Spatiotemporality has never been so prominent in the gig economy, where the mantra is to harness individual persons’ “spare time” across large geographical areas to create economic value with scale. The time-sensitive nature of food delivery service and the spatial distribution of a large number of delivery workers require intensive algorithmic coordination and control. In this paper, we report findings from a qualitative study conducted in Beijing with food-delivery platform workers and managers. By taking a critical, sociomaterial perspective, the study shows how the workers are tethered to and simultaneously co-construct multiple spatiotemporalities in their daily work to meet the demand of speed defined by platform algorithms. We further argue that the algorithms are not creating so-called “atomized” workers in the gig economy, but interconnected and co-dependent collective agencies in space and time.
Wu, Philip and Zheng, Yingqin, "Time is of the Essence: Spatiotemporalities of Food Delivery Platform Work in China" (2020). In Proceedings of the 28th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), An Online AIS Conference, June 15-17, 2020.
When commenting on articles, please be friendly, welcoming, respectful and abide by the AIS eLibrary Discussion Thread Code of Conduct posted here.