This introductory chapter provides an overview of flexible despotism. New economic processes are taking hold in the spaces opened up by the steady decline of collective workplace regulation. No longer is working time understood as a standard, stable eight hours, five days a week. Instead, working time is flexible, on demand, and 24/7. Consequently, many workers are increasingly employed flexibly, while others may not even have an employment contract at all, and instead be classified as self-employed—and yet have their labor controlled by a platform. Even workers with standard, full-time, permanent contracts can experience high levels of insecurity as a result of flexible scheduling within this new temporal order. As a result, the benefits and drawbacks of flexible scheduling have been widely debated. These discussions, however, have tended to focus on issues of job quality, work–life balance, and well-being. This book goes further, by drawing attention to important but under-researched issues of managerial power and workplace control. This is necessary, as it is only when one understands paid work as a power relationship that one is able to see how precarious scheduling constitutes flexible despotism—a new regime of control within the workplace.
Cornell Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.