Introduction: The Policy Implications of Virtual Work

  • Pamela Meil
  • Vassil Kirov
Chapter
Part of the Dynamics of Virtual Work book series (DVW)

Abstract

The world of digital work has proved to be very divisive, especially for those trying to regulate it. New developments have generated almost utopian visions of opportunities for participation, democratization, innovation and sharing. These developments have also led policy makers to see regulation voids, de-professionalization, concentration of markets, new forms of surveillance and threats to intellectual property as real threats to workers and citizens if ways are not found to regulate digital spaces without destroying their potential. This chapter provides an overview of developments in digital environments and of the debates surrounding them. It places the chapters in this book within these debates and identifies a range of policy challenges for virtual work as a point of departure to navigate potential alternatives for policy and regulation.

Keywords

Virtual work Digital labor Policy regulation Employment Crowdsourcing Industrie 4.0 

References

  1. Autor, D. (2015). Why are there still so many jobs? The history and future of workplace automation. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 29(3), 3–30.Google Scholar
  2. Benkler, Y. (2006). The wealth of networks. New Haven/London: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Brynjolfsson, E., & McAfee, A. (2011). Race against the machine: How the digital revolution is accelerating innovation, driving productivity, and irreversibly transforming employment and the economy. Lexington: Digital Frontier Press.Google Scholar
  4. Cohen, R. (1995). The economic impact of information technology. Business Economics, 30(4), 21–25.Google Scholar
  5. De Stefano, V. (2016). The rise of the “just-in-time workforce”: On-demand work, crowdwork and labour protection in the “gig-economy”. Geneva: ILO.Google Scholar
  6. Degryse, C. (2016). Digitalisation of the economy and its impact on labour markets (ETUI working paper). Brussels: ETUI.Google Scholar
  7. Delteil, V., & Kirov, V. (Eds.). (2016). Labour and social transformations in central and eastern Europe: Europeanization and beyond. Abingdon/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Drahoukopil, J., & Fabo, B. (2016). The platform economy and the disruption of the employment relationship (ETUI policy brief, European Economic, Employment and Social Policy No. 5). Brussels: ETUI.Google Scholar
  9. Eurofound. (2015). New forms of employment. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.Google Scholar
  10. Farley vs. Facebook (2011). Case no. 11-CV-01726-LHK, United States District Court for the Northern District of California.Google Scholar
  11. Felstiner, A. (2011). Working the crowd: Employment and labor law in the crowdsourcing industry. Berkeley Journal of Employment & Labor Law, 32(1), 143–203.Google Scholar
  12. Flecker, J., & Meil, P. (2010). Organisational restructuring and emerging service value chains: Implications for work and employment. Work, Employment and Society, 24(4), 680–698.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Freeman, C., & Soete, L. (1994). Work for all or mass unemployment? Computerised technical change into the 21st century. London: Pinter Publishers.Google Scholar
  14. Frey, C., & Osborne, M. (2013). The future of employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation? Oxford Martin School. Available at http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downloads/academic/The_Future_of_Employment.pdf. Accessed 11 Nov 2016.
  15. Green, A., de Hoyos, M., Barnes, S.-A., Baldauf, B., & Behle, H. (2013), CrowdEmploy Part I: Crowdsourcing for paid work. An empirical investigation into the impact of crowdsourcing for paid work on employability. Warwick/Seville: Warwick Institute for Employment Research/Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS). http://ftp.jrc.es/EURdoc/JRC85751.pdf
  16. Hirsch-Kreinsen, H. (2016). Industrie 4.0 als Technologieversprechen (Soziologisches Arbeitspapier Nr. 46). Technische Universität Dortmund.Google Scholar
  17. Holtgrewe, U. (2014). New new technologies: The future and the present of work in information and communication technology. New Technology, Work and Employment, 29(1), 9–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Holtgrewe, U., Kirov, V., & Ramioul, M. (Eds.). (2015). Hard work in the new jobs. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  19. Howe, J., & Robinson, M. (2005, June). The rise of crowdsourcing. Wired, Issue 14.06.Google Scholar
