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  • 1.
    Bergvall-Kåreborn, Birgitta
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Howcroft, Debra
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    ‘The future’s bright, the future’s mobile’: a study of Apple and Google mobile application developers2013In: Work, Employment and Society, ISSN 0950-0170, E-ISSN 1469-8722, Vol. 27, no 6, p. 964-981Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Software work is often depicted as a ‘sunrise occupation’, consisting of knowledge workers that are able to craft stable careers. The aim of this article is to question this account by analysing the experiences of mobile applications developers, with a focus on Apple and Google platforms. The analysis is situated in the context of wider socioeconomic trends and developments in product and technology markets, since these structures frame the working practices of software developers. Drawing on qualitative fieldwork in Sweden, the UK, and the US, the study reveals how changing market structures have given rise to increasingly precarious working conditions and unstable labour markets.

  • 2.
    Carter, Bob
    et al.
    De Montfort University.
    Danford, Andy
    University of West of England.
    Howcroft, Debra
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Richardson, Helen
    Sheffield Hallam University.
    Taylor, Phil
    University of Strathclyde.
    Smith, Andrew
    Bradford University.
    ‘Stressed out of my box’: employee experience of lean working and occupational ill-health in clerical work in the UK public sector2013In: Work, Employment and Society, ISSN 0950-0170, E-ISSN 1469-8722, Vol. 27, no 5, p. 747-767Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Occupational health and safety (OHS) is under-researched in the sociology of work and employment. This deficit is most pronounced for white-collar occupations. Despite growing awareness of the significance of psychosocial conditions – notably stress – and musculoskeletal disorders, white-collar work is considered by conventional OHS discourse to be ‘safe’. This study’s locus is clerical processing in the UK public sector, specifically Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, in the context of efficiency savings programmes. The key initiative was lean working, which involved redesigned workflow, task fragmentation, standardization and individual targets. Utilizing a holistic model of white-collar OHS and in-depth quantitative and qualitative data, the evidence of widespread self-reported ill-health symptoms is compelling. Statistical tests of association demonstrate that the transformed work organization that accompanied lean working contributed most to employees’, particularly women’s, ill-health complaints

  • 3.
    Howcroft, Debra
    et al.
    University of Manchester, UK.
    Bergvall-Kåreborn, Birgitta
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Computer Science.
    A Typology of Crowdwork Platforms2019In: Work, Employment and Society, ISSN 0950-0170, E-ISSN 1469-8722, Vol. 33, no 1, p. 21-38Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Despite growing interest in the gig economy among academics, policy makers and media commentators, the area is replete with different terminology, definitional constructs and contested claims about the ensuing transformation of work organisation. The aim of this positional piece is to provide a timely review and classification of crowdwork. A typology is developed to map the complexity of this emerging terrain, illuminating range and scope by critically synthesising empirical findings and issues from multidisciplinary literatures. Rather than side-tracking into debates as to what exactly constitutes crowdwork, the purpose of the typology is to highlight commonalities rather than distinctions, enabling connections across areas. The framework serves as a heuristic device for considering the broader implications for work and employment in terms of control and coordination, regulation and classification, and collective agency and representation.

  • 4.
    Howcroft, Debra
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Richardson, Helen
    University of Salford.
    The back office goes global: exploring connections and contradictions in shared service centres2012In: Work, Employment and Society, ISSN 0950-0170, E-ISSN 1469-8722, Vol. 26, no 1, p. 111-127Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article explores a neglected aspect of IT-enabled service work: the back office. The fieldwork study reveals how back office service work has been identified as suitable for ongoing reorganization and reconfiguration as firms respond to the pressures of contemporary capitalism. The article focuses on standardization as a means of facilitating organizational restructuring into shared service centres as highly skilled back office work is reframed as routine service work. Standardization is the vehicle that drives the commodification of the labour process as tasks are fragmented, quantified and traded in the global sourcing of services, allowing work to be lifted out of traditional organizational structures and placed elsewhere, or outsourced to other service providers. The study shows how this ongoing process is fraught with contradictions, problematically rendering people and place ancillary.

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