The recent rise of the platform economy (infused by ‘crowd work’ and ‘on-demand’ work) has led to new forms of work and labour markets, emerging business models, and structural economic shifts. East and Southeast Europe, as some of the largest European pools of digital platform workers, have a strong interest to exploit the potential of digitalization in the global economy.
The Reshaping Work Conference East and Southeast European (ESE) Edition, to be hosted by the Public Policy Research Center from Serbia, aims to facilitate regional discussions and push forward in anticipating impacts of the platform economy on workers, businesses, and societies in ESE. The conference seeks to discuss current trends and debates in the region, and understand how the platform economy in its different appearances unfolds, for instance, in terms of added value creation, and strategies to prevent brain drain.
While disciplines such as management, economics, politics, and communications have developed extensive bodies of literatures on platform economy they are still predominantly studied as a global phenomenon. However, in the next step, it is necessary to enrich those perspectives by analysing local, national and regional contexts, including geographically specific characteristics and implications of platform economy and work.
Therefore, we invite the submission of high quality and timely research contributions from different backgrounds, grouped together as economics, business & technology, sociology, and law & public policy that primarily focus on regional perspectives. However, submissions may take into consideration wider outlook to comparative EU and/or global perspectives. We welcome contributions from academics, independent researchers, non-profits, social activists, policy-makers, institutional representatives, businesses, start-ups, unions, platform companies, and platform workers and other stakeholders that address relevant topics this conference focuses on.
East and Southeast European Edition will focus on the following countries: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Hungary, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Belarus, yet the contributions discussing the impact of the platform economy in other countries from this broadly defined region(s) are not excluded from consideration”.
Platform economy plays an important role throughout the economy by minimizing transactions costs between entities that can benefit from getting together. In these businesses, pricing and other strategies are strongly affected by the indirect network effects between the two sides of the platform. Digital platforms are efficient and effective technological infrastructures for matching demand and supply, which are increasingly used by firms to access human capital, allowing more varied and flexible types of work for job seekers. Digital platforms affect productivity, flexibility, and interconnectivity in the economy. They change the nature of employment, their trends and characteristics. We invite contributions from the fields of economics that may examine, among others, the following aspects:
- The size and nature of platform work: a view from the region
- Digital platforms’ labour markets versus traditional labour markets: confluences and dichotomies in a regional and global perspective
- The impact of platforms on traditional work models of enterprises: how platform-based models are changing the boundaries and role of the organization in the economy
- The interaction between platform labour markets and “traditional” local labour markets – dual labour market perspective
- The impact of tax design choices on the direction of the platform economy and possibilities to decrease informal economy through platforms
- Role of decreasing prediction costs, automation, and algorithms on demand and characteristics on work and workers of platforms
- Income distribution in the “on demand” versus “crowdwork” platform economy: regional and EU cases
- Occupational restructuring and the platform work: general trends
BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY
Digital platforms promise to create opportunities and enable new business models. Platforms have the potential to allow for more varied and flexible types of work organization both for large enterprises, startups and individual entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, the platform economy brings about newly configured relationalities and responsibilities (e.g., platform companies vs. supply chain firms, gig workers vs. regular work force, etc.). Accordingly, new and ever more complex managerial and policy challenges arise, concerning work routines, distributed value creation, knowledge flows, supply chains, human resource management, corporate governance, accountability, etc. Entrepreneurs, workers, investors and also researchers become connected in new ways, at local, national, regional, and global scales. It is an unresolved question of how workers, businesses, governments, consumers, intermediaries, and the environment in East and Southeast Europe will be affected by these transformations. We invite contributions to exploring this question, especially from management, information systems, entrepreneurship, innovation studies and economic geography. Contributions may examine the following aspects:
- Who are the clients of the digital work platforms (such as Upwork, Guru, Freelancer, Designs99)? Who are the clients of digital work apps/internet platforms (Uber, Deliveroo, Glovo, etc).
- Empirical studies comparing digital business and technology in different places within and outside of ESE
- Differences/relationships between digital and traditional enterprises in ESE
- Studies of collective / distributed value creation and capture through digital business models (esp. platforms)
- Relations and responsibility in platform business models (supply chains, corporate governance, workers’ rights, etc.)
