On-Demand Work in Platform Economy: Implications for Sustainable Development

  • Laura SeppänenEmail author
  • Mervi Hasu
  • Sari Käpykangas
  • Seppo Poutanen
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 825)


The global importance of crowd or on-demand work via digital platforms is increasing. Platform enterprises create and manage two- or many-sided markets by enabling suppliers and buyers of services meet in a flexible and scalable way, creating new economic efficiencies. However, platform work may also increase invisibility, uncertainty, risks, and competition for workers [2]. This paper investigates the sustainability of on-demand work through a dynamic analysis of the resources available to workers when facing an abrupt change in their work organization. Our empirical case is a platform-driven food courier company in the Helsinki region, Finland. We discuss the resources we found in the light of the immunity, control and fungibility mechanisms that lead to both opportunities and vulnerabilities for the on-demand workers [9]. The paper yields practice-based empirical insights of how immunity, control and fungibility are experienced by workers, and thus add our understanding of the often invisible and dark side of on-demand work. At the end, we present our conclusions regarding research on sustainable development.



We thank the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) for help, and students of the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, for discussions on platform work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Seppänen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mervi Hasu
    • 2
  • Sari Käpykangas
    • 3
  • Seppo Poutanen
    • 4
  1. 1.Finnish Institute of Occupational HealthHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.University of OsloOsloNorway
  3. 3.Finnish Institute of Occupational HealthTampereFinland
  4. 4.University of TurkuTurkuFinland

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