HOW MODERN FORMS OF WORK SUCH AS THE GIG ECONOMY ARE CHANGING THE NATURE OF WORK
Gig economy is a system of a free market where there are positions that are temporary and firms contract workers that are independent for engagement that is short such as Uber and Deliveroo. The gig economy relies on the scientific management theory. All the operations in the gig economy are controlled scientifically through an algorithm (Dokko, Mumford and Schanzenbach, 2015: 78). The algorithm is responsible for the assignment of roles to the employers. The employers are also rewarded scientifically through the algorithm. The assignments of the customers are the deliveries that they are supposed to make to their customers. The application links the customer and the employee who then takes the product that has been ordered to the customer. The algorithm measures the performances of each employee and consequently the wages that employees earn depend on the amount of work that they have accomplished in a day.
The manner in which the gig economy operates continues to be adopted by many sectors. This has contributed to the nature of work in the modern economy changing. This paper will look into the gig economy and how it operates. Its arguments will be based on the scientific management theory which is the mother of the operations of the gig economy. It will explore the two areas concerning the gig economy. These areas are its organizational structure and groups and teams. These two areas will help in bringing out the operations of the gig economy and how these modern ways of carrying out business are changing the nature of work including other sectors of the economy (O’connor 2016, p3).
Organizational structure entails the direction of certain activities so that they can achieve the set goals in an organization. The activities consist of rules and responsibilities (Ehrenberg and Smith 2016, p111). The organizational structure is a determinant of the flow of information in all levels of an organization. The operations of the gig economy are structured in a way such that they operate with the help of an algorithm.
The organizational structure of the gig economy relies heavily on the scientific management theory. This theory has principles one being the replacement of rule of thumb and instead using a scientific method in studying work and determining the way that is most efficient in carrying out specific tasks (Barley, Bechky and Milliken 2017,p93). In the gig economy, the algorithm is used in the management of work and the employees. The algorithm is a scientific management tool that is used to manage work and the employees. In the gig economy, employees do not report to physical workplaces. Instead, they are employed scientifically by the algorithm.
The scientific management theory was aimed at bringing the best out of the workers hence improving their productivity. The work that each worker performed was studied scientifically and how they performed and how their productivity was affected (Cherry and Aloisi 2016, p635). Frederick Taylor believed that making the workers work hard as possible was not efficient and it could not optimize the way work was being carried out. Therefore, there was a need to optimize and simplify jobs. This would, in turn, increase productivity. The gig economy is also structured in this manner.
In the gig economy, employers carry the work within the areas that they can reach and areas that they know geographically. Employers prefer their geographical areas of work (De Stefano 2015,p461). The maximum distance one can go from the marked geographical location is set implying no covering of long distances. This improves the productivity of workers. Making deliveries within a short distance increases the productivity of the employees as it increases the number of deliveries made.
Scientific management theory advances the idea of the employees and the managers cooperating with each other contrary to the little contact between managers and the employees as before. The cooperation is aimed at ensuring the smooth running operations (Dokko, Mumford and Schanzenbach 2015,p 78). This is what the gig economy applies. The employees and their employers who are the algorithm interact on a daily basis. Once an employee has logged into the application, for instance, the Uber app, the employee is notified of any delivery that is to be made. If the employee cannot manage to make a delivery, he or she can decline it.
According to the scientific management theory, every worker is supposed to the paid according to the work one has done. This means that the productivity of the workers has to be measured accordingly (Graham, Hjorth and Lehdonvirta 2017, p 138). In measuring the accomplishments of the workers, a scientific method is the most appropriate. When workers are working without being measured, they cannot work efficiently with the aim of producing the desired outcomes. As a result, the set goals may take a lot of time to accomplish. However, when they are measured and rated, they work hard hence increasing their productivity. The employers that perform poorly are notified for them to improve. If the ratings of an employee fall deeply with a large index, the services of the employee are terminated.
The employees can keep track of their performance and this can help them in making improvements. This has contributed to the increase in productivity (Kässi and Lehdonvirta 2018,p 245). This has changed the modern forms of work greatly. Employers across all sectors have adopted a scientific method of measuring the performance of their employees. This helps in determining the employees that are attaining the set goals. This is helpful to the human resource managers. This assists the HR when making decisions concerning the workers. For instance, when making decisions such as promotions, rewards, the HR manager refers to the measuring tools to determine the employee to the promoted based on hard work. It also helps the HR managers in making difficult decisions such as termination and retrenchments decisions.
