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Despotism on DemandHow Power Operates in the Flexible Workplace$
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Alex J. Wood

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501748875

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501748875.001.0001

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The Dynamics of Work and Scheduling Gifts

The Dynamics of Work and Scheduling Gifts

(p.102) 5 The Dynamics of Work and Scheduling Gifts
Despotism on Demand

Alex J. Wood

Cornell University Press

This chapter describes the main characteristics of retail work at PartnershipCo and ConflictCo, considering how managerial control at the two workplace regimes was aided through misrecognition by workers of the workplace relations. It provides a brief history of work games, that is, the manner in which workers create games that make their work more enjoyable but that also lead them to become complicit in their own exploitation, for winning these games invariably entails producing additional profit for their employer. The chapter then discusses the absence of work games at PartnershipCo and ConflictCo. In place of the mystifying effects of work games, one finds that flexible working time aids control as a consequence of “schedule gifts” obscuring exploitation. Schedule gifts are found to be crucial for understanding control in the on-demand economy.

Keywords:   retail work, PartnershipCo, ConflictCo, managerial control, workplace relations, work games, flexible working time, schedule gifts, on-demand economy

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