Breaking the Managerial Silencing of Worker Voice in Platform Capitalism: The Rise of a Food Courier Network

Nadia K. Kougiannou*, Pedro Mendonça

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper examines food couriers’ utilization of voice mechanisms as mobilization against employer silencing within platform capitalism. The concepts of ‘worker silence’ and ‘worker voice’ are used to facilitate an understanding of the way in which workers respond to workplace problems, as well as their capacity to respond within this specific context. Findings illustrate the role of technology as a facilitator but also inhibitor of worker voice. In particular, online food delivery companies’ over-reliance on algorithmic management and their online app drove couriers to silence. However, in reaction to managerial silencing, we show that couriers are not passive recipients of forces beyond their control, and attempt to explore new trajectories and modes of voice in order to influence their working conditions. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Management
Volume32
Issue number3
Early online date5 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2021

Keywords

  • worker voice
  • worker silencing
  • platform economy
  • gig economy
  • platform work

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