Drawing from a transurban field research conducted in the ride-hailing sector in Paris and Brussels regions, this article investigates platformization as a productive model defined by the articulation of an outsourced labor regime with an algorithmic and data-driven type of management. Beyond the formal sharing of an independent contractor status, nuanced by a variety of positions including salaried work, platform drivers are unified in practice by their common economic dependence on platforms. This situation gives them the role of an adjustment variable in platforms’ commercial strategy, forcing them to raise their work time to adapt to the cost decreases in the mid-2010s, which dramatically reduced their income. To ensure a flexible flow into the workforce, platforms have favored the development of small intermediaries to outsource hiring and thereby skirt labor law and evade taxes. Market pressure is also enforced by its inclusion, with other productive goals such as service fluidity and quality, into a digital model of management inspired by lean production. The application is configured to operate as a device of technical and hegemonic control that incorporates just-in-time and intensification commands. Digital control is completed by the inclusion of a customer feedback system used to implement service standardization and further involvement in work.
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October 1, 2021
Carlotta Benvegnù Niccolò Cuppini Mattia Frapporti Floriano Milesi Maurilio Pirone (Into the Black Box)
Research Article| October 01 2021
Connecting the Levers of Platform Control: Outsourced Labor and Algorithmic Management: A Transurban Study of the Ride-Hailing Sector in Paris and Brussels
South Atlantic Quarterly (2021) 120 (4): 809–822.
Fabien Brugière; Connecting the Levers of Platform Control: Outsourced Labor and Algorithmic Management: A Transurban Study of the Ride-Hailing Sector in Paris and Brussels. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 October 2021; 120 (4): 809–822. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-9443364
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