Faculty Profile

Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie Newlands

PhD Candidate - Department of Communication and Culture

Publications

Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie; Lutz, Christoph & Hoffmann, Christian Pieter (2018)

Sharing by Proxy: Invisible Users in the Sharing Economy

First Monday, 23(11), s. 1- 14. Doi: 10.5210/fm.v23i11.8159 - Fulltekst i vitenarkiv

With the future of work increasingly data-driven, platforms automate decisions based on the collection of vast quantities of user data. However, non-users constitute a challenge as they provide little to no data for either platforms or other users. We focus on a category of (non-)users that has not received any attention in research: users-by-proxy. Users-by-proxy make use of sharing services but they are not themselves part of the sharing transaction. Platforms cannot analyze their behavior to tailor services or allocate labor most effectively. Users-by-proxy also have significant implications for trust and reputation mechanisms. In this conceptual contribution, we provide a definition of users-by-proxy as a third category between users and non-users, developing a typology of users-by-proxy based on motives of non-/use. We focus on the ramifications of users-by-proxy for the future of work and their significance for the limits of data-driven decision making.

Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie; Lutz, Christoph & Fieseler, Christian (2018)

Collective Action and Provider Classification in the Sharing Economy

New technology, work and employment, 33(3), s. 250- 267. Doi: 10.1111/ntwe.12119

Conditions in the sharing economy are often favourably designed for consumers and platforms but entail new challenges for the labour side, such as substandard social-security and rigid forms of algorithmic management. Since comparatively little is known about how providers in the sharing economy make their voices heard collectively, we investigate their opinions and behaviours regarding collective action and perceived solidarities. Using cluster analysis on representative data from across twelve European countries, we determine five distinct types of labour-activists, ranging from those opposed to any forms of collective action to those enthusiastic to organise and correct perceived wrongs. We conclude by conjecturing that the still-ongoing influx of new providers, the difficulty of organising in purely virtual settings, combined with the narrative of voluntariness of participation and hedonic gratifications might be responsible for the inaction of large parts of the provider base in collectivist activities.

Lutz, Christoph & Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie (2018)

Consumer segmentation within the sharing economy: The case of Airbnb

Journal of Business Research, 88, s. 187- 196. Doi: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2018.03.019

The sharing economy is a global phenomenon with rapid growth potential. While research has begun to explore segmentation between users and non-users, only limited research has looked at consumer segmentation within sharing economy services. In this paper, we build on this research gap by investigating consumer segmentation within a single sharing economy platform: Airbnb. Utilizing a mixed methods approach, with both a quantitative survey and a qualitative content analysis of Airbnb listings, we compare two different types of accommodation offered on Airbnb: shared room and entire home. Our findings indicate that within a single platform, the variety between offerings can create distinct consumer segments based on both demographics and behavioral criteria. We also find that Airbnb hosts use marketing logic to target their listings towards specific consumer segments. However, there is not, in all cases, strong alignment between consumer segmentation and host targeting, leading to potentially reduced matching efficiency.

Lutz, Christoph; Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie & Fieseler, Christian (2018)

Emotional Labor in the Sharing Economy

Proceedings of the Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, s. 636- 645. Doi: 10.24251/HICSS.2018.081

The peer-to-peer nature of the sharing economy encourages participants to alter their behavior in ways that resemble traditional notions of emotional labor. A key element in this shift lies in the coercive nature of feedback mechanisms which condition both providers and consumers to perform emotional labor during service encounters. Using survey data from 207 sharing economy consumers in the US, we show how different facets of the feedback mechanisms employed by sharing economy services influence consumers’ emotional labor. In addition, we show how platforms and their policies matter in encouraging emotional labor, indicating the need to analyze the topic on a fine-grained level. We conclude by deriving propositions for future research and practical recommendations.

Lampinen, Airi; Lutz, Christoph, Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie, Light, Ann & Immorlica, Nicloe (2018)

Power Struggles in the Digital Economy: Platforms, Workers, and Markets

[Academic lecture]. CSCW'18: The 21st ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing.

This workshop addresses the changing nature of work and the important role of exchange platforms as both intermediaries and managers. It aims to bring together interdisciplinary and critical scholars working on the power dynamics of digitally mediated labor. By doing so, the workshop provides a forum for discussing current and future research opportunities on the digital economy, including the sharing economy, the platform economy, the gig economy, and other adjacent framings. Of particular interest to this workshop is the intersection between worker and provider subjectivities and the roles platforms take in managing work through algorithms and software. Our one-day workshop accommodates up to 20 participants.

Lutz, Christoph & Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie (2018)

Mobile Devices and Crowdwork: A Study of Amazon Mechanical Turk

[Academic lecture]. Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) Annual Conference.

This contribution was part of the panel "Revisiting Perpetual Contact: Global Voices on the Connective Potentials and Constraints of Mobile Media". Below is the description of the overall panel and then a short description of the individual contribution. The theory of "perpetual contact" was initially developed in the age of feature phones to discuss how the availability and portability afforded by mobile phones brings opportunities and risks. Since then, the rapid development of social media, alongside the popularization of smartphones, commercial platforms, media convergence, and wireless connectivity across the globe, has expanded the scope of perpetual contact. Now, more than ever, people can be constantly connected with distant others around the globe. This panel brings together a group of international researchers who examine perpetual contact in light of today’s mobile media. Four contributions, together with a notable area scholar serving as the respondent, raise critical debates and ask the following questions: What are the consequences when perpetual contact intervenes in maintaining relationships with family, friends, and colleagues, as well as the wider local and national community? How do diverse global social and cultural contexts affect experiences of perpetual contact? How does perpetual contact inform social change at personal, interpersonal, economic, political, and industrial levels? The four empirical contributions cover topics as diverse as long-distance nationalism, weak-bond friend maintenance, migrant-workers’ personal network and their mental health, and algorithmic management in the gig economy. Diverse contexts (the Philippines, US, China, Europe, and Taiwan) and methodological approaches (questionnaire survey, in-depth interview, ethnography, and online ethnography) are presented. The panel thus amplifies the voices of individuals with a range of subjectivities while also demonstrating the agency that people across geographies implement when determining how to initiate, sustain, and negotiate perpetual contact. In the individual contribution, we investigate the use of mobile devices in crowdwork, based on two online surveys: one conducted in the US and one done in India. The data is anlyzed based on the "emerging mobile underclass" framework (Napoli and Obar, 2014), which postulates that mobile Internet access is is second class Internet access due to lowered functionality, diminished participation, and less open protocols. The results generally support the emerging mobile underclass framework and point to differences between the US and India. While in both countries functionality constraints prevent the widespread use of mobile devices for crowdwork, in India affordability constraints are much more pronounced than in the US.

Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie; Lutz, Christoph & Fieseler, Christian (2018)

Between Pressure and Flexibility: Provider Scheduling in the Sharing Economy

[Academic lecture]. 5th International Conference on Management and Organization.

The sharing economy offers individuals various opportunities to generate additional income through sharing their personal possessions with strangers. The flexibility promised by sharing platforms , to share when and how often individuals prefer, has been highlighted as the key advantage of the sharing economy model. However, for sharing platforms which rely on ongoing and reliable sharing among private individuals, a tension can be observed between platforms encouraging and discouraging this flexibility. Simultaneously, the ostensible flexibility and informality of the sharing economy must increasingly reconcile itself with the reality of overwork and full-time engagement, whereby individuals may face pressure to provide a mixture of platform and individual factors. In this contribution, we conduct an initial exploration into this tension between flexibility and pressure in the sharing economy. Using data across twelve European countries, we differentiate perceptions of flexibility and control among those who share their assets. The findings indicate that perceived pressure to provide varies by country, sharing frequency, motivation, most frequently used platform, and is based on whether individuals depend on the income from sharing. Perceived schedule control varies by age, education, country , and motivation. Taken together, the results show a picture where those most involved and dependent on sharing their assets feel the most pressured, while young, lesser educated providers also have least perceived schedule control. Thus, our study presents providing in the sharing economy as a more hierarchical activity than one might assume based on media and platform narratives.

Bucher, Eliane; Fieseler, Christian, Lutz, Christoph & Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie (2018)

Managing Emotional Labor in the Sharing Economy

[Academic lecture]. Academy of Management Annual Meeting.

In the sharing economy, independent actors routinely get together to co-create service experi-ences. Here, emotional labor plays a central role in creating successful encounters. Little is known about how organizations in the sharing economy instill emotional labor practices among actors outside their direct sphere of influence. Based on a mixed methods approach which combines survey research and correspondence analysis with content analysis, we show first how both providers (hosts, drivers) and consumers (guests, passengers) of the sharing economy engage in emotional labor for the benefit of the overall quality of the sharing experi-ence. Second, we argue that platforms as facilitators of the exchange relationship actively encourage such emotional labor practices – even in the absence of direct formal power – through (hard) design features such as mutual ratings, reward systems and gamification, and through more subtle (soft) normative framing of desirable practices via platform and app guidelines, tips, community sites or blogs.

Lutz, Christoph & Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie (2018)

User Perceptions of Fairness and Regulation in the Sharing Economy

[Academic lecture]. Academy of Management Annual Meeting.

