An Institutional Logics Perspective on the Gig Economy

Koen Frenken, Taneli Vaskelainen, Lea Fuenfschilling, Laura Piscicelli

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (SciVal)


We witness rising tensions between online gig-economy platforms, incumbent firms, regulators, and labor unions. In this chapter, we use the framework of institutional logics as an analytical lens and scheme to understand the fundamental institutional challenges prompted by the advent of the online gig economy. We view gig-economy platforms as corporations that organize and self-regulate markets. In doing so, they span two parallel markets: the market for platforms competing to provide intermediation services and the market for the self-employed competing on platforms to provide peer-to-peer services. Self-regulation by platforms also weakens the traditional roles of the state. While the corporation and market logics empower the platform, they weaken self-employed suppliers as platforms’ design constrain suppliers to grow into a full-fledged business by limiting their entrepreneurial freedom. At the same time, current labor law generally does not classify suppliers as employees of the platform company, which limits the possibility to unionize. The current resolutions to this institutional misalignment are sought in “band aid solutions” at the level of sectors. Instead, as we argue, macro-institutional reform may be needed to re-institutionalize gig work into established institutional logics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTheorizing the Sharing Economy: Variety and Trajectories of New Forms of Organizing
EditorsIndre Maurer, Johanna Mair, Achim Oberg
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Limited
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-78756-179-3
ISBN (Print)978-1-78756-180-9
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameResearch in the Sociology of Organizations

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Economics


Dive into the research topics of 'An Institutional Logics Perspective on the Gig Economy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this