Employee Profile

Gemma Newlands

PhD Candidate - Department of Communication and Culture

Publications

Jarrahi, Mohammad Hossein; Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie, Lee, Min Kyung, Wolf, Christine, Kinder, Eliscia & Sutherland, Will (2021)

Algorithmic management in a work context

Big Data and Society, 8(2), s. 1- 14. Doi: 10.1177/20539517211020332

The rapid development of machine-learning algorithms, which underpin contemporary artificial intelligence systems, has created new opportunities for the automation of work processes and management functions. While algorithmic management has been observed primarily within the platform-mediated gig economy, its transformative reach and consequences are also spreading to more standard work settings. Exploring algorithmic management as a sociotechnical concept, which reflects both technological infrastructures and organizational choices, we discuss how algorithmic management may influence existing power and social structures within organizations. We identify three key issues. First, we explore how algorithmic management shapes pre-existing power dynamics between workers and managers. Second, we discuss how algorithmic management demands new roles and competencies while also fostering oppositional attitudes toward algorithms. Third, we explain how algorithmic management impacts knowledge and information exchange within an organization, unpacking the concept of opacity on both a technical and organizational level. We conclude by situating this piece in broader discussions on the future of work, accountability, and identifying future research steps.

Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie (2021)

Lifting the curtain: Strategic visibility of human labour in AI-as-a-Service

Big Data and Society, 8(1) Doi: 10.1177/20539517211016026

Artificial Intelligence-as-a-Service (AIaaS) empowers individuals and organisations to access AI on-demand, in either tailored or ‘off-the-shelf’ forms. However, institutional separation between development, training and deployment can lead to critical opacities, such as obscuring the level of human effort necessary to produce and train AI services. Information about how, where, and for whom AI services have been produced are valuable secrets, which vendors strategically disclose to clients depending on commercial interests. This article provides a critical analysis of how AIaaS vendors manipulate the visibility of human labour in AI production based on whether the vendor relies on paid or unpaid labour to fill interstitial gaps. Where vendors are able to occlude human labour in the organisational ‘backstage,’ such as in data preparation, validation or impersonation, they do so regularly, further contributing to ongoing techno-utopian narratives of AI hype. Yet, when vendors must co-produce the AI service with the client, such as through localised AI training, they must ‘lift the curtain’, resulting in a paradoxical situation of needing to both perpetuate dominant AI hype narratives while emphasising AI’s mundane limitations.

Lutz, Christoph & Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie (2021)

Privacy and smart speakers: A multi-dimensional approach

The Information Society, 37(3), s. 147- 162. Doi: 10.1080/01972243.2021.1897914 - Full text in research archive

Over the last few years, smart speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home have become increasingly present within British households. Yet, privacy remains a prominent concern in the public discourse about smart speakers, as well as in the nascent academic literature. We argue that privacy in the context of smart speakers is more complex than in other settings due to smart speakers’ specific technological affordances and also the axial relationships between users, the device, device manufacturers, application developers, and other third parties such as moderation contractors and data brokers. With survey data from Amazon Echo and Google Home users in the UK, we explore users’ privacy concerns and privacy protection behaviors related to smart speakers. We rely on a contextual understanding of privacy, assessing the prevalence of seven distinct privacy concern types as well as three privacy protection behaviors. The results indicate that concerns about third parties, such as contractors listening to smart speaker recordings, are most pronounced. Privacy protection behaviors are uncommon but partly affected by privacy concerns and motives such as social presence and utilitarian benefits. Taken together, our research paints a picture of privacy pragmatism or privacy cynicism among smart speaker users.

