How Gig Work Pits Customers Against Workers

While gig work has offered workers benefits like flexibility, it has also come at the expense of lower pay, limited protections, surveillance, and limited privacy. Tactics such as petitions and boycotts have been used to effect change for workers in the traditional economy, but these have proven far less effective in the gig economy. To explore why, the authors use sociologist Robin Leidner’s concept of the customer service triangle to illustrate the ways that workers, companies, and customers align with each other to achieve different outcomes, and outlines how gig work actively reduces customer-worker alignment. To achieve a better balance for all three, the authors urge companies and customers to step up, with companies taking the lead.

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