Publication Date


Document Type





Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations | Technology and Innovation

Publication Title

Journal of Managerial Psychology


The purpose of this paper is to explore how the process of work identity construction unfolds for gig workers experiencing unstable working relationships in online labor markets. In particular, it investigates how digital platforms, intended both as providers of technological features and online environments, affect this process.

The authors conducted an exploratory field study and collected data from 46 interviews with freelancers working on one of the most popular online labor markets and from online documents such as public profiles, job applications and archival data.

The findings reveal that the online environment constrains the action of workers who are pushed to take advantage of the platform’s technological features to succeed. This interplay leads workers to add new characteristics to their work-self and to and to develop an entrepreneurial an entrepreneurial orientation.

Practical implications
The study offers insights to platform providers interested in improving workers’ experiences in online labor markets, highlighting mechanisms for uncertainty reduction and diversifying a platform’s services according to gig workers’ identities and orientations.

The study expands the authors’ knowledge on work identity construction processes of gig workers, detailing the relationship between work identity and IT, and documents previously unexplored antecedents of entrepreneurial orientation in non-standard working contexts.


Professional identity, Entrepreneurship, Grounded theory, Virtual work, Gig work, Gig economy


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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License