Social Responsibility Issues Related to the Gig-Economy

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Social Responsibility Issues Related to the Gig-Economy

While information on the rise of the gig economy and resources on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are available separately, we were not able to find in depth resources on the intersection of the two. We were, however, able to find some resources that cover closely related topics and provide insight into both the employer and employee sides of gig economy.

Methodology

We conducted an exhaustive search for the best resources, classes, reference materials, and/or books about social responsibility issues related to the gig economy but were not able to find many at all that focused on the social responsibility aspect. This search included news outlets including the New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, and the Guardian among others, along with online course marketplaces such as Udemy, Lynda, and Coursera. Finally, we searched through Eventbrite, Eventsbot, Timeout, and similar event organizers for upcoming events such as webinars and seminars that might be relevant and useful.
While we were not able to find any courses or seminars that cover these issues in depth, we did find some articles with relevant information, as well as a recently published book on CSR that contains insight into the lives of people working in the gig economy.

Relevant Sources

We identified five articles from various sources with information relevant to social responsibility regarding gig economy. The first, published in late 2016, comes from Capital GES, a global employment solutions provider with offices in the UK. This article discusses gig economy in the wake of the employment tribunal won against Uber in the UK, which required drivers to receive minimum wage as well as other benefits from the company. The author identifies for businesses some social responsibility issues that are beginning to appear as the gig economy grows, saying it is time for them to “sit up and take note of how they are going to fulfill their responsibility and moral obligations to those they engage.”
An article from Entrepreneur is targeted at entrepreneurs planning to hire independent contracts themselves. The article covers some basic steps an entrepreneur can take to avoid running afoul of regulations, providing information on the gig economy from a different angle. Another article from the New York Law Journal discusses larger companies and the steps they will need to take as the gig economy grows. A free digital reader account is needed to view this article.
Analysis Group provides a Q&A with Paul Oyer, a professor of economics at Stanford University, discussing the rise of the gig economy and “the issues that the growth of the independent workforce poses for labor and employment policy and litigation”, while a final article from the Guardian takes a closer look at the interactions of the millennial generation with the gig economy, for better and for worse.
In addition to these articles, we found a book by author David Chandler that includes relevant information that may be useful. The 4th edition of Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Sustainable Value Creation was published last year, updated with an exploration into why certain firms are better at CSR than others, and how a firm can improve regarding CSR. This book includes insights into the lives of people working in the gig economy, namely for firms such as Uber, Deliveroo, and TaskRabbit. The author also uses case examples to explore CSR efforts within the gig economy. Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Sustainable Value Creation is available from Amazon.com in paperback for $88.71 (as of 4/23/2018), or as an eTextbook for $64.00.

Conclusion

While we could not find any in depth courses that focus on social responsibility issues related to the gig economy, there are several articles discussing closely related topics available. Information is also available in the form of gig economy firm case studies as part of a book on CSR.
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