Research Interests

Algorithms, Future of Work/Gig Economy, Contemporary careers, Financial well-being, Lower-skilled work, Field research

Dissertation:

The Rise of Algorithmic Work: Implications for Managerial Control and Worker Autonomy

Upwork. Caviar. Uber. In less than a decade the on-demand economy, a labor market characterized by short-term assignments where work is coordinated through algorithms, has radically reshaped the nature of work and workers’ experience. Long-standing organizational theories suggest that the rise of algorithmic management systems will tighten the iron cage, estranging workers by ever increasing  comprehensive, instantaneous, real-time, and opaque levels of control. This dissertation, however, reveals the multiple ways workers find and express individual agency in such an environment. In my first paper, I examine how, in the absence of such traditional organizational scaffolds (e.g., managers, socialization practices), do individuals make meaning of their work in a way that fosters investment into the work? I find that through interactions the customer and the app individuals turn their work into games that they find meaningful, can control, and ‘win’ each with divergent implications. In the second empirical paper, I examine the relationship between algorithmic management and autonomy finding they are not necessarily antithetical. I describe how algorithms structure the work and, how at the site of each human-algorithm interaction, workers are able to express autonomy. At these micro-moments of autonomy, consent to the work is continually produced and reproduced; however consent is fragile and can be withdrawn at any time. This dissertation has implications for theories around meaning-making, workplace games, and algorithmic management.

Committee: Jerry Davis (Chair), Jane Dutton, Seth Carnahan (Strategy), Tawanna Dillahunt (Information Science), Beth Bechky (NYU, Stern)

Publications

 Manuscripts Under Review and Working Papers

  •  Cameron, L. & Anteby, M. (Revise & Resubmit Requested). “Heroes from Above and Below: Workers Responses to the Moralization of their Work.”
  • Cameron, L. (Revise & Resubmit Requested). “The Good Bad Job:  Autonomy and Control in the Algorithmic Workplace.
  • Cameron, L. (Revise & Resubmit Requested). Allies or Adversaries?: Meaning-Making of the ‘New’ Gig Employment Relationship
  •  Cameron, L. & Rahm, H.* (Revise & Resubmit Requested). “Resistance in the Age of Algorithms: A Comparative Ethnography of Workers’ Resistance in Two Online Labor Markets”.
    • *Shared First Authorship
  • Cameron, L., Thomason, B., Conzon, V. (Revise & Resubmit Requested). “Ideal Worker Image  and Job Crafting During the COVID-19 Pandemic”.
  •  Cameron, L. & Meuris, J.* (Working Paper). “The Perils of Paycheck Dispersion: When Fluctuation in Compensation Jeopardize Retention”.
    • *Shared First Authorship
  • Nurmohamed, S, McCluney, C., Cameron, L., Mayer, D. (Working Paper) “Show me the money?: The Business vs. Ethical Case for Diversity in Corporations.”
  • Cameron, L. (Working Paper). “The Sound, Smells, and Tastes that Bind Us: Materiality in the Process of Organizational Identification in Diverse Communities”

Practitioner Publications and Podcasts

Research in Progress

  • Cameron, L., Thomason, B. & Occhiuto, N. (Data Analysis/Writing). “The Platform is Not Neutral: Examining Regulatory Disputes in a Multinational Ethnography of the RideHaling Industry”.
  •  Cameron, L. (Data Collection). “The Gig Worker and the Pandemic”.

Other Work