Chapter 7: HRM systems and online labour platforms: survival of the (mis-)fittest?
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Extant HRM theorizing predicts that desired business outcomes depend on the alignment of individual HRM activities - i.e. the core elements of HRM systems - and their fit with business strategy and institutional forces. The aim of this chapter is to show how the rise of online labour platforms (OLPs) like Uber, Deliveroo and Fiverr contradicts this so-called strong systems logic by disrupting links between human resource management (HRM) systems and undermining the importance of fit. We argue that as a result of their disruptive business model (i.e. algorithmic matching of supply and demand for freelance labour), platform firms engineer mis-fit through contradictory HRM practices that are deployed to manage freelance gig workers. Specifically, OLPs combine HRM activities that traditionally are seen to belong to different HRM systems (i.e. internal (mis)fit), and dynamically adjust them to cope with ongoing changes in their business strategy and challenges arising from institutional pressures (i.e. external (mis)fit). This chapter details the implications for future research on HRM systems and for theorizing on HRM in the gig economy.

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