Mer 08 Feb
Seminari e Convegni

Algorithmic Management: Features, Impacts, Legal Issues. What's the Current State of Play?

Data-driven management or algorithmic management is the materialisation of how AI models are deployed in the context of employment, and how they coordinate it differently from the traditional employer-worker relationship. Technically, it is one of the most disruptive forms of technological change and a defining feature of the platform business model, which is increasingly colonizing standard work settings (Baiocco et al., 2022; Jarrahi et al., 2021; Parent-Rocheleau & Parker, 2022).
The way algorithmic management works and is deployed is controversial because of its so-called ‘black box’ characteristics.

In this talk, will first outline some of these characteristics, in particular the high dependency on the collection of personal and sensitive data of workers, riders, couriers, etc. Will describe how data fuels the model. Will also talk about how it interferes, in an almost invisible but pervasive manner, with work organisation and working conditions, and impacts individual workers. Will share a possible working definition (Ponce Del Castillo & Naranjo, 2022).

The "Directive to Improve the Working Conditions in Platform Work" put forward by the EU Commission in December 2021 contains a chapter on algorithmic management, with rights and obligations. The proposals bring accountability to digital labour platforms and provides workers with GDPR-like rights, for example transparency provisions regarding the use of algorithms by digital labour platforms, rights for workers regarding automated decisions, their right to access their data and to ask for reviews of such decisions. In a second and final part, will map how algorithmic management impacts three different dimensions: (1) the subordination relationship; (2) work organisation and (3) the individual worker. Will present some concluding remarks around the interconnection of, on the one hand, labour law and, on the other, privacy and data protection, which requires an ad hoc legislative response.

  • Aida Ponce Del Castillo - Senior Researcher at ETUI (European Trade Union Institute).