Platform Strategies for Workforce Management in India: On-demand platforms
This data has been collected from semi-structured interviews with employees of platforms, or platform operators’ teams. The profile of these employees is ‘operations managers’ or category managers, city leads which are job roles that entail day to day direction and management of the platform workforce, goods.
This is the professional who potentially interacts with platform service providers most often.
These people interface with local government, law enforcement, local licensing and so on. If a platform service provider gets arrested or has their bike towed, this is the type of employee they’d reach out from the platform operator. Here is an example of the job profile of a ‘Team Leader – Operations’ from a Bangalore-based taxi mobility firm called Rapido.
Source: Google Jobs ; accessed April 14, 2020
Operations managers can conduct assessments of service providers tardiness, quality of service, days on the platform, complaints that service providers have.
The data you will read is succinct, tabulated data drawn from these interviews. It is not raw data but has been analyzed within the frame of fields that are useful to understand how a platform interfaces with their workforce – how many service providers they have, processes of allowing service providers to join the platform, any training offered at joining, whether service providers can reject a task, payout structure, bonus or incentives, benefits offered.
Interviews were conducted between September 2019 – March 2020 so the information on these businesses is drawn during this time period. These are single interviews with single employees in firms so it should be known that this information represents one cut of the business only.
This data is meant to allow you, reader, to locate the diversity of platform strategies and business models in how they ‘manage’ service providers.
Ways of reading the data
This data offers ONE perspective into the ways in which the platform model impinges on the work and labour of service providers. Here, we do not include interviews with service providers but only offer the platform’s narrative. This has its limitations as many times insurance packages or benefits are unknown to service providers and exist only as press releases by firms. Often the platform operators out rightly lie about how their systems work, or do not represent them fully. The data has value for understanding the model, and the different ways in which its strategized.
This microsite sets up some basic knowledge that anyone studying or writing about a platform company would find useful. The "Companies Data" page is a database we have generated through interviewing platform firms in India. Clicking on any company opens up a page that gives you an overview of their platform labour strategy. The "FAQs on Digital Labour" section is an overview of the contemporary debates in the understanding of platform firms and digital labour. The "Reading Lists" are a set of reports, books and journal publications from Management studies, Information Studies and Labour Studies on the platform economy.