Regulating Digital Labor Platforms: Embracing a Plurality of Organizational Archetypes
Seminar in presence
Building BL26/B – Room 0.19 (ground floor)
Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering
Via R. Lambruschini, 4/B
Gustavson School of Business, University of Victoria
Academic, practitioner, and policy interest in digital labor platforms (DLPs)–businesses that use their digital infrastructure to intermediate transactions between workers and clients who need their services–is surging.
While these transformational platforms have given rise to many benefits, there are growing concerns about the risks and harms they create for workers and community stakeholders. As such, there is growing interest on the part of management research to understand the dynamics and possibilities of DLP regulation. While this body of research has generated many important insights, it is still in its infancy when it comes to identifying potential regulatory remedies and has tended to focus almost exclusively on corporate DLPs.
In this paper, we advance a framework of DLP regulation related to worker and community stakeholder risks and harms that compares four organizational archetypes of DLPs: corporate DLPs, cooperative DLPs, DAO DLPs, and cooperative DAO DLPs.
We make two main contributions. First, we demonstrate the importance of considering a plurality of organizational archetypes when studying and creating policy about DLPs. Second, we broaden our understanding of the complexities and challenges of DLP regulation and identify promising interventions that can serve as templates and inspiration for further regulatory intervention.
Simon Pek is Associate Professor of Business and Society at the Gustavson School of Business, University of Victoria. His research interests include alternative forms of organizing, employee ownership, sustainability-oriented culture change, and workplace democracy. He is particularly interested in exploring how organizations can achieve their social and environmental objectives using democratic innovations. Simon’s research has appeared in outlets including Academy of Management Review, Organization Science, Strategic Management Journal, Business Ethics Quarterly and Journal of Business Ethics. He currently services as associate editor at Business & Society and the Journal of Management Inquiry. In terms of his community engagement, Simon served as the steering committee lead of the Ontario Assembly on Workplace Democracy and the project lead of the Students’ Dialogue on Democratic Engagement. Simon also co-founded Democracy In Practice, a non-profit dedicated to democratic experimentation, innovation and capacity-building. In this capacity, he spoke at the Council of Europe’s World Forum for Democracy 2016, where Democracy In Practice was selected as a finalist for the Democracy Innovation Award.