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The Rise of Alternative Work

Authors: Cappelli, Peter

Date: Fourth Quarter 2016

Tags: digitization, robotization, automation, computerization, labor market

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The rise of alternative work arrangements in the United States is consistent with a growing phenomenon happening in Europe and elsewhere: the conventional full-time employment model is giving way to emerging forms of temporary, nonstandard or contingent work. How can companies make sense of it all? The author proposes a new taxonomy for understanding employment in the new economy. His classification is predicated on who maintains directive control, which is conditioned by the presence or absence of a third party as well as the nature of the contractual relationship itself. Executives may find this framework useful for managing employment relationships in an evolving context.

Tools and Frameworks:
> "Work Arrangements Available to Organizations" provides descriptions of the wide variety of arrangements currently being used by organizations to engage employees in economic work.
> "Classification of Economic Work Arrangements" presents a new taxonomy that makes a key distinction between employment and contract work.

Examples Cited:
A high-wage IT contractor versus a low-wage fast-food worker, Uber, IBM, full-time employee, part-time employee, on-call employee, direct-hire temporary employee, professional employer organization (PEO), leased employee, temporary agency worker, independent contractor, day laborer, vendor on premises

Research Basis:
Draws on research by the author and colleagues who examined the scope of alternative work arrangements among U.S. companies, which was published in the Academy of Management Review.

About the Author:
Peter Cappelli is the George W. Taylor Professor of Management at The Wharton School and Director of Wharton's Center for Human Resources.


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