Crowdwork

Expectations of german crowdworkers on three selected platforms.

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Abstract

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Crowdwork, or distributed and platform-mediated contract work, is a relatively new form of work potentially challenging existing fairness norms. Crowdwork is often characterised by low and volatile incomes without benefits, but traditional labor market institutions to negotiate industrial relations are inoperative for such contract work.

Though formally self-employed, crowdworkers expectations of fairness may be deeply shaped by and expressed through traditional labor market institutions such as labor law, unions and compensation, none of which apply to nascent crowdwork.

We study the subjective expectations of workers on three german-language crowdworking platforms specialized on testing, design and microjobs. Using an exploratory design, we find that crowdworkers judge their pay and assessment by standards borrowed from traditional employment. Many are dissatisfied with the procedures and outcomes of their performance-based compensation.

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