The evolution of the sharing economy over the last decade has ushered in a variety of techno-logical advances, particularly with regard to intelligent matching software and connectivity services. However, these advancements are often framed within a dichotomy of ‘beneficial innovation’ and ‘obstructive regulation’. Although greater insight into the necessity of regula-tion is crucial, current discussions surrounding the merits and desirability of regulation, among policy makers, academics, and platform advocates, are conducted in a top-down fashion. What is often left out is the user perspective - a critical oversight if the purpose regulation is presented as resolving social concerns. In an attempt to resolve this omission, for the context of the sharing economy at least, we therefore examine user perceptions on regulatory desira-bility. In particular, we suggest that one of the most fundamental shapers of a user’s perspec-tive on regulation may be a user’s own experiences of the sharing economy, where a key fac-tor is the perceived fairness of the service. As such, we examine the impact of procedural, interpersonal, and informational fairness perceptions on regulatory desirability, in addition to other demographic and use-based antecedents. Based on a large-scale survey in 12 European countries, we find that procedural fairness has a positive effect on the desire for regulation, while interpersonal fairness has a negative effect. The findings are interpreted in light of the sharing economy, fairness, and regulation literature.

Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie; Lutz, Christoph & Hoffmann, Christian Pieter (2018)

Sharing by Proxy: Invisible Users in the Sharing Economy

[Academic lecture]. Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA).

With the future of work increasingly data-driven, platforms automate decisions based on the collection of vast quantities of user data. However, non-users constitute a challenge as they provide little to no data for either platforms or other users. We focus on a category of (non-)users that has not received any attention in research: users-by-proxy. Users-by-proxy make use of sharing services but they are not themselves part of the sharing transaction. Platforms cannot analyze their behavior to tailor services or allocate labor most effectively. Users-by-proxy also have significant implications for trust and reputation mechanisms. In this conceptual contribution, we provide a definition of users-by-proxy as a third category between users and non-users, developing a typology of users-by-proxy based on motives of non-/use. We focus on the ramifications of users-by-proxy for the future of work and their significance for the limits of data-driven decision making.

Lutz, Christoph & Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie (2018)

Choice and Discrimination in the Sharing Economy

[Academic lecture]. Weizenbaum Symposium: The Future of Work and Innovation in a Networked Society.

Sharing economy services enable flexible access to underused assets. However, the selection process of such services can swiftly transition into a mechanism of discrimination. Previous research has found evidence for discrimination and noted a tension between the principles of freedom of choice and anti-discrimination. We complement these investigations through a mixed-methods study that combines focus groups and a quantitative survey. Our results indicate that large part of sharing economy users desire a high degree of choice and flexibility. Sharing platforms are thus in the difficult situation of allowing choice while curbing discrimination.

Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie; Lutz, Christoph & Fieseler, Christian (2018)

Regulation and Fairness in the Sharing Economy

[Academic lecture]. AOM Specialized Conference: Big Data and Managing in a Digital Economy.

Sharing economy platforms frame a dichotomy between innovation and regulation. Current discussions surrounding the merits and desirability of regulatory oversight, among policy makers, academics, and platform advocates, are nevertheless conducted in a top-down fashion on both sides. What is often left out is the user perspective. We suggest that one of the most fun-damental shapers of a users perspective on regulation is their own experiences of the sharing economy. A key factor in user experience is perceived fairness. In this contribution, we inves-tigate how the perceived fairness of a platform can impact regulatory desirability among users, based on a survey in 12 European countries. We find that procedural fairness has a positive effect on the desire for regulation, while interactional fairness has a negative one.

Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie; Lutz, Christoph & Fieseler, Christian (2018)

Algorithmic Management in the Sharing Economy

[Academic lecture]. AOM Specialized Conference: Big Data and Managing in a Digital Economy.

Sharing economy platforms have contributed to the global economy by opening up previously un-tapped sources of income. However, the on-demand nature of many dominant sharing economy platforms problematizes accompanying narratives of provider agency, autonomy, and self-determination. Through a tripartite system of algorithmic management, namely surveillance, prohibitive architectures, and behavioural nudging, platforms have been accused of leveraging managerial control over their providers. To broaden the picture, we present the results of a survey study across 12 European countries. Results indicate that a substantial minority of providers feel they have to provide more often than they would like and lack control over the parameters of their sharing participation. Uber drivers, providers in Italy, and those motivated by social benefits are particularly vulnerable to algorithmic pressure.

Lutz, Christoph; Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie & Fieseler, Christian (2018)

Class-Consciousness in the Sharing Economy

[Academic lecture]. AOM Specialized Conference: Big Data and Managing in a Digital Economy.

The professed ethos of collaboration among the sharing economy does not extend to the provider base, who largely offer their services in a distributed and disconnected fashion. Sharing platforms, which mediate between users, neither enable nor encourage interaction between providers, restricting a sense of provider class-consciousness and the fundamental first steps towards collective action. Providers, separated both through platform narratives and architectures, nevertheless do variably take part in collective action, such as online communication and even attempted unions. In this study, we addressed the topic of collective action and class-consciousness among the heterogeneous provider base of the sharing economy, using a cluster analysis to determine four distinct clusters: Self-Oriented Pragmatists, Collective Action Enthusiasts, Modern Collectivists, and Collective Action Opponents.

Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie & Lutz, Christoph (2017)

So Close, Yet So Far Away: The Paradox of Status and Distinction among Instagram Influencers

[Academic lecture]. Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) Annual Conference.

Founded in 2010 as a platform for image-based sharing among friends, Instagram has evolved into a locus of economic activity due to the emergence of ‘Influencer marketing’. Some users monetise their followers by integrating sponsored ‘advertorials’ into posts. By cultivating a façade of honesty when making product recommendations to their audiences, Influencers leverage their perceived intimacy and relatability into profit. Influencers largely frame their success as merely the result of self-motivated perseverance. However, this framing obscures the offline-capital necessary for emulation. In line with previous research, we propose that Instagram is a highly unequal platform, reproducing or even reinforcing status hierarchies. Our contribution explores the paradoxical nature of the ‘Instagram Influencer’: they require different forms of capital to succeed but must suggest counterfactually that there is only limited distinction between them and their personal audience. To investigate this paradox, we conducted a mixed-methods empirical investigation in February 2017, relying on user-generated data. Firstly, Instagram posts were compiled (n=14,555) from two hashtags, #sponsored and #sponsoredpost. An initial social network analysis was carried out on this data. Secondly, 50 Influencer accounts were selected based on network centrality. Textual and visual data was collected from each account for in-depth qualitative coding. The data analysis revealed a proliferation of markers of socio-economic elevation, suggestive of the offline-capital necessary to succeed. However, corresponding to the need for Influencers to maintain relatability, there was limited ostensible distinction in the data. Instead, Influencers used language suggestive of intimacy and friendship, sharing their success with their followers. PaperSession-34: Politics 2

Etter, Michael; Lutz, Christoph, Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie & Ranzini, Giulia (2017)

Coping with Surveillance Capitalism in the Sharing Economy

[Academic lecture]. Reshaping Work in the Platform Economy.

Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie; Lutz, Christoph & Hoffmann, Christian Pieter (2017)

Proxy Users in the Sharing Economy

[Academic lecture]. Reshaping Work in the Platform Economy.

Lutz, Christoph & Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie (2017)

Participation Divides Amongst Airbnb Users

[Academic lecture]. 8th International Conference on Social Media & Society.

Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie & Lutz, Christoph (2017)

Some #Influencers Are More Equal Than Others: Normalising Distinction On Instagram

[Academic lecture]. Connected Life Conference.

Founded as a platform for image-based sharing among friends, Instagram has recently evolved into a locus of economic activity due to the emergence of Influencer marketing. Some users have become Instagram Influencers who monetise their follower base by integrating sponsored advertorials into their posts. By cultivating a façade of honesty when making product recommendations, Influencers leverage their perceived relatability into profit through calculated authenticity. As part of their self-branding, Influencers frame their success as the result of passion-driven perseverance. However, framing success as being universally achievable obscures the offline capital necessary for emulation, particularly given the widespread use of professional management services for account curation and photography. Success and opportunities for sponsorship are thus largely limited to those who can afford the outlay of money and time required. In line with previous research, we propose that Instagram is a highly unequal platform, reproducing or even reinforcing status hierarchies through subtle mechanisms. Our contribution explores the paradoxical nature of the Instagram Influencer. Becoming an Influencer requires different forms of capital to succeed. However, Influencers must suggest counterfactually that there is only limited distinction between them and their personal audience, maintaining the relatability and authenticity required for Influencer marketing. Our research questions are thus concerned with how Influencers negotiate this paradox: Do Instagram Influencers display status markers of socio-economic elevation? How do Instagram Influencers normalise their status markers, maintaining relatability with their audiences? To address these questions, we conducted a mixed-methods empirical investigation in February 2017, combining social network analysis and qualitative textual analysis. The analysis revealed wide proliferation of markers of socio-economic elevation. Economic capital was evoked through hashtags such as #luxury and references to high-end fashion brands. A recurring theme was the use of expensive professional ‘secondary services’. Cultural capital markers appeared frequently. Influencers revealed extensive background knowledge and distinct tastes. Moreover, Influencers used certain cues, such as famous connections, to indicate their social capital. However, corresponding to the need for Influencers to maintain relatability, we noted limited overt distinction in the data. Affective language was employed and private details were presented to suggest a personal, almost intimate, relationship. Sponsored posts were framed as merely sharing a secret among friends and the Influencer’s success was even described as being a ‘shared journey’ among equal partners, regardless of the unequal division of financial rewards.

Academic Degrees
Year Academic Department Degree
2015 University of Oxford Master of Philosophy
2013 University of Oxford M.A.
Work Experience
Year Employer Job Title
2016 - Present University of Amsterdam PhD Candidate