Justice expectations in crowd and platform-mediated work

Pfeiffer S, Kawalec S (2020)

Publication Language: English

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2020


Book Volume: 31

Journal Issue: 4

DOI: 10.1177/1035304620959750

Open Access Link: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1035304620959750


Crowdwork conducted via digital platforms is a young form of work, but a growing part of the gig economy. Typical for crowdwork is low pay, volatile income streams and no social security benefits. Also, crowdworkers have few possibilities for social comparison or negotiation because they work outside of company organisations. This article examines the question of whether these conditions mean that crowdworkers’ expectations about justice in crowdwork arrangements differ in comparison to their expectations regarding justice in conventional employment relationships. This question is addressed empirically on the basis of 36 qualitative interviews and a survey of 230 crowdworkers. The justice expectations of crowdworkers involved in different types of crowdworking platforms in German-speaking countries were examined. In our sample, crowd work typically serves to supplement – not replace – conventional employment. This explorative research shows that crowdworkers use similar standards of justice regarding work performance in their evaluations of work mediated via crowdwork platforms and conventional employment. It shows that crowdworkers perceive injustices in four specific areas: planning insecurity, lack of transparency in performance evaluation, lack of clarity in task briefings and low remuneration. These areas correspond to the theoretical dimensions of distributive and procedural justice on Colquitt’s (2001) organisational justice scale. These findings have implications for future efforts to regulate crowdwork.

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Pfeiffer, S., & Kawalec, S. (2020). Justice expectations in crowd and platform-mediated work. Economic and Labour Relations Review, 31(4). https://doi.org/10.1177/1035304620959750


Pfeiffer, Sabine, and Sandra Kawalec. "Justice expectations in crowd and platform-mediated work." Economic and Labour Relations Review 31.4 (2020).

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