d-b7dc-4914-972a-293ab9f014c2
Baines, Linda
806697b2-8a12-4663-8f57-92f38ee1f9aa

Nemkova, Ekaterina, Demirel, Pelin and Baines, Linda (2019) In search of meaningful work on digital freelancing platforms: the case of design professionals. New Technology, Work and Employment. (doi:10.1111/ntwe.12148).

Record type: Article

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.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 19 August 2019
Keywords: entrepreneurship, freelancing, global labour, meaningful work, platform economy, precarity

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 434264
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/434264
ISSN: 0268-1072
PURE UUID: 2bcb6cd7-d904-4da3-a18c-d906e308824d
ORCID for Linda Baines: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-6824-7411

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 18 Sep 2019 16:30
Last modified: 08 Oct 2019 00:28

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