Jarrahi, Mohammad Hossein; Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie, Butler, Brian S., Savage, Saiph, Lutz, Christoph, Dunn, Michael & Sawyer, Steve (2021)

Flexible work and personal digital infrastructures

Communications of the ACM, 64(7), s. 72- 79. Doi: 10.1145/3419405

As flexible work arrangements such as remote working or digital nomadism are normalized, the structure of work, performance expectations, and employee-employer relationships fundamentally change, presenting both benefits and risks for workers. Currently,the design and management of ICT systems for work is still geared towards ‘standard’ organizational settings and traditional forms of work. However, Personal Digital Infrastructures (PDIs) emerge as alternative sociotechnical infrastructures that can help workers realize the opportunities of flexible work while avoiding challenges of precarious work. Building on extensive empirical work, we present PDIs as consumerized, connective, adaptive, and temporally hybrid systems which reflect and reinforce multiple dimensions of flexibility: spatial, temporal, organizational, and technological. We provide implications on how the design and management of ICT systems for work can be made more amenable to the needs of flexible workers.

Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie & Lutz, Christoph (2021)

Crowdwork and the Mobile Underclass: Barriers to Participation in India and the United States

New Media & Society, 23(6), s. 1341- 1361. Doi: 10.1177/1461444820901847

Online crowdwork platforms have been praised as powerful vehicles for economic development, particularly for workers traditionally excluded from the labor market. However, there has been insufficient scrutiny as to the feasibility of crowdwork as an income-source among socio-economically deprived populations. This paper examines device requirements and differential access to digital infrastructure, both of which act as potential barriers to not only basic participation but also to economic success online. Given the increasing prevalence of mobile-first and mobile-only populations, research on this topic aids in understanding the crowdwork ecosystem among differing socio-economic sectors. Based on a survey of 606 crowd workers across the United States and India, this paper uses both quantitative and qualitative data to explore whether reliance on mobile devices is detrimental for economic outcomes of crowdwork. The results point to substantial inequalities in device use and received benefits from crowdwork, within each country and between the two contexts.

Ranzini, Giulia; Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie & Lutz, Christoph (2020)

Sharenting, Peer Influence, and Privacy Concerns: A Study on the Instagram-Sharing Behaviors of Parents in the United Kingdom

Social Media + Society, 6(4) Doi: 10.1177/2056305120978376

Parental sharing of child-related content on social network sites, termed “sharenting,” is often the target of criticism. Yet, through sharenting, parents can find support systems, a way to stay in touch with relevant others, and even an opportunity for additional income. This study contributes to knowledge on antecedents of sharenting. It explores the impact of parents’ privacy concerns on the sharing of child-related content, as well as on their general Instagram sharing. In this study, we differentiate between general and situational privacy. Moreover, we investigate whether parents’ privacy self-efficacy and the support of their peers influence parental sharing practices. Drawing on a rich body of literature on privacy and information sharing, we discuss the results of an online survey distributed among 320 Instagram users who are parents of children younger than 13 and reside in the United Kingdom. We find that parents’ privacy concerns are uncorrelated to sharenting and only situational concerns marginally correlate to parents’ general sharing. Parents’ reported privacy self-efficacy also did not play a role in parents’ sharing of either personal or children-related content. On the contrary, both Instagram sharing and having a network supportive of parental sharenting positively predict sharenting. Our results indicate that (a) neither situational nor general privacy concerns influence parents’ sharenting behavior, and (b) a parent’s supportive network and frequent sharing habits make frequent sharenting more likely.

Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie; Lutz, Christoph, Tamò-Larrieux, Aurelia, Fosch Villaronga, Eduard, Harasgama, Rehana & Scheitlin, Gil (2020)

Innovation under Pressure: Implications for Data Privacy during the Covid-19 Pandemic

Big Data and Society, 7(2), s. 1- 14. Doi: 10.1177/2053951720976680

The global Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in social and economic disruption unprecedented in the modern era. Many countries have introduced severe measures to contain the virus, including travel restrictions, public event bans, non-essential business closures, and remote work policies. While digital technologies help governments and organizations to enforce protection measures, such as contact tracing, their rushed deployment and adoption also raises profound concerns about surveillance, privacy, and data protection. This article presents two critical cases on digital surveillance technologies implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic and delineates the privacy implications thereof. We explain the contextual nature of privacy trade-offs during a pandemic and explore how regulatory and technical responses are needed to protect privacy in such circumstances. By providing a multi-disciplinary conversation on the value of privacy and data protection during a global pandemic, this article reflects on the implications digital solutions have for the future and raises the question of whether there is a way to have expedited privacy assessments that could anticipate and help mitigate adverse privacy implications these may have on society.

Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie & Fieseler, Christian (2020)

#dreamjob: navigating pathways to success as an aspiring Instagram influencer

Goanta, Catalina & Ranchordás, Sofia (red.). The Regulation of Social Media Influencers

Influencer marketing is a hybrid phenomenon, merging the advertising logics of traditional celebrity endorsements with social media’s preoccupation with ‘authentic’ and self-generated consumer content. In this chapter we deconstruct the notion of influencer marketing as an achievable career goal. We highlight how the unpaid labour of aspirational influencers can be exploited to fulfil the platform-goals of data capture, as well as to fulfil the personal ambitions of more successful influencers. In addition, we explore how aspiring influencers can face barriers to participation and success, including systemic inequalities of gender, race and class, infrastructural inequalities in terms of access to influencer agencies, and algorithmic inequalities whereby social media is visibility determined by opaque and homogenizing systems. While influencer marketing is increasingly prevalent across all major social media platforms, such as YouTube, TikTok, Weibo and WeChat, this chapter will focus on influencers who predominantly use the photo- and video-sharing platform Instagram.

Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie (2020)

Algorithmic Surveillance in the Gig Economy: The Organization of Work through Lefebvrian Conceived Space

Organization Studies Doi: 10.1177/0170840620937900

Workplace surveillance is traditionally conceived of as a dyadic process, with an observer and an observee. In this paper, I discuss the implications of an emerging form of workplace surveillance: surveillance with an algorithmic, as opposed to human, observer. Situated within the on-demand food-delivery context, I draw upon Henri Lefebvre’s spatial triad to provide in-depth conceptual examination of how platforms rely on conceived space, namely the virtual reality generated by data capture, while neglecting perceived and lived space in the form of the material embodied reality of workers. This paper offers a two-fold contribution. First, it applies Henri Lefebvre’s spatial triad to the technocentric digital cartography used by platform mediated organisations, assessing spatial power dynamics and opportunities for resistance. Second, this paper advances organisational research into workplace surveillance in situations where the observer and decision-maker can be a non-human agent.

Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie & Lutz, Christoph (2020)

Fairness, legitimacy and the regulation of home-sharing platforms

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 32(10), s. 3177- 3197. Doi: 10.1108/IJCHM-08-2019-0733

Purpose – The purpose of this study is to contribute to current hospitality and tourism research on the sharing economy by studying the under-researched aspects of regulatory desirability, moral legitimacy, and fairness in the context of home-sharing platforms (e.g., Airbnb). Design/methodology/approach – Three separate 2x1 between-subjects experimental vignette surveys are used to test the effects of three types of fairness (procedural, interpersonal, informational) on two outcomes: moral legitimacy and regulatory desirability. Findings – The results of the research show that high perceived fairness across all three types increases moral legitimacy and reduces regulatory desirability. Respondents who perceive a fictional home-sharing platform to be fair consider it to be more legitimate and want it to be less regulated. Research limitations/implications – Following established practices and reducing external validity, the study uses a fictional scenario and a fictional company for the experimental vignette. The data collection took place in the United Kingdom, prohibiting cultural comparisons. Practical implications – The research is useful for home-sharing platform managers by showing how they can boost moral legitimacy and decrease regulatory desirability through a strong focus on fairness. It can also help policymakers and consumer protection advocates by providing evidence about regulatory desirability and how it is affected by fairness perceptions. Originality/value – The article adds to hospitality and tourism research by offering theoretically meaningful and practically relevant conclusions about the importance of fairness in driving stakeholder opinions about home-sharing platforms.