According to the scientific management theory, employees are supposed to be paid according to their amount of work done. This requires the optimal levels of performance to be determined (Kuhn 2016,p 222). The various forms of work in the modern economy are adopting ways of paying their employees based on their performance. The more the productivity of an employee the more the pay that particular employee will receive. The idea of getting a pair of pay for a fair work that is done is being adopted in today’s economy.
The idea of an employee being paid the same amount of wages as another employee whose productivity is high is being discarded. The time of accomplishing a certain task is measured by the algorithm (O’connor 2016, pg 4). The calculation of the time needed for a certain task to be completed helps in determining the performance of an employee, whether an employee is working hard or not. The time needed for the completion of tasks also helps in the development of the best way of completing a task.
Some employees work in a more efficient way than others. By application of the time needed to accomplish a task, the employers can determine the type of employees they should hire (Means and Seiner2015,p 1511). The selection of the right personnel for the jobs is significant in improving the efficiency of the workplace. This is the formula that has been adopted in the gig economy. The efficiency of the employees is improved through them being given the mandate of choosing their working hours and their areas of operation. Choosing the hours they are comfortable means that they are all set for work at that particular time. This contributes to job satisfaction which contributes to more productivity.
The organizational structure of the gig economy is influencing the other sectors of the economy. Instead of just assigning employees any job, they are being matched with jobs in which they have a high capability as well as motivation. They are also being trained on how to work at high efficiency (O’connor 2016,p 3). This is in the emulation of the gig economy where employers employ employees that are willing to work in the sector. Any persons that are interested in working in the gig economy register with the algorithm. In addition, they chose their area of operation and the working time (O’connor 2016,p 4). The idea behind this is to give an employee much autonomy which will, in turn, enable them to apply approaches that are appropriate in the execution of their duties. This improves the productivity of the workers.
Groups and teams
The gig economy does not embrace groups and teams. It advocated and prefers individual work. This is unlike other sectors that embrace teamwork. In other sectors, employees can be assigned to complete a certain task collectively (Pinsof 2015,p341). Their individual work is not measured and consequently, the amount of wages that they earn is not based on the tasks that they have accomplished. Tasks are not broken down into smaller tasks. However, the gig economy advocates for individual work. The performance of the employees is measured based on the number of tasks that they complete successfully in a day.
In the gig economy, tasks are divided into smaller tasks and each employee assigned his or her own task. It also emphasizes the steps that are supposed to be taken by each employee in accomplishing the work (Schor 2015,p122). For instance, there can be a situation where there are two customers in the same location that require certain products to be delivered to them. If these customers order their products, these tasks will be given to two employees such that each employee attends each customer. Two employees cannot be assigned to accomplish a task collectively. Instead, it encourages individualism. There is no collective responsibility and each employee is liable to any errors committed.
The opposition of the teamwork and groups in the gig economy is borrowed from the scientific management theory. The theory discourages the holistic measuring and evaluation of the performance of employees (Graham, Hjorth and Lehdonvirta 2017,p 154). Instead, it focuses on the performance of an individual. It emphasizes that productivity will be increased if the productivity of each individual is increased. However, this contradicts some modern ideas that aim at providing a work environment that is motivating and satisfying to the employees.
The gig economy is based on measuring the performance of individuals. Its organizational structure emphasizes the management of the employees and their roles through an algorithm. It highly discourages teamwork as tasks are divided among different individuals. The employees are rated individually and the wages earned depend on the number of tasks that have been completed successfully. It gives the employees the freedom of choosing their area of operation and the working hours.
However, the gig economy does not address the plight of the workers. For instance, there is no contact between the employees and their employers as they are managed by an algorithm. This encourages the suppressing of the workers through being given low wages. The safety of the employees is not guaranteed as sometimes they can be sent to make deliveries in places that are far or places that are dangerous. They are also not covered by insurance in case they get injuries in their course of work. Their services are also terminated without following a proper procedure. All this is because there is no particular person that is their employer. Therefore there is a need for their rights to be addressed.
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