Human Resource Management in the Algorithm-driven Platform Economy

By Maximilian Stefan Herczeg and Sagar Dilip Gaikwad

8 September 2020 09:46

Human Resource Management in the Algorithm-driven Platform Economy

A qualitative study that examines human resource management (HRM) in the platform-driven gig economy and aims to answer how different actors in the algorithm-driven platform economy influence HRM perceptions of gig workers.

Maximilian Stefan Herczeg and Sagar Dilip Gaikwad. Private photo
Maximilian Stefan Herczeg and Sagar Dilip Gaikwad. Private photo

Human research management can contribute greatly to a firm’s performance and competitive advantage and an increasing number of companies use automated, less human-based approaches in managing their workforce.

One of the sectors that has been heavily reliant on technology in recent years is the gig economy, a sector in which freelancers provide services (i.e., gigs) to customers, increasingly so through a platform.

Especially HRM in the food delivery sector of the gig economy tends to strongly favour algorithmic management to coordinate, monitor and manage workers due to efficiency- and cost-related reasons. Companies in the food delivery sector connect customers with restaurants and riders, who are gig workers delivering the food.

However, little is known on how riders feel about the combination of technological and human interaction, what the different factors shaping their perceptions are and if this setup can be a valid approach for HRM in the future. For this, this study examined riders from three food delivery companies in three European countries.

The results of this research found differences in the perceptions of riders across gig companies.

The main finding of the research is that several key actors play major influencing roles in developing HRM perceptions of the riders, such as the gig companies themselves, merchants, customers, fellow riders, etc.

Also, some riders negatively assess some aspects of the job, including a perceived lack of transparency, care and empathy from the company, the gender gap, etc.

Some riders positively assess aspects of the job, such as autonomy, flexibility, freedom, rewards and promotions; many enjoy riding or the lack of human interaction and enjoy working independently with algorithms.

Other riders have developed positive perceptions of the job due to the team spirit and bonding among the riders and the sense of serving the community through their work.

The thesis was written within the FOCUS RaCE research project.

Supervisor: Peter Kalum Schou

More FOCUS student blogs