blackbox Seminar Series

Remanufacturing Consent: How Algorithmic Management Repurposes Workplace Consent


  • Mar. 21, 2023
  • 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
  • Hybrid Event
  • Lindsey D. Cameron from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Lindsey D. Cameron headshot

In this talk, Lindsey D. Cameron from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania will discuss her research that explores how a new relation of production—specifically, the shift from human to algorithms as managers on digital platforms—reconfigures and repurposes workplace consent. Drawing on a five-year qualitative study of the largest sector in the gig economy, the ride-hailing industry, she describes how workers navigate being managed by an algorithm. Lindsey begins by showing how algorithms segment the work at multiple sites of human-algorithm interactions. While some research suggests that this segmentation creates a hyper-monitored environment system that stifles workers’ discretion, she finds that the reconfiguration of the work process actually allows for more frequent choice. These choices, which she labels engagement and deviance tactics, while narrow, are real and ultimately and ultimately do the work of manufacturing consent in the on-demand workplace. Yet due to the fungible nature of the algorithm management system and the independent contractor work arrangement, consent is more fragile than previously theorized.

This talk is part of the blackbox Seminar, a D^3 Assembly series hosted by the D^3 blackbox Lab, that is open to faculty, doctoral students, and academic researchers.

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    The DI is now part of the Digital, Data, and Design (D^3) Institute at Harvard. Read more about this change..