ICIS 2022: A New Era of Control: Understanding Algorithmic Control in the Gig Economy

With the promise of autonomy, flexibility, and “being your own boss” the gig economy is growing to be one of the most important economic and social developments of our time. This growth is possible due to the platform’s reliance on algorithmic control, which comprises the use of algorithmic technologies to control and align workers' behavior. Conducting a multiple-case study on the use of algorithmic control in two app-work platforms (Uber & Mjam) and two crowdwork platforms (Upwork & Freelancer) on the basis of established control concepts, we develop a holistic understanding of algorithmic control and show how platforms realize this new form of control along three dimensions: control allocation, control formalization, and control adaptiveness. We contribute also by introducing the concepts of control artifacts and internalized control as a step forward in explaining algorithmic control phenomena.

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