Bucher, Eliane; Fieseler, Christian, Lutz, Christoph & Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie (2020)

Shaping Emotional Labor Practices in the Sharing Economy

Maurer, Indre; Mair, Johanna & Oberg, Achim (red.). Theorizing the Sharing Economy: Variety and Trajectories of New Forms of Organizing

Independent actors operating through peer-to-peer sharing economy platforms co-create service experiences, such as shared car-rides or homestays. Emotional labor among both parties, manifested in the mutual enactment of socially desirable behavior, is essential in ensuring that these experiences are successful. However, little is known about emotional labor practices and about how sharing economy platforms enforce emotional labor practices among independent actors, such as guests, hosts, drivers, or passengers. To address this research gap, we follow a mixed methods approach. We combine survey research among Airbnb and Uber users with content analysis of seven leading sharing economy platforms. The findings show that (1) users perform emotional labor despite not seeing is as necessarily desirable and (2) platforms actively encourage the performance of emotional labor practices even in the absence of direct formal control. Emotional labor practices are encouraged through (hard) design features such as mutual ratings, reward systems, and gamification, as well as through more subtle (soft) normative framing of desirable practices via platform and app guidelines, tips, community sites, or blogs. Taken together, these findings expand our understanding of the limitations of peer-to-peer sharing platforms, where control over the service experience and quality can only be enforced indirectly.

Abidin, Crystal; Hansen, Kjeld S., Mathilde, Hogsnes, Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie, Nielsen, Mette Lykke, Nielsen, Louise Yung & Sihvonen, Tanja (2020)

A Review of Formal and Informal Regulations in the Nordic Influencer Industry

Nordic Journal of Media Studies, 2(1) Doi: https://doi.org/10.2478/njms-2020-0007

This article provides a systematic review of laws, guidelines, and best practices related to the Nordic influencer industry as of the year 2020. We highlight some nuanced differences or shortfalls across Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, and give some policy recommendations to national governments and industry in order to maintain a professional Nordic standard. The article identifies a degree of social, cultural, and economic coherence in the Nordic context that allows for the Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish influencer industries to be viewed as a collaborative entity. It then reviews the status of income and tax procedures, and the regulation of commercial disclosures for influencers in the Nordic region. It is hoped that this research contributes to strengthening the integrity and rigour of the Nordic influencer industry to serve as a model for other regional networks of influencers.

Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie; Lutz, Christoph & Fieseler, Christian (2019)

Trading on the Unknown: Scenarios for the Future Value of Data

Law & Ethics of Human Rights, 13(1), s. 97- 114. Doi: 10.1515/lehr-2019-0004 - Full text in research archive

In this article, we explore the practices of extensive data collection among sharing economy platforms, highlighting how the unknown future value of big data creates an ethical problem for a fair exchange relationship between companies and users. Specifically, we present a typology with four scenarios related to the future value of data. In the remainder of the article, we first describe the status quo of data collection practices in the sharing economy, followed by a discussion of the value-generating affordances of big data. We then introduce the typology of four scenarios for the future value of data. Finally, the paper concludes with a short discussion on the implications of information asymmetries for a fair exchange process.

Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie; Lutz, Christoph & Fieseler, Christian (2019)

The Conditioning Function of Rating Mechanisms for Consumers in the Sharing Economy

Internet Research, 29(5), s. 1090- 1108. Doi: 10.1108/INTR-03-2018-0134

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore how rating mechanisms encourage emotional labor norms among sharing economy consumers. Design/methodology/approach – This study follows a mixed-methods research design. Survey data from 207 consumers were used to quantify the impact of three distinct rating dimensions on a consumer behavioral outcome (emotional labor). In the second step, 18 focus groups with 94 participants were used to investigate the conditioning functions of ratings in more depth. Findings – Rating mechanisms condition consumers toward performing socially desirable behaviors during sharing transactions. While consumers accept the necessity of bilateral rating mechanisms, they also recognize their coercive nature. Furthermore, the presence of bilateral rating mechanisms leads to negative outcomes such as annoyance and frustration. Originality/value – This study contributes to sharing economy literature by examining bilateral rating mechanisms as a means of behavioral conditioning for consumers. This study points to improvements in platform design and informs theory on tripartite markets as well as trust.

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 - Full text in research archive

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 (HICSS), 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.

Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie (2020)

Workplace Recognition and Algorithmic Management in the Scandinavian Gig Economy

[Academic lecture]. Reshaping Work 2020.

Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie (2020)

Workplace Recognition and Algorithmic Management in the Scandinavian Gig Economy.

[Academic lecture]. Reshaping Work Stockholm.

Lombana Bermudez, Andres; Cortesi, Sandra, Fieseler, Christian, Gasser, Urs, Hasse, Alexa, Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie & Wu, Sarah (2020)

Youth and the Digital Economy: Exploring Youth Practices, Motivations, Skills, Pathways, and Value Creation

[Report]. Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.

Young people’s lives are increasingly shaped by digital technologies. While significant digital divides and participation gaps remain, an increasing number of young people around the globe participate in and contribute to the digitally networked environment in many forms, ranging from creative expression on social media to interactive gaming and collaboration. This spotlight explores young people’s digital engagement through the lens of the digital economy and seeks to gain an initial understanding of youth’s practices, motivations, skills, pathways, and modes of value creation as they interact with a digital environment in which the boundaries between the commercial and personal spheres, between work and play, are often blurring. The spotlight summarizes key insights from a trans-Atlantic exploratory research collaboration between Youth and Media at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and the Nordic Centre for Internet and Society at BI Norwegian Business School. In addition to sketching building blocks toward a framework, the paper brings together three essays that explore in different application contexts both the opportunities and challenges that surface when young people engage with and participate in the digital economy.

Lutz, Christoph & Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie (2020)

(In)Conspicuous Consumption in the On-Demand Economy

[Academic lecture]. Reshaping Work Stockholm.

Lutz, Christoph & Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie (2020)

Glitch Studies and Smart Speakers: A Spotlight on User Experiences of Unexpected Behaviors

[Academic lecture]. 70th ICA Annual Conference.

Ranzini, Giulia; Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie & Lutz, Christoph (2020)

Sharenting and Situational Privacy: A Study on the Instagram-Sharing Behaviors of Parents in the UK and Italy

[Academic lecture]. 70th ICA Annual Conference.

Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie (2019)

Recognition, Reification, and Human Dignity in the Gig Economy

[Academic lecture]. International Network on Digital Labor Conference.

Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie (2019)

Pseudo-AI: The workplace implications of ontological obfuscation

[Academic lecture]. Communicating with Machines: Boundless Imagination: Pre-Conference for 69th ICA Conference.

Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie (2019)

Algorithmic Surveillance in the Gig Economy: The Organisation of Work through Lefebvrian Conceived Space

[Academic lecture]. 69th Annual International Communication Association.

Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie (2019)

Pseudo-AI: The Workplace Implications of Ontological Obfuscation

[Academic lecture]. Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S).

Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie & Lutz, Christoph (2019)

Crowdwork and the mobile underclass: Mobile connectivity on Amazon Mechanical Turk

[Academic lecture]. 69th ICA Annual Conference.

Crowdwork platforms, such as Amazon Mechanical Turk, have had their economic development potential stressed, with workers in the Global South and individuals traditionally excluded from the labor market, such as refugees, targeted for participation. Yet, one aspect that has not received sufficient attention in the debate about the inclusivity of crowdwork is differential usage of devices and access to digital infrastructure. In particular, the role of mobile devices and mobile connectivity in crowdwork is understudied, a particular oversight given the increasing prevalence of mobile-first and mobile-only populations. Drawing on discussions surrounding the mobile underclass and based on a survey of 606 crowd workers in the United States and India, we explore through quantitative and qualitative data whether reliance on mobile devices is detrimental for both the work experience and the economic outcomes of crowdwork. Our results point to substantial inequalities in device use and benefits from crowdwork, both within each country and between the two contexts. We find a negative effect of smartphone use on the financial outcomes of crowdwork in the US, while in both countries mobile-only users seem practically excluded from this type of work. Mobile-first users also face considerable barriers, as mobile crowdwork on Amazon Mechanical Turk comes with huge functional barriers and is discouraged by many requesters. Moreover, the need to invest in infrastructure could increase the inequalities within the workforce.

