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‘I’m my own boss…’: Active intermediation and ‘entrepreneurial’ worker agency in the Australian gig-economy

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Abstract

Platform firm in the gig-economy are disrupting work as a social practice, production systems and recasting capital-labour relations. This qualitative study examines worker agency in the Australian food-delivery sector; a segment where platforms actively intermediate both product and labour markets. Within this sector, worker agency poses a potential challenge to platform-organisations; however this study reveals how these platforms’ work organisation and market regulation constrain agency potential. Shaped by the work’s spatio-temporal features, organisational fixes and institutional context, it is shown how food-delivery workers, transiently attached to the labour market, predominantly engage in ‘entrepreneurial agency’ – a low-level agency expression aimed at materially improving individual conditions and aligning with, rather than challenging, platforms’ business models.

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APA

Barratt, T., Goods, C., & Veen, A. (2020). ‘I’m my own boss…’: Active intermediation and ‘entrepreneurial’ worker agency in the Australian gig-economy. Environment and Planning A, 52(8), 1643–1661. https://doi.org/10.1177/0308518X20914346

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