Work identity construction of high skilled gig workers in the design and creative industry: a study conducted in the Netherlands

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The rise of the gig economy and its impact on work arrangements and conditions have raised important questions about the work identity of gig workers. This study explores the construction of work identity among high skilled gig workers in the design and creative industry. An inductive research approach is adopted, using qualitative interviews. The study reveals that gig workers find meaning in their creative work and construct their work identity primarily in relation to their end customers rather than through the facilitating platform. Three coping mechanisms were identified in the data: connecting with other freelancers, participating in freelancer meeting initiatives and utilizing ties with family and friends. These practices help gig workers create supportive environments in the absence of traditional sources of identity formation. However, the study acknowledges limitations such as potential interpretation bias in the data analysis process, since the Gioia method was used to interpret the data. Future research is needed to assess the generalizability of the findings to other platforms, geographical areas and industries. Overall, the study's insights contribute to a better understanding of work identity among high-skilled gig workers and can inform platform design, enhance collaboration between customers and gig workers and support policymakers in shaping labor market regulations.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen