Motivation in the Gig Economy : A Case Study of Gig Workers in the IT and Business Consulting Industry

Detta är en Master-uppsats från KTH/Skolan för industriell teknik och management (ITM); KTH/Skolan för industriell teknik och management (ITM)

Sammanfattning: The number of self-employed has been rising and it is estimated that 20–30% of the working-age population in the EU-15 and the U.S. is involved in some form of independent work. This growth is driven by technological advancements, changing work values and an overall need to adapt to a high-change environment. This has given rise to a new term: the gig economy. The IT and Business consulting industry has started to tap further into the gig economy and has started to realize that it could be beneficial to interact with gig workers in new ways, since current arrangements with subcontracting consultants are insufficient. In order to redesign current arrangements in an efficient way, it is of interest to gain a greater understanding of the incumbents’ perspectives. This thesis investigates what motivational factors that are the most distinguishing to work in the gig economy in the IT and Business consulting industry. Thereto, possibilities and limitations for transferring theories of entrepreneurial motivation to the gig economy are discussed. Further, the thesis elaborates upon how the findings can be used in practice and what insights they provide for redesigning consultancies. The thesis employed a case study methodology where semi-structured interviews with gig workers in the context of this study were conducted. The study was influenced by previous research in entrepreneurial motivation, a closely related area within self-employment. The result is that the most distinguishing motivational factors are independence and development. A motivation for independence expresses itself in wanting to decide which projects to take on as well as where and when, and not having a superior that tells you what to do. A motivation for development involves the need for learning new things, improve your skills, and take on challenges. Networking and building relationships are important parts of being a gig worker and often necessities, but even though some gig workers really enjoyed these activities, it is hard to determine whether they are motivating in themselves. Thereto, it was found that monetary rewards were not motivational per se, but a necessity for working. The motivational factors were found to be rooted in the inherent motivations of high need for achievement, desire for independence, internal locus of control, and high self-efficacy. Lastly, there are both possibilities and limitations of theory transfer. The possibilities concern the similarities of the roles when viewing them as self-employed and the limitations concern the theories that are tightly coupled to the entrepreneurial process.

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