Online Labour Markets research theme

I am a member of the ERC-funded project ‘iLabour: The construction of Labour Markets, Institutions and Movements on the Internet‘. This project examines online freelance work and online labour platforms. Labor markets are undergoing a dramatic transformation whereby standard full-time employment is increasingly supplemented by temporary and remote working arrangements that are mediated by online platforms.

I investigate the technology firms that operate online labor marketplaces. Conventionally, labor markets are managed by policy makers and shaped by employment laws, collective bargaining, and local norms. But in the digital economy, platforms are making important decisions on matters ranging from minimum wages to matching people with jobs. I advance neo-institutional theory by examining the research question: ‘How – as new intermediaries – do platforms design and operate their markets for online work, thereby developing new labor market institutions?’ I also investigate firm adoption of platforms and how they are changing their organizational processes and practices internally to engage online freelancers as part of their contingent workforce.

I negotiated access and conducted a one-year ethnographic study inside the world’s largest online labor platform, and of its users. Next to using conventional ethnographic methods of participant observation, in-depth interviews, document analysis, I also developed novel methods for studying the platform’s online interactional spaces. Analysis of this extensive dataset is ongoing. I’m currently conducting data analysis of this extensive dataset and writing up the findings. My first achievement from this body of work ‘Platform sourcing: How Fortune 500 firms are adopting online freelancing platforms’, discusses the challenges that business firms face when adopting online labor platforms. The research report received international recognition from scholars, the media, and policy-makers.

Research Reports

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

Peer Reviewed Conference Papers and Presentations

Corporaal, G.F. and Lehdonvirta, V. (2018). Motivations for platform sourcing: Why do firms adopt online labor markets for knowledge work? Paper presented at Reshaping Work conference, Amsterdam, October 25-26, 2018.

Media Articles

Corporaal, G.F. (2017). 6 dimensions of value: Comparing platform versus agency-based sourcing OII iLabour BlogCorporaal, G.F. (2017) How the Fortune 500 experiment with platform adoption OII iLabour Blog

Corporaal, G.F. (2017). Organizing for successful platform adoption OII iLabour Blog

Corporaal, G.F. (2017). Organizing with on-demand freelancers in the platform economy: Part Two Open Democracy

Corporaal, G.F. (2017). Organizing with on-demand freelancers in the platform economy: Part One Open Democracy

Check my Research Gateprofile for more information

Invited Presentations

“Platform sourcing as an occasion for re-organizing external knowledge work,” EMLyon Business School, April 2 2019, Lyon, France.

“Theorizing online labour platforms as a model for organizing knowledge work.” Royal Holloway University London, 14 November 2018, London, UK.

“The future of work: The role of online labour platforms,” BeyondHR Forum, 14-15 June 2018, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

“Online freelancing platforms and the future of work,” 2018 Responsible Business Forum: Economics of mutuality, Said Business School, 18 May 2018, Oxford, UK

“Studying online labour markets: Methodological opportunities and challenges,” Symposium on “Old Wine in New Bottles: Continuities, Disruptions, and The Management of Work in the Sharing/Gig Economy, 15 December 2017, Sussex, UK

“Digitisation of the labour market: The role of online platforms,” ESCO: Connecting People and Jobs Conference, 09 October 2017, Brussels, Belgium