  20. Huws, U. (2003). The making of a cybertariat: Virtual work in a real world. London: Merlin Books.Google Scholar
  21. Huws, U. (2014). Labor in the global digital economy: The cybertariat comes of age. New York: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  22. Huws, U., Spencer, N. H., & Joyce, S. (2016). Crowd work in Europe: Preliminary results from a survey in the UK, Sweden, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands. Brussels: European Foundation for Progressive Studies.Google Scholar
  23. Irani, L. (2015, January 15). Justice for “data janitors.” Public Books. http://www.publicbooks.org/nonfiction/justice-for-data-janitors
  24. LaPlante, R., & Silberman, M. S. (2016). Building trust in crowd worker forums: Worker ownership, governance, and work outcomes. In Weaving relations of trust in crowd work: Transparency and reputation across platforms, workshop co-located with WebSci ’16, May 22–25, 2016, Hannover, Germany.Google Scholar
  25. McLaren, D., & Agyeman, J. (2015). Sharing cities. A case for truly smart and sustainable cities. Boston: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  26. Meil, P. (Ed.). (2009). Challenges for Europe under value chain restructuring: Contributions to policy debates. Leuven: HIVA.Google Scholar
  27. Meil, P. (2012a). Globale Wertschöpfung und Wandel der Arbeitsorganisation (Global Value Chains and Changes in Work Organization), Fachexpertise im Auftrag des Bundesministeriums für Arbeit und Soziales, im Rahmen des Projekts “Arbeitsmarkt 2030”.Google Scholar
  28. Meil, P. (2012b). Kettenreaktionen: Die Rolle von Arbeitnehmervertretungen unter sich wandelnden Arbeits- und Beschäftigungsbedingungen. In Flecker, J. (Hrsg.), Arbeit in Ketten und Netzen. Die dynamische Vernetzung von Unternehmen und die Qualität der Arbeit (pp. 289–324). Berlin: Sigma.Google Scholar
  29. Meil, P. (2014). Digitale Arbeit, digitale Beschäftigung und die Zukunft des Arbeitsmarkts: Eine soziologische Perspektive. In Arbeitsmarkt 2030, Analyse der zukünftigen Arbeitskräftenachfrage und des –angebots in Deutschland auf Basis eines Rechenmodells (pp. 96–105). Expertise for the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.Google Scholar
  30. Meil, P. (2015). ICT and work: Future opportunities, fresh insecurities, keynote at the changing working conditions in Europe: Moving towards better work- Joint conference organised by Eurofound in cooperation with the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union, 23–24 Nov 2015, Luxembourg.Google Scholar
  31. Meil, P., Tengblad, P., & Doherty, P. (2009). Value chain restructuring and industrial relations: The role of workplace representation in changing conditions of employment and work. Leuven: HIVA.Google Scholar
  32. Milland, K. (2016). Crowd work: Shame, secrets, and an imminent threat to employment. In: Global Labour Column, Number 238, June 2016, http://column.global-labour-university.org/
  33. Pfeiffer, S. (2016). Industrie 4.0: Soziale Technikgestaltung in der Industrie 4.0 BMAS Werkreihe.Google Scholar
  34. Rifkin, J. (2014). The internet of things, the collaborative commons, and the eclipse of capitalism. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.Google Scholar
  35. Sauer, D., Diess, M, Doehl, V., Bieber, D., & Altmann, N. (forthcoming – Re-issue first published in 1992). Systemic rationalisation and inter-company divisions of labor. In N. Altmann, C. Koehler, & P. Meil (Eds.), Technology and work in German Industry (pp. 46–62). London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  36. Schörpf, P., Flecker, J., & Schönauer, A. (2017). On call for one’s online reputation - control and time in creative crowdwork. In K. Briken, S. Chillas, M. Krzywdzinski, & A. Marks (Eds.), The new digital workplace. How new technologies revolutionise work. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  37. Simon, J. P. (2016). How to catch a Unicorn. An exploration of the universe of tech companies with high market capitalisation. EC JRC IPTS, forthcoming.Google Scholar
  38. Standing, G. (2011). The precariat. The new dangerous class. London: Bloomsbury Academic.Google Scholar
  39. Valenduc, G., & Vendramin, P. (2016). Work in the digital economy: sorting the old from the new (ETUI working paper). Brussels: ETUI.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pamela Meil
    • 1
  • Vassil Kirov
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Social Science Research ISF MunichMunichGermany
  2. 2.Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge, Bulgarian Academy of SciencesSofiaBulgaria

Personalised recommendations