The Algorithm as your Boss?

The Algorithm as your Boss? – Platformization and Decent Work

The growth in platform-based employment requires a deeper understanding of the role of algorithms in work environments. Digital platforms which organize work (such as Helpling, Foodora or Uber) often act as a ‘boss’ exerting control over a large number of decentralized employees. Algorithms are used to distribute tasks, optimize work process and evaluate workers. The use of these novel forms of workforce management is growing, but there is little research dedicated to its implementation and impacts.

In this research project supported by the Hans Böckler Stiftung, we examine the role of algorithms by food delivery platforms in Berlin from an interdisciplinary perspective. We examine legal, social and technical aspects of algorithmic management in order to understand the novel dynamics of autonomy and control that they generate. We want to understand if current labor laws and policies provide adequate protection of workers or if and how they should be adjusted to fit the realities of the digital economy.


Ivanova, Mirela, Joanna Bronowicka, Eva Kocher und Anne Degner, 2018. The App as a Boss?. Control and Autonomy in Application-Based Management, Arbeit | Grenze | Fluss – Work in Progress interdisziplinärer Arbeitsforschung 2, Frankfurt (Oder): Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt, 27 Seiten. doi:10.11584/Arbeit-Grenze-Fluss.2

Degner, Anne und Eva Kocher, 2018. Arbeitskämpfe in der „Gig-Economy“?. Die Protestbewegungen der Foodora- und Deliveroo-„Riders“ und Rechtsfragen ihrer kollektiven Selbstorganisation, KJ Kritische Justiz, 51(3), S. 247-265. doi:10.5771/0023-4834-2018-3-247

Research team

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The research is supported by the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung in the context of “Forschungsverbund Digitalisierung, Mitbestimmung, gute Arbeit”.

Project description in German on the website of  European University Viadrina.

Detailed project description on the website of Hans-Böckler-Stiftung.