Building collective institutional infrastructures for decent platform work: The development of a crowdwork agreement in Germany

Publikation: Beiträge in SammelwerkenKapitelbegutachtet


Working conditions on many digital work platforms often contribute to the grand challenge of establishing decent work. While research has examined the public regulation of platform work and worker resistance, little is known about private regulatory models. In this paper, we document the development of the “Crowdwork Agreement” forged between platforms and a trade union in the relatively young German crowdworking field. We find that existing templates played an important role in the process of negotiating this new institutional infrastructure, despite the radically new work context. While the platforms drew on the corporate social responsibility template of voluntary self-regulation via a code of conduct focusing on procedural aspects of decent platform work (i.e., improving work conditions and processes), the union contributed a traditional social partnership template emphasizing accountability, parity and distributive matters. The trade union’s approach prevailed in terms of accountability and parity mechanisms, while the platforms were able to uphold the mostly procedural character of their template. This compromise is reflected in many formal and informal interactions, themselves characteristic of a social partnership approach. Our study contributes to research on institutional infrastructures in emerging fields and their role in addressing grand challenges.

TitelOrganizing for societal grand challenges
HerausgeberAli Aslan Gümüsay, Emilio Marti, Hanna Trittin-Ulbrich, Christopher Wickert
Anzahl der Seiten26
VerlagEmerald Publishing Limited
ISBN (Print)978-1-83909-829-1
ISBN (elektronisch)978-1-83909-826-0, 978-1-83909-828-4
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 29.03.2022

Bibliographische Notiz

Funding Information:
We are grateful for the feedback of a blind reviewer and the editorial guidance from Hannah Trittin-Ulbrich, Ali Aslan Gümüsay, Christopher Wickert, and Emilio Marti. Moreover, we express our sincere gratitude to our informants who provided us with the opportunity to explore this novel form of regulating platform work.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Thomas Gegenhuber, Elke Schuessler, Georg Reischauer and Laura Thäter. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited.