New World of Work concepts in today’s gig-economy

Table of Contents

1 Introduction to a life in a New World of Work
1.1 The megatrend of New World of Work
1.2 Example of New World of Work – more voice leads to higher satisfaction
1.3 Uber as an example for gig-workers in the New World of Work
1.4 What is the New World of Work and why does it receive so much attention?
1.5 The reasons for a New World of Work based on disengagement
2 The types of New World of Work in a gig-economy
2.1 New world of work and the four future worlds by PWC
2.2 The Gig-economy as a new form of adopting the New World of Work
2.3 The differences of Microwork and Online Freelancing
2.4 Common characteristics of crowd work
2.5 Typologies of crowd work
3 Considerations for implementing a gig-type of New World of Work
3.1 The importance of OID on gig-economy
3.2 The need for traits rather than specific technical skills
3.3 The time-spacial flexibility in creating new types of employment frameworks
3.4 Setting a starting point for a New World of Work organization
3.5 Simplification, collaboration and remuneration in the New World of Work
4 Concluding Statement
5 Bibliography
6 List of tables and figures

1. Introduction to a life in a New World of Work

Life as we know it and have lived with it over the past hundred years is changing. The authors of the book “The 100-year Life” suggest that the new generation entering the workforce will be working for a much longer period then generations before. This means retirement will require a completely different set up and so will training and learning. Up to now life was separated into three phases. The first phase being the educational face the second phase was the working phase and the third phase was the retirement phase. The scholars Graton and Scott argue that people will be moving in and out of these phases over the course of their life rather having these phases consecutively. This means that people will be also changing their work relationship from a self-employment type to an employee type as well as a student or learning type. (Gratton & Scott, 2016). There is a substantial philosophical debate about the New World of Work and much of it is polarizing towards either extremes of positives or negative’s resulting from this new emerging concept. Interestingly enough there is little research found that can assist in how a New World of Work can be implemented into an organization.

1.1 The megatrend of New World of Work

Research predominantly focuses on observing trends within the work environment indicating a paradigm shift towards a New World of Work. According to the Zukunftsinstitut that has published one of its megatrends to be the New World of Work, some findings from their surveys can lead to a better understanding. Based on feedback from opinion leaders of the Zukunftsinstitut the following top four trends in relation to work are: 

  1. growing complexity of work performed,
  2. increasing speed of processes, 
  3. growing customer demands,
  4. an increase of importance in knowhow and competency. 

The Zukunftsinstitut envisions that people in future will not follow jobs, but jobs will follow people. With this the Zukunftsinstitut means that individuals will be shaping through their contribution at work value towards an organization, rather than an individual adapting his skills and capabilities towards a job description and tasks defined by the organization. Thus, organizations will be looking for like-minded people and talents that represent their interests as well as represent their cultural traits towards customers and clients. And as work will become more creative, an individual’s output and result will become more important to an organization. Therefore exchanging one person for another will ultimately have a significant impact on the outcome of work, not necessarily worse but different. (, 2018) In summary the research shows that the New World of Work consent taps into many different disciplines and many scholars look at the New World of Work from different point of views. Maybe because of the broad and vast implications that a New World of Work has on our whole society, there is no simple and clearly described cause and effect, and thus remains a complex system. 

In the following two examples from research will provide an insight into what New World of Work and how differently a form of New World of Work can be introduced into organizations.

1.2 Example of New World of Work – more voice leads to higher satisfaction

Comparison of Tele Haase and Uber show that more voice of workers lead to more satisfaction. Tele Haase is a hardware IT component and production company in Austria. With the recent change in chief executive officer the company went through a pivotal change in how organization is organized. Today employees at Tele Haase are grouped in clusters that define processes, manage their own processes and decide on individual remunerations among team members. Decisions are made inside the team and the cluster, and the cluster management is appointed on a regular basis. At the core of this concept lies that each individual has competencies that are not necessarily utilized to the full extent in their daily work. Tele Haase makes an effort to utilize the competencies of each individuals by identifying these through the clusters that have formed. Basically, there are three clusters that are the main processes for running the business which are sales. innovation and production. There are numerous sub customers that are in the supporting function towards the main clusters. Tele Haase has understood how to transfer the full ownership and responsibility towards the workings staff that actually have the capabilities to influence and impact change. In the normal organizations management and leadership are responsible in promoting and driving change within their work staff, Tele Haase has placed this responsibility to their workers. Tele Haase has lost some of their workforce because of the new type of leadership style and job responsibility. But Tele Haase states that they are now carefully qualifying candidates to see if they can fit into this decentralized management and organization set-up. Employees state that not only working conditions have become fairer but transparency about each and everyone’s input has helped to simplify tasks and processes as well as focus on the essential organizations objective which is to generate profitable turnover. (Tele Haase, 2015) In strong contrast to Tele Haase stands Uber, a gig-organization. 

1.3 Uber as an example for gig-workers in the New World of Work

A company that has been criticized and accused of poorly treating its employees is Uber. In terms of the concept of a gig economy the organization has reduced its headcount and headquarter operations to a minimum and is utilizing a crowd to deliver a service to its customers. In the case of Uber, it becomes apparent, what importance the crowd as brand ambassadors has towards customers. Because organizations fail to influence organization identification, crowd workers are left to themselves when representing their employer and its values to its customers. An even bigger concern towards influencing crowd workers on organizational identification is the number of platforms and gig-organizations emerging. It becomes easy for crowd workers to switch from one contract to another, so too much control by organizations will quickly result in a migration to new employment opportunities. Thus as Mishel points out, it is more important for companies to focus on organizational identification among gig-workers than anything else (Lawrence Mishel, 2018). At some stage however we can assume that a gig economy will correct itself leading to organizations with mediocre reputation providing more benefits towards crowd workers than organizations with a high reputation and brand value.

1.4 What is the New World of Work and why does it receive so much attention?

Why is New World of Work interesting, why is it something that we need to pay attention to? According to the scholar Beck in the 1960s only 10% of the workforce where freelance or contractual workers and by the late 1990s this force grew to 30% (Beck, 2000). The scholar Resch states that the arrival of the gig-economy is a new shift towards self-employment with the help of information technologyResch, when describing a New World of Work, refers to Peter Drucker’s organizational vision will be fulfilled when each person takes on full responsibility for contributions towards an organization, acts as a manager to accept full burden for performance delivered and plays a significant role in social responsibility inside his or her  community. (Resch, 2015) Workers that take full responsibility for their contributions have similarities with self-employed or contract workers which are represented in the so-called gig-economy. In the past decade, the exponential rise of the gig-economy has led to much controversy about work arrangements that gig-workers were entering. Due to increase in acceptance of gig-workers and lack of policies, work agreements tend to lean towards exploitation according to the scholar Kaminska (Izabella Kaminska, 2016). The scholar Havard indicates that the gig-economy is bringing out two polarizations, where some see the threat of gig-workers facing wages that do not allow to provide for a living and others, that seek the new age of distributed work, supported by technology and free from policies. (Havard et al., 2009) Along this train of thought the Accenture Technology Vision Paper points out that online work platforms will have a tremendous impact on traditional organizational management forms and that these platforms will reshape further the development of the labor market (Unkefer, 2017). The number of platforms emerging bring further level of complexity towards the New World of Work concepts by introducing different types of tasks and various skill level thought after. Research performed by Huws and Joyce try to understand the level of importance on income of crowd work. They identified back in 2016 that the gig economy was still predominantly used for altruistic reasons and used more as an occasional and additional income to a steady position. Less than 2% in 2016 stated that their sole income was coming through gig-economy type of work. While 11% stated that it was close to half their income, two thirds or the majority of respondents stated that their income from gig-work was less than half of their current regular salary. Half of the crowd workers stated to earn less than 18k euros annually, while the remainder stated their income was up to 36k euros a year. (Huws & Joyce, 2016) One way of looking at the reason for companies or organizations to embrace a form of New World of Work is by analyzing the disengagement of workers in the current employment condition.

1.5 The reasons for a New World of Work based on disengagement

The most obvious cause for workers to quit a company in Austria is its organization’s management. Several other reasons include a lack of career opportunities and insufficiently positive experiences for workers. In terms of age, 25 to 34-year-olds are the most vulnerable group of employees with a 64% likelihood of leaving the company. As an example, the disengagement of organizations costs business in total € 80 to 105 billion Euro. Pfeifer indicates in his business case assumptions, that businesses with high engagement levels are 21% more profitable and 17% more successful than those with a low index. In this calculation of Figure 1, based on the age structure in Austria 88% of the workforce (no engagement + disengagement) are at risk of leaving their employer. (Pfeiler, 2020)

Figure 1: Business Case – Costs through disengagement

Source: (Pfeiler, 2020)

Especially 70% of the workforce have no engagement with their employer and work by the book. Most employers leaving companies do this with little prior notice and of which 11% of these workers are identified by companies as key talents causing disruption. Deloitte estimates the cost resulting from fluctuations of workers for companies to average at € 14,9k Euro per worker and larger companies above 1k workers have a higher cost resulting from fluctuation (Brence & Nowshad, 2019). Considering how the gig economy is shaping the workforce of the future, the importance of organizational identification to workers, as well as the risk of fluctuation through more opportunities poses and immense threat to the sustainability of an organization of the future. Essentially research shows that New World of Work is a concept that has still much room for implementation, leaning towards further research needed in studying the impact on work and our society. Therefore, looking into types of New World of Work could help in understanding how an implementation would be possible. 

2. The types of New World of Work in a gig-economy

Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) have undertaken the task to categorize the future of our world of work into four different types of worlds. This categorization helps to understand the implications on organizations and also what culture lies fundamentally in each of these worlds. The PWC study highlights the main focus of each world and what type of organizational culture is embraced by organizations. Although the PWC study does not imply it, but it can be assumed that any organization will have a variation of all worlds represented but lean towards or focus on one or the other type of New Worlds. 

2.1 New world of work and the four future worlds by PWC

PWC depicts in its study the competing forces that are shaping the future of our world of work. The study identifies key differentiators in organization and their orientation towards the workforce. According to PWC visual representation of the four different worlds, depicted in Figure 2, work in 2030 will be separated based on companies leaning towards collectivism and community thinking or towards embracing employee individualism and singularity. On the other axis PWC places companies that will either focus on leaner, faster operations that drive innovation or companies growing bigger and more powerful than some countries.

Figure 2: The competing forces shaping 2030

Source: (Workforce of the Future, 2030)

In the following subchapters these four worlds are summarized to deliver clearer differentiations among how New World of Work will form in the organizations of the future. The PWC study introduces these worlds with four colours starting with the yellow world that is a combination of collectivism and business fragmentation – on the axis of Figure 1 (the left top quadrant). The red world is positioned between fragmentation and individualism (top right quadrant), the blue world is placed between corporate integration and individualism (bottom right quadrant) and the green world lies between corporate integration and collectivism (bottom left quadrant). A summary of the worlds in colours is provided in the following subchapters. 

2.1.1 Communities and crowds focusing on business ethics will prosper

In the yellow world the responsibility for human capital rests on the business leaders who focuses on management and direction. Due to the availability of digital platforms that help to match skills and experience with demand from organizations and supply from workers, the human resource organization and function will be replaced by outsourced services. In a yellow world operation performance is measured about delivering towards an organizational goal and what impact employees have on their culture and social surrounding. Like-minded workers collaborate through digital platforms and work together on projects that are blending work and life concept, instead of working in a 9-to-5 and Monday to Friday working week. A strong sense of identity is key to a yellow world where individuality is important but a unity by individuality is essential. In such a setting non-financial rewards can be present and offer an alternative form of remuneration. The organizational challenges among a yellow world are that brands need to focus on a good ethical standing and organizations are measured on trust and fairness. The organizational objective is to have a clear purpose which must be clearly articulated and lived by. In a yellow world organization ethics in business are key for prosperous growth and followers. 

2.1.2 Individuals and niche players thrive through innovations and first to market

The red world is defined as a perfect incubator for innovation. Similar as in the yellow world, organisations rely on automated outsourcing to gather workers and skills. In contrast to the yellow world, performance is all about the result and not about the process of achieving the result. Thus, workers are highly specialised and well paid. Workers will be generally looking for the most rewarding remuneration, which is linked to the most demanded skill. Organisations are slim and rest on employees with outstanding management skills, that manage the work towards results and innovation. Projects are managed quickly, resulting in a high fluctuation of specialists providing their services. Organisations in the red world will have very low hierarchical structures, because speed to market is the most important attribute. In a red world organisation will follow trends and only survive by meeting the needs of their customers. Due to companies focusing so much on innovation, they tend to be ahead of policies and regulation posing them to a high-risk environment. Loyalty from employer and organisation towards its workers will be limited towards the skills that workers provide. 

2.1.3 Corporations provide stability through size and follow individual leaders 

The pressure to perform for workers in a blue world is uncompromising, therefore employees and contract workers are depending on their skills and require keeping these skills relevant. According to the survey leading to the four worlds defined by PWC on the general public in countries of China, Germany, India, the UK and the US if treatments to brain and body would improve employment prospects in the future, 70% would consider these treatments. In a blue world companies will monitor and measure their employee’s performance, lifestyle and well-being. In return organisations will provide for social support towards families and close relatives. Data collected by these organisations will be used to predict performance but also to anticipate any risk by workers. According to PWC a chief people officer will be a powerful position where the interconnection between people and performance is measured greatly. Because the performance of an organizations depends so much on individual performance, functions such as human resource management are internalized and essential to drive performance as well as avoid any risks resulting from human capital. Organisations start looking for exceptional talent early, by involving schools and universities. Workers actively drive their own career development and improve their skills continuously. Top talents would engage agents to negotiate and manage their careers. Organisations in a blue world face challenges due to their size and inefficiency to respond to changes quickly. 

2.1.4 A higher calling to social responsibility is cultivated and lived by a community 

In the green world corporate responsibility lies at the centre of the organisation mission. Therefore, businesses seek collaboration with employees and local communities to support the strong ethical and green business agenda. Because people management decisions are highly influenced by social responsibility, the impact of diversity and regulations can lead to difficulties in obtaining the best talent for work. Human resource management are focusing on developing non-hierarchical and social networks to improve collaboration and reduce the need for travel. The workforce, in a green world organisation, embrace the values of the organisation as their own. Although financial reward is important, it is far less than in a red or blue world. To a green world organization, the concept of belonging and following an ideology is far more important. Workers will seek a job for life to fulfil the desire to commit towards an organisational pledge. Organisational purpose and its impact on the society and culture is first and foremost the singular communication strategy. Workers receive a very high level of trust, leading to high levels of quality assurance and vigilance. The brand of an green organisation must be protected by all means, which implies that organisations will favour long-term society impact over short-term financial gains (Workforce of the Future, 2030).

With this study PWC provides a very through and holistic view of the future work environment and challenges that organizations and workers will face. Already today there are some resemblances with organisations leaning towards one of the other worlds. Interesting is that crowd work is essential to all worlds in some form or another. Crowd work will seemingly provide organisations of the future significant contribution for resources. Therefore, crowd work should be understood in more detail to differentiate their impact and significance towards value created for workers, customers and companies in a newly forming gig-economy and New World of Work. 

2.2 The Gig-economy as a new form of adopting the New World of Work

The definition of a gig economy by the Cambridge dictionary suggests that it is a way of working, where individuals have temporary jobs instead of working for one employer and are working on isolated tasks that are remunerated separately. According to the scholar Gillespie, the gig economy is a labor market that provides contracts for temporary positions to independent workers via a digital platform or marketplace. A gig-work therefore is considered to have less administration, is temporary and lacks physical connection. Brawley estimated in 2017 that the size of the gig economy would be 43% of the U.S. workforce. (Brawley, 2017) The scholar Thatcher indicates that there are two forms emerging from the current development of the gig economy. On demand work engagement where jobs are provided to anyone even outside an organization and the other being crowd work. But there are more granular differences which are seen more clearly in understanding the skills required. 

2.3 The differences of Microwork and Online Freelancing

The scholar Corporaal provides with a comparison of two extreme forms of crowd work being microwork and online freelancing. Microwork according to Corporaal are tasks that have been broken down from projects. These tasks are simple and take minutes to complete and require limited expertise, while task coordination can even be automated through the use of digital platforms. Examples for microwork tasks are work provided on platforms like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk or the CloudFactroy. A compensation for work is resulting on the rate by which tasks are completed. Platforms geared towards the gig-economy are typically for local and in some cases even physical interaction necessary. In contrast, online freelancing platforms differ from to microtasks or gig economy platforms by form of interaction and tasks or skill level required. In other words, online freelance work are tasks that pose a higher complexity towards workers. A completion of such tasks can take hours, days or even months. Workers typically require special skill and will be paid based on milestones completed and an hourly rate defined. Task that are provided to online freelancing workers are usually coordinated manually and examples for such platforms are online freelancing platforms such as PeoplePerHour or Upwork. In essence, digital platforms such as Upwork, Freelancer and PeoplePerHour are marketplaces that promote and offer services to clients. In most online platforms, workers can define their own price for service provided. Platforms also often provide the convenience through online tools to coordinate and control performance of work delivered. On freelancer platforms human resource divisions can quickly identify and tap on specific talents required at a given time. (Corporaal, G.F., & Lehdonvirta, V., 2017) Although Corporaal places microtasks as part of the gig-economy, the scholar Huws regards any form of crowd work to be part of the gig-economy. Because many new platforms are providing crowd work and a growing number of diverse areas, Huws offers a more diverse categorization of different types and forms of crowd work. Huws categorizes crowd work into four types of platforms where client requests are matched with paid labor from freelancers. The categorization rest on the skill level required to perform the work. Ranging from highly skilled, creative and IT related tasks and delivery towards projects, to lower skill work which would fall into the delivery or transportation industry. Huws though indicates that as industries are adopting the gig-economy concept many different shades of skill level are seen and services in the health, education and legal industries are driving the need for more platforms. (Huws et al., 2016)

2.3.1 The acceptance of the gig-economy and crowd work platforms

Although the amount of people employed on crowdsourcing sites is challenging to quantify, reports suggest rapid development. Studies reveal almost 5 million crowd staff in the United Kingdom, some 12% of Swedes work in the freelance economy and in Netherlands 18% have sought to find jobs across a web network (Huws et al., 2016). Crowdsourcing is very diverse and involves the development of ideas, (crowdsourcing and contests) and popular opinion polling (crowd voting). The areas of major interest commenced in the sharing economy and recently went to the gig-economy: conceptually distinct but overlapping constructs. The media have provided some transparency to the job standards and working conditions of gig-workers, especially in delivery or taxi employment, but these are only a fraction of all possible crowd work areas. Many literatures underline market advantages and the need to explore different forms of competition and productivity that continue to obscure the element of labor. The two major examples of labor exploitation, Amazon’s Mechanical Turcs (MTURK) and Uber, have growing critical literature. While critical analysis is welcome, it is necessary to understand crowd-work more extensively, what values it can offer. In contrast to microtasks platforms and according to the scholar Corporaal there have been a large increase in the acceptance of freelancing platforms, due to availability of various skills and talents. Corporaal’s research suggests that enterprises are using platforms not only to reap the benefits of financial flexibility but also to gain access to workers with different skill sets and expertise. In his research he points out that enterprises that have successfully adopted platforms in their operations have created an environment for experimentation and learning. Enterprises have opened up platforms to in-house teams so that workers can collaborate freely in finding the best possible uses cases. For instance, a board of experts formed of freelancers are readily available when needed by an inhouse team. In this context Corporaal indicates that enterprises successfully using these platforms utilize freelancers in addition to regular employees and not instead of. An important finding from organizations utilizing platforms was that regular employees were essential to convey and carry the organizational identity and culture towards freelancers. Regular employees were also essential to support the integration of freelancers and externals into project teams. To prevent resistance from employees for such a crowd platform an early integration is beneficial. (Corporaal, G.F., & Lehdonvirta, V., 2017).  

2.4 Common characteristics of crowd work

There are five common characteristics according to the scholar Howcraft. He pinpoints the evaluation of the platform to be the first characteristic, that enables the interaction between producers and consumers. In some cases, the platforms have emerged to cater to various needs that are part of the value chain of an organization such as investors and partners. According to Howcraft and more resent research, crowd work predominantly exists for microtasks which are low skill and high quantity but Howcraft implies that these tasks are not affected by geographic location, as opposed to other scholars. Howcraft points out about crowd work, that even with high quality workers, the remuneration is lower than with offline work arrangements. In terms of contracts, Howcraft suggests that the majority of contracts to be based on independent or freelance contracts with self-employed status providing tax benefits and circumvents minimum pay policies. Furthermore and because of a growing number of monopoly platforms providing crowd work, the possibility for micro-entrepreneurism is shrinking. The scholar therefore questions how crowd work is fostering entrepreneurism. From a technological standpoint Howcraft places software as a means to function as an intermediary between worker and employer. Technology is capable to handle transactions and evaluate performance with forms of quality assurance as well as software that is able to cater for social and economic well-being of workers. The platforms described can operate to provide rewards based on a reputation system by rewarding good workers and punishing poor ones. Finally, Howcraft reminds of the trust digital workers have towards an infrastructure and the fading or diminishing responsibility of platform owners seem to have towards workers (Howcroft & Bergvall-Kåreborn, 2019). There are clear differentiations in characteristics among crowd work ranging from low skill to high skill inputs, but further differentiation is required to understand the more complex nature of crowd work and how it is progressing towards a New World of Work. 

2.5 Typologies of crowd work

In a little over ten years since the term “crowd-sourcing” was first invented, growth and size have taken various observers to comment that the “crowd-based economy” has become a basic transformation for New World of Work. Questions around globalization, labor instability and career stability quickly add to wider questions in how the environment of transition in the workforce will evolve. The research paper by Howcroft points to the use of crowd work as both a primary and supplementary source of employment providing a growing number of people to pursue alternative forms of remuneration. Howcroft suggests as with the increase of outsourcing where businesses focus on cost savings and increasing profits, a similar behavioral pattern reinforces more conventional types of crowd work. This is apparent from the interference of crowdsourcing in the fields of specialized labor (such as computer engineering and legal counsel) as jobs are digitally broken down into smaller entities, these can be distributed easier. However, causing workers to struggle with minimal pay resulting from fragmented work. Howcroft suggests that crowd work in this regard is a major driver to growing types of non-standard work, which can better be explained within the wider sense of neoliberalism (Howcroft & Bergvall-Kåreborn, 2019). A summary on the four typologies depicted in Figure 3 and according to Howcraft:

Figure 3: Typologies of crowd work platforms

Source: (Howcroft & Bergvall-Kåreborn, 2019)

Type A: Online task crowd work 

  • Tasks are modular, ranging from microtasks to more complex projects. 
  • Labour is broken down into little units, or modules, 
  • interaction between managers and workers is replaced with micro-level task control because low-cost human labour is cheaper than automation. 
  • Platforms with higher skill sets are UpWork, Fiverr and InCloudCounsel,
  • These platforms provide services at lower cost than their traditional offline counterparts. 
  • Predominantly though online tasks crowd work is categorized as microtasks

Type B: ‘Playbour’ crowd work

  • Crowd work is non-paid work and the initiative lies with the requester. 
  • This type of work is associated with pleasure, creativity and autonomy
  • Work is allied with fun; therefore, workers are more innovative and increase productivity
  • Crowd work will not replace traditional work as it does not cater towards financial stability
  • Attract participation of highly skilled individuals to receive creative output for company profits 
  • Provide monetary reward for the especially talented 
  • Examples are or publish scientific problems to an online community and in return participants can win cash prizes if problems are solved. TopCoder, a large platform for software developers that issues lottery-like payments

Type C: Asset-based services 

  • Services offer paid work for crowd work
  • Asset-based services are interconnected with the sharing economy 
  • Work is mainly conducted offline, is dependent on time and location 
  • Platform focus on orchestration of workers 
  • Examples of platforms are Airbnb, Uber and TaskRabbit. 

Type D: Profession-based freelance crowd work 

  • Platforms focus on specialists to provide offers to profession-based freelancers 
  • Platforms requires participants with high level of professional knowledge and competence 
  • Used to develop mobile apps for Apple and Google platforms or providing photographs to iStockphoto 
  • This type has closes resemblance with the traditional self-employed worker
  • Remuneration happens when products and services are sold to consumers 
  • Platforms transfer the risk for demand and uncertainty of sales to third-party contributors 

(Howcroft & Bergvall-Kåreborn, 2019)

The typologies of crowd-work demonstrate the various means to attract workers and provide with motivational incentives to perform work at low cost. The organizations reap the benefits of reduced fixed and variable costs and have great potentials in scalability of their workforce. These organizations, although facing reduced cost of work performed are facing new and different challenges as indicated by scholar Jabagi. 

  1. Crowd work and gig-organizations lack traditional tools of supervision 
  2. Organizations pose themselves vulnerable to commitment and availability of their crowd workforce
  3. Crowd workers in gig-economies are customer facing and act as brand ambassadors for the gig-organizations.

The scholar Jabagi points out in his research paper that the gig-organizations and their workers are facing a challenge to have a strong connection. This connection of workers and organizations is referred as an organizational identification (OID). Jabagi proposed in his research paper that OID can be enhanced among gig-workers through intrinsic motivation and organizational prestige by using social media as a form of communication. Jabagi rests his suggestions by combining the self-determination theory, identity theory and social media research (Jabagi et al., 2018). In summary, there seems to be a positive attribute to the notion of New World of Work but a lesser one towards crowd work. Although both rest on the same principles and place the worker at its center, in crowd work critical examples are provided of organizations misusing workers for profit maximization. And on the other hand, New World of Work is considered to bring freelancers and employees closer together to collaborate and jointly innovate through the use of platforms. A combination of the two forms needs to be considered. Simply put, crowd work is facing problems with remuneration and the New World of Work is challenging organizations in how to implement these principles into an existing organization. As indicated by scholars, crowd work provides with great new ways for workers to contribute and get satisfaction from work performed which lays the foundation for New World of Work concepts in organizations. A more concise understanding for what influences workers in crowd work will provide a better understanding for what factors to consider when adopting for a New World of Work organization. 

3. Considerations for implementing a gig-type of New World of Work

How can I get workers more engaged seems to rest at the core of a New World of Work organization? The need for more leaders and fewer managers becomes apparent. Where organizations seek support by independent workers on a short-term based contract and by the using a digital marketplace as a broker platform, Jabagi refers to this as a gig-economy. Uber, Deliveroo and Fiverr are according to Jabagi gig like organizations enjoying the benefits of an agile and flexible workforce as well as benefits of reduced operating cost and liability towards customers. For the gig organization the challenges are that workers are not bound, and don’t allow for traditional types of supervision. Therefore, gig-organizations are forced to rely on workers delivering work in accordance of organizational goals and quality while also providing for certain self-organization. Jabagi indicates that in most gig-organizations, workers tend to have a strong organization are therefore challenged to seek solutions how to empower and motivate their gig-workers. Due to their customer facing role gig-workers therefore can be seen and regarded as brand ambassadors (Jabagi et al., 2019). 

3.1 The importance of OID on gig-economy.

External workers that are brand ambassadors cannot be controlled or supervised as traditional employees. Organizations are therefore challenged to seek solutions how to empower and motivate their gig-workers. Failing to provide positive experience and connection between organizations and workers will have a negative impact on the customer experience. While there are certain techniques and tools to increase the organizational identification (OID) leading to positive connection and experience for good workers, the difficulty seems to be developing a strong OID through the use of online platforms. Jabagi suggests that the development of the OID is the key to have a positive connection between gig-organizations and gig-workers. There are however two aspects that impact the organizational identification among workers and organizations, which are a distance and time. Developing an organizational identification among workers proves to be difficult, because the gig-workers have a flexibility towards distance, and also in terms of contract length. Thus, Jabagi indicates that organizations are utilizing virtual solution such as enterprise social media platforms to address both aspects of distance and time. Jabagi rests his strategy for the use of enterprise social media on the theories of self-determination by Deci and Ryan as well as on social identity theory of Ashforth and Mael. Jabagi claims that OID can be fostered in a gig economy by intrinsic motivation and organizational prestige. Jabagi provides with eight proposals to strengthen OID through the use of an enterprise social media system. (Jabagi et al., 2018)

Figure 4 is provided by Jabagi to show the relations of three factors impacting OID.

Figure 4: Proposed Conceptual Model

Source: (Jabagi et al., 2018)

Figure 4 explained in more detail shows, that workers managing their status is regarded to have an impact on the perceived prestige (P7) of working for an organization. Providing feedback (P6) has an impact on the perceived competence of a gig-worker. Developing relationships (P5) has an impact on the perceived relatedness of work performed by a gig-worker. Both relationship developing and feedback have an impact on the intrinsic motivation of the gig-worker. Therefore, with intrinsic motivation and prestige perceived Jabagi suggests therefore OID can be positively influenced. With increase in commitment and autonomy as well as feedback from social interaction an increase in OID can be anticipated. (Jabagi et al., 2019)

3.2 The need for traits rather than specific technical skills.

In a recently published book, Cribb indicates that over the course of the next 10 years there will be a reduction for routine and manual labour tasks and an increase in creative, problem-solving and relationship tasks. Cribb indicates that problem solving will be the majority of people’s skills sought after with dominant skills required in scientific work and minor skills in critical thinking and judgment. Thus, employers will be seeking traits rather than specific technical skills. Another interesting aspect Cribb points out are security or flexibility received from a form of work performed. Where in employee receives a form of security and financial stability through a perceived permanent job, a self-employed trade these advantages for flexibility and lifestyle. According to Cribb some employers are already trying to merge the advantages of a flexible work style of a self-employment with the security of an employment contract through introducing zero-hour contracts or outsourced  contracts. Uber is provided by Cribb as an example where the assets and skills remain on contractor side leaving the company with few actual employees and assets but providing customers with a universal and global image and experience (Cribb, 2019). An interesting new form of flexible work style similar to a self-employment role is introduced by the scholar Wessels as the time-spacial concept. This concept introduced in organizations provides for more autonomy towards workers leading to better work output.   

3.3 The time-spacial flexibility in creating new types of employment frameworks

The concept of time-spacial flexibility is a new approach in creating new types of employment frameworks for workers. The time-spacial flexibility as suggested by Wessels is a strategy for employees to be productive and staying healthy. However, research on the impact of time-spacial flexibility has been not conclusive to have only positive or negative impact outcomes on well-being, performance or managing a work-life balance. Wessels argues that current time-spacial flexibility and job crafting has been a task performed top-down, reducing the autonomy of employees and the workforce. Does time-spacial flexibility in job crafting should be a bottom up task, that not only provides the workforce on a daily level to adapt to current situations but also to provide the feeling of autonomy in making informed decisions about work performance and tasks. Wessels concludes that the formal time-spacial flexibility that employers provide should be completely separated by the time-spacial flexibility lived by employees on a daily basis. Thus, an organization should provide for the framework of a time-spatial flexibility to exist and draw up on the employees and workers to design and create their work contribution in accordance to the understanding of a time-spatial flexibility of the organization. Wessels concludes that the time-spacial flexibility depends largely on how each individual uses the concept and which extent and individual can use and manage to optimize output and deliverables. Wessels indicates that employees seeking social job resources such as seeking feedback and developing skills has led to a positive impact on an individual’s well-being. 

