Ties that Knot: How App-workers Co-construct Their Identities at Precarious Work Contexts

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Eliana Pires Conde
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5482-1563 orcid
Bruno Felix
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6183-009X orcid
Nadia Cardoso Moreira
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9085-6595 orcid


Objective: the aim of this paper was to understand how self-employed workers, more specifically app workers, co-construct their identities at work. Theoretical framework: social identity theory. Method: we used the grounded theory method, through 40 interviews conducted with Brazilian independent app workers. Results: our model presents the following propositions: (1) there is an association between identity management and structured environment, not necessarily formal environment; (2) when there is a collectivity, a feeling of belonging through the more stable relationships between groups and individuals, there is an easier construction of the self; (3) the insertion of the worker in the groups provide a reduction of anxiety for the identity construction and increase motivation and security; (4) it is of the initiative of the app workers themselves the creation of the groups that converge to a personalized belonging – group identity and a precarious belonging – individual identity. Conclusions: the collective constructed by independent application workers comes from an integration whose initiative comes from the workers themselves, at first with a productive purpose, but consequently being a source of facilitators for the construction of an identity.


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Conde, E. P., Felix, B., & Moreira, N. C. (2023). Ties that Knot: How App-workers Co-construct Their Identities at Precarious Work Contexts. Journal of Contemporary Administration, 27(6), e220083. https://doi.org/10.1590/1982-7849rac2023220083.en
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