“Why lose control?” A Study of Freelancers’ Experiences with Gig Economy Platforms

Alvarez De La Vega, Juan, Cecchinato, Marta and Rooksby, John (2021) “Why lose control?” A Study of Freelancers’ Experiences with Gig Economy Platforms. In: CHI '21: Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, New York, p. 455. ISBN 9781450380966

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1145/3411764.3445305


Freelancing platforms, such as Upwork, represent an expansion of the gig economy to encompass knowledge-based work. Prior research in HCI has primarily focused on forms of gig work such as ride-sharing and microwork but has not addressed how freelancing platforms are disrupting high-skilled knowledge work. To understand freelancers’ perspectives on how these platforms are disrupting their work we have collected and thematically analysed 528 posts with 7499 comments from four relevant subforums on Reddit. The qualitative findings reveal tensions between wanting autonomy and control and the necessity of opportunities and convenience. Freelancing platforms are perceived as systems that present advantages to find clients, gain experience and mitigate precarity. However, these platforms constrain the control over their work that freelancers value. The paper contributes an improved understanding of freelance work, the role and potential for freelancing platforms in the knowledge-based gig economy, and directions for worker-centred design.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2021, CHI 2021 ; Conference date: 08-05-2021 Through 13-05-2021
Uncontrolled Keywords: Future of work, Gig economy, Freelancing platforms, Freelance work, Worker-centred design, Upwork, Fiverr, Reddit
Subjects: G400 Computer Science
G500 Information Systems
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Computer and Information Sciences
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2021 14:36
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 10:33
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/45264

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