- Alternative platform business models, esp. platform cooperatives and regionally-specific strategies
- New ways of work organization (e.g., distributed workforce management through online labor platforms)
- The role of digital innovation and new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, for the emergence of new forms of digital business models and platform organizations. Startups’ role for the platform economy: regional and EU perspectives
- Digital entrepreneurship ecosystems and clusters in ESE, incl. startup communities, science & technology parks, incubators, coworking spaces, accelerators, at city and regional levels
Digital platforms and online marketplaces for goods and services operate across a wide variety of labour markets and socio-economic contexts. As current trends show, the participation of workers, users and prosumers from the region of ESE (particularly from Ukraine, Serbia, Hungary and Romania) to global digital platforms is significant, yet the analysis of different aspects of their position, mechanisms of inclusion, identities, their social and human capitals in relation to platform work is widely neglected. The focus of this call is on features and agency of those working and living within digital platforms, under the key hypothesis that in digital age connectivity makes the distinction between work and activity even more uncertain.
We invite contributions from the field of social sciences that address, among others, the following topics focused on the regional including comparative perspectives:
- Organization of work, flexibility and autonomy of platform workers: ‘New’ dominant values.
- Platform economy as model of social organization characterized by the increasing prominence of forms of self-management. Algorithmic management, on demand services and Gig workers rights;
- Who are the platform workers and the prosumers: convergence and divergence of social and economic upgrading in the platform economy;
- Workers and Prosumers identities in the platform economy between labour and consumption;
- Social mobility and platform workers: comparative perspectives;
- Workers subjective experiences, human capital and the future of skills in platform work and gig economy.
- Complex identities of platform workers: devices of reputation and on line ranking, equity in regional perspective;
- New forms of workers mobilization and coalition in the platform economy and implications for labour conflict and regulation;
- The place of trust-building in platform work. Social capital within the platform work: networking practices, information sharing, civic engagement: unions, informal workers’ groups;
- The place of ethics in platform work: regional and global perspectives;
- The place of activism, voluntary and unpaid free work in platform economy;
- Intersectional studies on platform work (gender, class, nationality, etc.). Marginalized groups and access to platform work;
- Differences and similarities in the forms of collective action and representation across the Global East and the Global West.
- Gaining knowledge of the platform work: new methods of researching platform work
LAW AND PUBLIC POLICY
Legal and policy solutions for new forms of work stemming from platform economy, such as the “crowd work” and “on-demand work” are in the infancy stage in almost all the countries in the region. Yet the importance of these solutions is significant for nurturing platform economy and providing for regulated work conditions for platform workers. Thus, in the field of law and public policy, we welcome papers that explore possible approaches to the regulation of platform work, including soft law, local or regional pilots, the ‘right to challenge’, and self-regulation. We also welcome papers that would address the international regulation of platform work, including data transparency regulations. Papers that reflect empirical legal studies linked to one of the suggested topics are most welcome.
- Platforms between regulation and innovation: the challenges of regulating the platform economy
- The impact of EU legislation, especially Regulation (EU) 2019/1150 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services
- The role of the local level in global platforms and businesses – local politics, local labour markets, local geography
- Corporate law: the role of the local and national in global platforms and businesses – local and national politics in the region
- Labour law and policy: stimulating entrepreneurship, protecting workers and regulating the labour market in the region and Europe
- Regulation of social protection mechanisms of platform labour force: comparative country experiences
- Dispute resolution: role of arbitration, mediation, courts, and regulation
- Consumer protection &/or Competition law: impact on establishing a level playing field
- Regulation of authorship: protecting intellectual property arising from platform work
- Data protection and platform work: regulation cases regionally and globally
- Combatting discrimination in the platform economy: platforms, workers and consumers
- Data sovereignty and data transparency
Those wishing to participate in the conference by presenting a research paper/report are requested to submit an extended abstract (around 800 words) by October 15th 2019. Applicants should include their title, institutional affiliation, and indicate the division to which their work belongs (economics, business & technology, sociology & or law & public policy).
Abstracts should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also contact Branka Andjelkovic, Head of the Committee at email@example.com with any questions you may have about scholarly contributions to this conference. Notification of acceptance will be sent in the second half of October.
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