Posted: November 8th, 2022
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For this week’s activity:
Read the case study below, adapted from the Chapter 3 case study, “Uber’s Use of Technology‐Mediated Control.”
Consider ways in which TMC influences organization structure, culture, and work design.
Respond to the provided discussion questions below.
Uber Technologies is a ride‐hailing company that uses the cars and time of millions of drivers who are independent contractors. The company operates in many countries around the world. One recent estimate is that Uber drivers globally spend 8.5 million hours on the road every day. Uber’s mission statement is “Transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere for everyone.” Uber also employs a dual strategy that aims to deliver value to drivers and riders alike by appealing to each group’s different incentives by creating a mutually beneficial relationship between the two.
Uber wants to control how these drivers behave and exerts this control not through human supervisors, but through a system of algorithms that serves as an automated virtual manager. Drivers’ work experiences are entirely mediated through Uber’s mobile app. Hence, Uber has been accused of using TMC to exert “soft control” over its drivers.
This app is constantly collecting data on drivers. It nudges the behavior of the drivers in such a way that in reality they aren’t as much their own boss as they might like to be. For example, while they can work when they want, Uber’s surge fare structure of charging riders more during high‐volume periods motivates drivers to work during times that they might not want to work. The app even sends push notifications based on sophisticated algorithms. For example, “Are you sure you want to go offline? Demand is very high in your area. Make more money, don’t stop now!”
The mobile app also employs interventions to encourage various driver behaviors. For example, the Uber app will let drivers know that they are close to achieving an income target when they attempt to log off and end their work. Uber also sends drivers their next fare opportunity before their current ride is over. New drivers are enticed with signing bonuses when they meet initial ride targets.
To motivate drivers to complete enough rides to earn bonuses, they occasionally receive words of encouragement through the app. The app also watches their rides to ensure that they accept a minimum percentage of ride requests, are available for a minimum period of time in order to qualify to earn profitable hourly rates during specified periods, and complete a minimum number of trips.
How is all this monitoring influencing Uber’s drivers? Uber’s turnover for drivers is high—reportedly closing in on 50% within the first year.
Pearlson, K., & Saunders, C. (2020). Managing and using information systems: A strategic approach (7th edition). Wiley.
Rosenblat, A. (2016). The truth about how Uber’s app manages drivers. Harvard Business Review Digital Articles, 2–5. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.snhu.edu/logi…
Scheiber, N. (2017, April 4). How Uber uses psychological tricks to push its drivers’ buttons. International New York Times. Retrieved from https://bi-gale-com.ezproxy.snhu.edu/global/article/GALE%7CA488444747?u=nhc_main&sid=ebsco/p>
Guidelines for Submission
Respond to the case study questions below related to the Uber case study. Your submission should be 2 to 3 pages, double spaced, and submitted as a Word document. Also, 2 to 3 resources are required and must be appropriately cited using APA style. These resources can include the textbooks and resources from previous modules, as well as original resources you have consulted. Please write out the questions in your document.
-Your responses should be in complete paragraphs and should contain the following:
-Answer all of the questions thoroughly and completely. Write out the questions in your document.
Make direct connections between the issues identified in the case study and the concepts covered in the provided
resources in Modules One and Two.
Support your answers with appropriate examples and facts drawn from the case study.
Use correct grammar, sentence structure, and spelling, and demonstrate an understanding of audience and purpose.
-Considering Uber’s mission statement and business model, in what ways do the mission and business model align with the decision to use TMC?
-Uber is faced with the monumental challenge of managing and motivating millions of drivers who are important to its business, but who aren’t full-time employees. How effective do you think Uber’s “automated manager” is as a managerial control system for Uber drivers? Please explain.
-What are the benefits to Uber of using TMC through its mobile app? What are the downsides?
-What impact, if any, do you think Uber’s use of TMC has on its organizational culture? How does the fact that most of Uber’s employees are remote contractors influence the culture?
-How might differences in national cultures influence the response to TMC? How might Uber change or modify TMC to make it more effective?
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