How do gig platforms prevent workers from defecting to a competitor? Drawing on 40 original interviews and survey data from 210 ride-hail drivers, the author finds that platform companies calibrate workers' exposure to market risk using gamified reward systems. These rewards protect compliant workers from changes in market conditions, raising the costs of accepting work from a competitor. Yet those who do not comply are “pushed” to the periphery, increasing their market risk. This article illustrates how platform companies can use their “visible hands” to harness and control market forces, shaping worker behavior within and across platforms.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Industrial relations
- Strategy and Management
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
- Management of Technology and Innovation