But because there has been no conclusive evidence or research stating that time space or flexibility provides for better work life balance, time and space flexibility should be regarded as a tool for which individuals need to build up abilities in order to effectively use this tool. Wessels highlights three dependencies for time-spacial job crafting to work. Firstly, the organizational culture needs to embrace time-spacial job crafting as a foundation for employment. Secondly, leaders and co-workers need to provide instant feedback openly and freely to allow individuals to adopt and alter. Thirdly autonomy, competence and social feedback are the needs that individuals seek, which in turn are the essential needs for time-spacial job crafting framework. Wessels indicates that time-spacial job crafting is a long-term undertaking and rests on the individual to become more proactive. Wessels argues that if used well the time-spacial job crafting will lead to higher levels of organizational commitment (Wessels et al., 2019). The time-spacial job crafting concept lies closely with the concepts of a New World of Work and it provides for a reasonable framework for how employees and workers are placed at the center of an organization. The difficult aspect though is that a fundamental shift in work ethics or organizations culture towards trust and autonomy is required. A daunting task for organizations to consider when considering shifting their culture towards a New World of Work. Key for such a transition is to understand if the benefits outweigh and potentially how to implement a New World of Work into an organization.

3.4 Setting a starting point for a New World of Work organization

Defining a future vision and identifying the starting point. In order to achieve the surroundings that are fruitful towards an employee centric organization supporting the New World of Work concept there are numerous criteria to fulfil. To a certain extent scholar have not been able to list and summarize the criteria that are required to implement a New World of Work. The New World of Work still seems to be a conceptual topic that is well understood in its singularity but not well documented in its implementation. Basically, there is a trend towards a paradigm shift in how we work, but there are no clear signs of what this actually means. A few sources provide cookbooks for New World of Work but it all comes down to an individual approach for each organization or company. Aspects drawn from literature by Covey can be summarized into: 

  1. Reshape leadership skills to support a genuine human intrinsic motivation approach
  2. Build on and invite new talents while utilizing individual competencies
  3. Live by the philosophy of circle of influence and circle of competence 

(Covey, 2004)

To implement a New World of Work will result organizations to embark on a journey, a lengthy process due to a need for cultural adaptation and change that is lived by all members of a company. Thus, organizations will need to reshape work entities and collaboration in order to provide more flexibility to workers and reap the benefits of more workers contributing. Simplifying work can thus lead to higher collaboration in a New World of Work.

3.5 Simplification, collaboration and remuneration in the New World of Work

Simplification and collaboration can be divided into two dimensions of personnel and organization, and automation and digitalization. On the one side work performed should become simplified in order to attract more contribution. Thus, companies are working to implement design thinking, change the work environment, and assist workers to focus on their deliverables and provide a setting that is conductive to rest and pleasure. As pointed out by scholar Bersin, the New World of Work leads to an era of doing less but doing it better, rather than doing more with less resources. This implies that machines will support people in tasks and thus people and machines need to collaborate instead of competing for work. Machines are becoming better at reading, analyzing and making decisions that impact work. Human resource responsibility rests in how to revise jobs so that a collaboration with machines is possible (Bersin et al., 2015). The combination of simplification and collaboration leads to platforms that provide this synergy. As the scholar Jabagi suggests, enterprise social media platform should provide three basic functions, which are developing relationships, providing feedback and managing status. The underlying reasons for organizations to adopt a New World of Work philosophy and implement sourcing platforms are comprised by the scholar Corporaal into the following three distinct reasons: 

  1. An easy and scalable solution to find talents, skills and expertise; 
  2. A non-bureaucratic process in terms of human resource management; 
  3. A reduction in costs for training, set up and overall transaction

(Corporaal, G.F., & Lehdonvirta, V., 2017). 

Although these benefits strongly suggest a reduction in cost and resources, adopting online freelancing platforms require new skills and bare new challenges. This can be the alignment of internal workers and external workers, learning new processes and procedures, increased cost with coordination of employees and external workers, increased resistance from internal staff, developing new platforms to work with legacy systems. His new challenges can result in a financial burden for an organization seeking to utilize the advantages of a crowd work environment. Thus, Corporaal provides with five recommendations towards enterprises seeking an enterprise social media platform to support crowd work: 

  1. Decide for what freelancing platforms will be needed, such as for specific tasks and divisions or for whole enterprise as a new solution to draw customers closer?
  2. Define the anticipated value received through flexible sourcing via freelancing platform 
  3. Develop a strategy for introducing a sourcing platform in divisions and the whole organization
  4. Provide for trainings to members 
  5. Creating an experimental space that allows managers and users to test and find new practices. 

As organizations improve their platforms, they face more freelancers available with skills and experience. Organizations then will need to cater for new forms of remuneration and benefits that are geared towards the types of work performed but also be able to distinguish which workers are suitable to perform work. Organizations need to curate a selection of freelancers in order to meet their expectations. When having freelancers on board, to create a community with these few talented freelancers and to complement employees in their internal positions  (Corporaal, G.F., & Lehdonvirta, V., 2017). In summary leaders need to prepare an organization to adopt a new platform that has its own management layer, a platform that enables space for experimentation and a platform that has enough financial resources allocated as well as endorsement of the entire leadership team. 

To analyze the balance between basic salaries, bonuses and benefits geared towards individual preferences. This means the workforce should also be able to readdress their salary and benefits and define new forms based on individual preferences and life stage. In the New World of Work and its followers, money is not the sole remuneration possibility. Modern workforce can provide benefits along the lines of sabbaticals, family care, housing support (Jones, 2019). Also, non-monetary benefits of autonomy, feedback and social recognition are key benefits desired by the New World of Workforce. 

