Is platform capitalism legit? Ask the workers

To endure, new forms of organizing must be perceived as legitimate. This study brings to the forefront the overlooked perspective of workers as they discuss an organization’s novel solutions to the universal problems of organizing, pertaining to the division of labor and integration of effort. Using the platform economy as our empirical context and utilizing a topic-modeling analysis of 120,116 forum posts on – the most popular forum for Uber drivers – we investigate the drivers’ perspective on Uber’s platform capitalism – representing the dominant form of organizing in the platform economy. We draw on theories of legitimacy of new organizational forms and institutional environment, while using framing as the lens, to reveal that workers do not always succumb to the organizing solutions imposed on them and instead act as active contributors and evaluators. In addition, we show how different regulatory environments shape workers’ legitimation of organizing solutions. Our findings offer several important contributions to the literature on legitimation, new organizational forms, and institutional environment.


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Is platform capitalism legit? Ask the workers
Karanovic, J., Berends, H. and Engel, Y. (2018), 'Is platform capitalism legit? Ask the workers', Academy of Management Proceedings, 1.


  • Uber
  • transport
  • On-location platform-determined routine work
  • Other
  • 2018
  • Research publication
  • platform characteristics, motivation
  • English
  • Academy of Management Proceedings (Publisher)
  • Quantitative research
  • Subscription
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