Document Type

Honors Project


The rise of the online gig economy alters ways of working. Mediated by algorithmically programmed mobile apps, platforms such as Uber and Lyft allow workers to work by driving and completing rides at any time or in any place that the drivers choose. This hybrid form of labor in an online gig economy which combines independent contract work with computer-mediated work differs from traditional manufacturing jobs in both its production activity and production relations. Through nine interviews with Lyft/Uber drivers, I found that workers’ consent, which was first articulated by Michael Burawoy in the context of the manufacturing economy, is still present in the work of the online gig economy in post-industrial capitalism. Workers willingly engage in the on-demand work not only to earn money but also to play a learning game motivated by the ambiguity of the management system, in which process they earn a sense of self-satisfaction and an illusion of autonomous control. This research points to the important role of technology in shaping contemporary labor process and suggests the potential mechanism which produces workers’ consent in technology-driven workplaces.



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