Algorithmic Unfairness on Digital Labor Platforms: How Algorithmic Management Practices Disadvantage Workers

Laura Schulze, Manuel Trenz, Zhao Cai, Chee-Wee Tan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


On digital labor platforms, interactions between workers and clients are algorithmically managed. Previous research found that algorithmic management can disadvantage workers. In this paper, we empirically examine algorithmic unfairness from a sociotechnical perspective. Specifically, we conduct online focus groups with 23 workers who directly interact with algorithmic management practices on digital labor platforms. In using grounded theory methodology, we pursue to understand how algorithmic management promotes unfairness on digital labor platforms. Our emergent theory understands algorithmic unfairness as algorithmic management practices that give rise to systematic disadvantages for workers. Algorithmic management practices either automate decisions or automate the delegation of decisions. Workers experience systematic disadvantages in the form of devaluation, restriction, and exclusion. Our findings serve as a starting point for mitigating algorithmic unfairness in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 43 International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS) : Digitization for the Next Generation
EditorsTilo Böhmann, Kai-Lung Hui, Viswanath Venkatesh
Number of pages17
Place of PublicationAtlanta, GA
PublisherAssociation for Information Systems. AIS Electronic Library (AISeL)
Publication date12 Dec 2022
Article number1624
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2022
EventThe 43rd International Conference on Information Systems: ICIS 2022: Digitization for the Next Generation - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 9 Dec 202214 Dec 2022
Conference number: 43


ConferenceThe 43rd International Conference on Information Systems: ICIS 2022
Internet address
SeriesProceedings of the International Conference on Information Systems


  • Algorithmic management
  • Algorithmic unfairness
  • Worker disadvantages
  • Digital labor platforms
  • Decision-making
  • Automation
  • Delegation

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