Newlands, Gemma Elisabeth Marjorie & Lutz, Christoph (2019)

Platform Labor and the Mobile Underclass: Barriers to Participation in the United States and India

[Academic lecture]. Weizenbaum Conference.

Online crowdwork platforms have been praised as powerful vehicles for economic develop-ment, particularly for workers traditionally excluded from the labor market. However, there has been insufficient scrutiny as to the feasibility of crowdwork as an income-source among socio-economically deprived populations. This paper examines device requirements and dif-ferential access to digital infrastructure, both of which act as potential barriers to not only basic participation but also to economic success. Given the increasing prevalence of mobile-first and mobile-only populations, research on this topic aids in understanding the crowdwork ecosystem among differing socio-economic sectors. Based on a survey of 606 crowd workers in the United States and India, this paper uses both quantitative and qualita-tive data to explore whether reliance on mobile devices is detrimental for the economic out-comes of crowdwork. The results point to substantial inequalities in device use and received benefits from crowdwork, within each country and between the two contexts.

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

How Mobile-Friendly is Crowdwork? Mobile Affordances, Perpetual Contact and Inequalities in the Gig Economy

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

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 & Fieseler, Christian (2018)

Recommendations for the Sharing Economy: (Re-)Balancing Power

[Report]. Social Science Research Network (SSRN).

This report, ‘Recommendations for the Sharing Economy: (Re-)Balancing Power’, forms one element of a European Union Horizon 2020 Research Project on the sharing economy: Ps2Share ‘Participation, Privacy, and Power in the Sharing Economy’. It presents a set of 25 recommendations for five key stakeholders in the sharing economy: providers, consumers, platforms, educators, and policy makers. This report focuses on aspects of power in the sharing economy, addressing topics such as ratings and reviews, regulation, social responsibility, information asymmetries, transparency, algorithms, narratives, and communication. It aims at providing a roadmap for a more balanced and equitable sharing economy, particularly in Europe.

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

Power in the Sharing Economy: European Perspectives

[Report]. Social Science Research Network.

This report, ‘Power in the Sharing Economy: European Perspectives’, forms one element of a European Union Horizon 2020 Research Project on the sharing economy: Ps2Share ‘Participation, Privacy, and Power in the Sharing Economy’. Within the survey and in the following report, we addressed various items towards four distinct sub-categories of Europeans (N=6111): Consumers, Providers, Aware Non-Users, and Non-Aware Non-Users. To present a more fine-grained overview of the perceived power-dynamics, we also provide deeper insights into the results on a cross-country level, as well as analyzing demographic and platform differences. The first section of the report focuses on the Peer-to-Peer Relationships which form the foundation of the sharing economy. Aspects covered in this section include emotional labor, perceived interpersonal treatment, and feedback systems. The second section of the report focuses on the Peer-to-Platform Relationships. This section addresses the role of the sharing platforms in establishing and maintaining power asymmetries, covering aspects such as dispute resolution mechanisms, terms and conditions, pricing, algorithmic control, and collective action. The final section provides a more macro-approach to power dynamics, focusing on the Platform-to-Society Relationships. This includes elements such as regulation and platform narratives.

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 & Fieseler, Christian (2017)

Power in the Sharing Economy

[Report]. Social Science Research Network.

This paper gives an in-depth overview of the topic of power in the sharing economy. It forms one part of a European Union Horizon 2020 Research Project on the sharing economy: "Ps2Share: Participation, Privacy, and Power in the Sharing Economy". We aim to foster better awareness of the consequences which the sharing economy has on the way people behave, think, interact, and socialize across Europe. Our overarching objective is to identify key challenges of the sharing economy and improve Europe's digital services through providing recommendations to Europe's institutions. The initial stage of this research project involves a set of three literature reviews of the state of research on three core topics in relation to the sharing economy: participation (1), privacy (2), and power (3). This piece is a literature review on the topic of power. It addresses three core topics related to power: voice and feedback mechanisms, algorithms, and regulation.

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
2018 - Present BI Norwegian Business School Doktorgradsstipendiat
2016 - 2018 BI Norwegian Business School Research Assistant