"Exploring the future of work & the freelance economy"

Symposium : “Platform Economy Puzzles: Unraveling the Gig Work Paradox”

19 november 2019

The topic of gig work provokes mixed reactions among policy-makers, industry players, and the individuals using online labor platforms. On the one hand, online platforms for on-demand labor such as Uber, Deliveroo or Helpling, provide an unprecedented opportunity to optimize efficiency and to bring marginal workers into the labor force. On the other hand, they provoke concerns about labor rights, social justice, and viability of the business model.

We hope you agree with us that this is a complex topic which requires an in-depth understanding of socio-political and legal institutions, human behavior, platform business models, the possibilities and limitations of algorithms and technology, and last, but not least – how all of this fits together. So how does it all fit together? How can we use already existing knowledge to address the unique challenges of making the platform economy work for everyone?

These are the questions we address during the upcoming multidisciplinary symposium: ‘Platform Economy Puzzles: Unravelling the Gig Work Paradox’ to be held at the University of Twente, The Netherlands. The symposium aims not only at inventorying and applying existing knowledge, but also at identifying the ‘blind spots’ in research programs and evaluating solutions. For this  reason, we bring together leading scholars from different disciplines and a variety of stakeholders,  including platform workers, online labor platform representatives, and policy makers. Together, we aim to bring the platform economy debate one step further and to start unraveling the gig work paradox.

 

PROGRAM

9:30 Registration & Coffee
10:00 – 10:15 Welcome

Opening remarks by the organizers: Dr. Victoria Daskalova, Dr. Giedo Jansen and Dr. Jeroen Meijerink (University of Twente, The Netherlands

10:15 – 11:00 Keynotes

Prof. Dr. Christian Fieseler (BI Norwegian Business School, Norway)

Prof. Dr. Shae McCrystal (The University of Sydney, Australia)

11:00 – 11:30 Coffee
11:30 – 12:30 Session I: People

 

In this session, we focus on the individuals working via online labor platforms and the psychological, organizational, and financial challenges and opportunities they experience.  Dr. Niels van Doorn (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and Damion Bunders, MSc. (Utrecht University, The Netherlands) provide short reflections on the challenges and opportunities of working for platforms.

 

The academic reflection is followed by an interactive, 30-minute panel discussion with platform workers who will share their experiences and engage in Q&A with the symposium participants. The panel includes users of various platforms which differ in terms of types of tasks, size, and global reach such as Deliveroo, Uber, and Ernst & Young.

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch break and speed-match session

The speed-match session is an opportunity to explore opportunities for collaboration. There is a limited number of spots for this session. Please indicate your interest to participate by selecting the option during registration.

13:30 – 14:30 Session II: Platforms

 

Prof. dr. Anne Keegan (University College Dublin, Ireland) addresses the paradoxes involved in the management and governance of online labor platforms, while Prof. Dr. Tanya Bondarouk (University of Twente, The Netherlands) will reflect on the role of information technologies in online labor platforms.

 

This is followed by a panel discussion on the online platform firms’ perspective. Representatives of platforms and the symposium participants will be invited to address the questions such as: How can/do platforms add value to society? What issues (business processes, regulation, user experience) do platforms currently struggle with? How will the platform economy develop further? Confirmed platform participants include representatives of DeliverooGigNow (by Ernst & Young), Verloning.nl and HiHi Guide. 

14:30 – 15:00 Coffee
15:00 – 16:00 Session III: Policy

 

What are the challenges facing regulators and established institutional actors?  Prof. Dr. Masako Wakui (Kyoto University, Japan) and Dr. Victoria Daskalova (University of Twent, The Netherlands e) provide a comparative perspective on competition law. Dr. Paul Jonker Hoffren (University of Turku, Finland) reflects on how trade unions respond to the gig economy.

 

Debate: the symposium concludes with three rounds of debates on pressing policy issues such as the legal status of platform workers and co-determination by workers. The audience is invited to join the debate and vote on controversial policy propositions. Representatives from the OECDEuropean Parliament and Autoriteit Consument & Markt (ACM).

16:00 – 17:30 Closing remarks and drinks

 

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