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Title: Information technology (IT) experts in flexible forms of employment
Author: Voutsina, Katerina
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 2008
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This research is concerned with the study of the conditions that govern the proliferation and diffusion of non-standard employment relationships in knowledge intensive sectors of the economy (i.e. the subcontracting of highly-skilled workers in the IS sector). It aimed at identifying and exploring the technological and socioeconomic conditions that pave the way for IT freelancing to blossom and spread. In other words, the objective of this study has been to investigate the possibilities that technological infrastructure and social and institutional conditions create in regard to the proliferation of IT freelancing. To achieve this research objective, the study explored how the asymmetrical relationship between client-firms and highly-skilled IT contractors is enacted and sustained in practice Previous studies on IT freelancing have usually examined the reasons that justify such a decision, focusing on the contactor or the client-firm's perspective. Little attention has been paid to the technological factors and the functional base of the work which potentially renders this kind of work amenable to freelancing practices. In this regard, the current research is distinguished by the attention it pays to the way the task infrastructure of IT work and information and communication technologies are associated with the contingent employment pattern. To this end, thirty ''ethnographic" interviews with highly-skilled IT contractors were conducted in Greece. An analysis of the findings suggests that the exchange of highly-skilled IT services between the IT contractor and the client-firm, instead of simply being subject to the rules of supply and demand governing spot markets, tends to be highly contingent on the technological infrastructure and socio-economic conditions which govern the current workplace. In other words, the particular technological tools that the contractors possess along with concrete social and institutional conditions that rule the IT sector appear to partly account for the spread and maintenance of IT freelancing techniques.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available