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Regulating Flexibility: Uber’s Platform as a Technological Work Arrangement

Sigurd Martin Nordli Oppegaard

Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies 2020

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Forskningstema: Ny teknologi

Forskere på Fafo: Sigurd M. Nordli Oppegaard

When initiating its Norwegian operations, the transportation platform Uber adjusted its business model to the Norwegian regulation of the taxi market by focusing on its high-end offering, Uber Black, organized through limousine companies who employ the drivers and own the cars. The Uber Black drivers in Oslo are classified as employees and endowed with a substantially flexible work arrangement. Based on a ‘traveling ethnography’ among Uber Black drivers in Oslo, this article conceptualizes Uber’s digital platform as a technological work arrangement. The analysis shows that while the platform is experienced as an opaque form of management that limits the drivers’ formal flexibility, the effects of the technological work arrangement is contingent on the drivers’ formal work arrangement and the characteristics of the Uber Black market in Oslo.

Regulating Flexibility: Uber’s Platform as a Technological Work Arrangement