From Lynda Gratton to Simon Deakin: Thoughts on the future of self-employed work
Journal of Management & Organization (JMO) has always aimed to provide global perspective on management and organization of benefit to scholars, educators, students, practitioners, policy-makers and consultants.
Achieving this often means that what we publish challenges readers to question what they may think they know and perhaps, why they have come to think this way. It is a challenge we take up in our latest special issue which provides an international perspective on the nature, characteristics and contributions facing the self-employed identified by labels from freelancer or independent professional (IPro) to contractor and consultant.
For those who like a quick deep dive into the future, the issue opens with a snapshot from thought leaders from around the world. Lead by renowned British organizational theorist, consultant, and London Business School, Professor Lynda Gratton, to Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, an EU perceptive from esteemed European Policy Centre advisor, Hans Martens to end with a very different view from Cambridge University’s renowned Labour Law Professor, Simon Deakin.
This look into the future sets the scene for the seven papers which covers this fast moving topic to investigate issues from the gig economy to workers seeking increased autonomy to the impact of digitalisation. While all contributors are united by being well informed of the issue, they all come to the topic from often very, very different perspectives.
Beginning with a foreword by renowned labour economist Nigel Meager, the next paper moves to an historical perspective with Simon Bridge’s questioning of ‘Self Employment: Deviation or Norm?’ before moving to the suggestion from McKeown that a “Consilience Framework” may be one way to overcome the oft cited lack of data on self-employment.
For those with a more psychological bent there is an examination by Blomme, De Jager, Ward, Kelliher and Pascale’s of an ‘An Extended Person – Environment Fit Approach to Understand the Work-Life Interface of Self-Employed Workers.
The legal-eagles are also catered for with an examination by Michael Wynn of self-employed them as ‘Chameleons at Large: Entrepreneurs, Employees and Firms – the Changing Context of Employment Relationships’ to provide insight into a world whereby new corporate structures are being developed to promote one man companies, SMEs and hybrid company/partnerships. Patricia Leighton offers a second legal perspective to offer insight into the deep and far reaching nature of these challenges in ‘Professional Self-employment, new power and the sharing economy: some cautionary tales from Uber’.
Returning to an economic view, Dieter Boegenhold and Andrea Klinglmair add a distinctly European side with an empirical examination of “Independent Work, Modern Organizations and Entrepreneurial Labor: Diversity and Hybridity of Freelancers and Self-employment.”
Just to ensure a really rounded edition, the concluding paper is Michel Syrett’s paper on ‘IPros and Wellbeing: An Emerging Focus for Research’ where Michel offers both his own extensive work experience and knowledge as an independent professionals (IPro) to call for further research into the support sources, structures and resources for those working in this form of employment.
Overall, this special edition presents a solid and wide ranging basis for anyone wanting to know more about this hidden (even neglected) yet increasingly popular way of working.
JMO Editor in Chief
and, together with Patricia Leighton, Editor of this special edition