4. Concluding Statement

Some corporations have implemented types of crowdsourcing work or crowd work, in order to stay flexible in their operations and for financial reasons. As research shows currently there is a polarization of the work environment. On the one side we have the traditional employer and employee relationship. This provides with security long-term planning and reliability; however, the downsides are inflexible organizational structures and high labor costs. On the other side we have the growing interest in a gig economy. This gig economy consists of part-time workers, temporary, independent and contract workers. The motivation for people to join the gig economy are basically summarized into three points which is autonomy, flexibility and purpose. Although these three points should be part of a regular employment relationship, the reality is very different. Management has evolved in the growth economy towards managing growth of an operation and not managing people or staff towards the growth of an organization. Thus, in recent years the focus has shifted from individual, people and human centric to objective, output and performance management. It is clear that under these circumstances a certain amount of people will not be interested in providing time and resources. This is why the gig economy is increasingly interesting towards a new labor force seeking autonomy, flexibility and purpose. Large enterprises have been slow to adopt a new type of labor work organization and there are numerous reasons why large enterprises find it difficult to implement a gig economy workforce. 

Useful to organizations would be to understand how large enterprises can implement a New World of Work environment in an existing enterprise organization, without major disruption in labor policies, contracts, physical or virtual necessities, additional financial or human resources. The scholar Thatcher identified that the negative implications of internal crowd work are that rewards no longer are honored as they would be in a traditional employment setting. The gig-economy lacks the processes and systems for more remuneration possibilities (Thatcher et al., 2019). Thus, it would be interesting to understand if there is a short-cut for organizations to tap into the world of New World of Work using a combination of internal crowd work and internal crowd sourcing and funding. More research would be helpful to understand how work for equity can be incorporated with forms of crowd work supporting the New World of Work concept.

5. Bibliography

Beck, U. (2000). The brave new world of work. Polity Press.

Bersin, Agarwal, Pelster, & Schwartz. (2015, February 27). Introduction: Leading in the new world of work | Deloitte Insights | Global Human Capital Trends 2015.

Brawley, A. M. (2017). The Big, Gig Picture: We Can’t Assume the Same Constructs Matter. Industrial and Organizational Psychology10(4), 687–696.

Brence, & Nowshad. (2019). Fluktuation und deren Auswirkung auf Unternehmen. 12.

Corporaal, G.F., & Lehdonvirta, V. (2017). Platform Sourcing: How Fortune 500 Firms are Adopting Online Freelancing Platforms. Oxford Internet Institute: Oxford.

Covey, S. R. (2004). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. Simon and Schuster.

Gratton, L., & Scott, A. J. (2016). The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Havard, C., Rorive, B., & Sobczak, A. (2009). Client, Employer and Employee: Mapping a Complex Triangulation. European Journal of Industrial Relations15(3), 257–276.

Howcroft, D., & Bergvall-Kåreborn, B. (2019). A Typology of Crowdwork Platforms. Work, Employment and Society33(1), 21–38.

Huws, U., & Joyce, S. (2016). Character of Austria’s “Gig Economy” revealed for the first time. Hertfordshire: University of Hertfordshire.

Huws, U., Spencer, N., & Joyce, S. (2016). Crowd work in Europe: Preliminary results from a survey in the UK, Sweden, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.

Izabella Kaminska. (2016, December 12). FT Alphaville exclusive: Inside the gig economy.

Jabagi, N., Audebrand, L. K., Croteau, A.-M., Marsan, J., & ULaval, F. (2018). Connecting with gig-workers: An organizational identification perspective. 25.

Jabagi, N., Croteau, A.-M., Audebrand, L. K., & Marsan, J. (2019). Gig-workers’ motivation: Thinking beyond carrots and sticks. Journal of Managerial Psychology34(4), 192–213.

Jones. (2019, March 26). How to adapt to the new world of work.

Lawrence Mishel. (2018, May 15). Uber and the labor market: Uber drivers’ compensation, wages, and the scale of Uber and the gig economy | Economic Policy Institute.

Pfeiler. (2020). Leadership_Engagement_Fluktuation.pdf.

Resch, B. (2015). We have the gig economy all wrong: Here’s how we reinvent the organization man in the Uber-age. Salon.

Tele Haase: Hier darf jeder der Chef sein. (2015, September 4).

Thatcher, A., Zink, K. J., & Fischer, K. (2019). Human Factors for Sustainability: Theoretical Perspectives and Global Applications. CRC Press.

Unkefer. (2017). Accenture Technology Vision 2017 Forecasts a Future of Technology for People, by People. /news/accenture-technology-vision-2017-forecasts-a-future-of-technology-for-people-by-people.htm

Wessels, C., Schippers, M. C., Stegmann, S., Bakker, A. B., van Baalen, P. J., & Proper, K. I. (2019). Fostering Flexibility in the New World of Work: A Model of Time-Spatial Job Crafting. Frontiers in Psychology10.

Workforce of the future. (2030). 42. (2018). NewWork_Web.pdf. Zukunftsinstitut.

6. List of tables and figures

Figure 1: Business Case – Costs through disengagement

Figure 2: The competing forces shaping 2030

Figure 3: Typologies of crowd work platforms

Figure 4: Proposed Conceptual Model