Valuing co-operation: motivation and reward for producers of education platform content

CONNOLLY, Darren (2023). Valuing co-operation: motivation and reward for producers of education platform content. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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The seed of this research comes from a desire to understand alternative routes to building sustainable online businesses, where workers are at the heart of planning, control and decision making. To challenge the dominance of global players on the internet, businesses underpinned by neoliberal thought. The purpose of this thesis is to assist in filling the void in the current literature with regard to the motivation and reward for individual producers of education videos for online platforms, to explore the value of co-operation amongst producers, and the potential role of co-operative principles. An inductive, qualitative, interpretive approach was used to gather empirical data on individual producers. Online semi-structured interviews were carried out with twenty producers within three comparative case studies: internal (employed), external (self-employed) and co-producers (employed or self-employed). Critical Systems Theory provided the authenticity to question producers’ perceptions of existing systems and the paradigm out of which platforms and producers operate. A methodological contribution comes from utilising Meadows’ taxonomy of systemic intervention points as a theoretical framework to identify potential system levers in reward systems. This research provides insights into what workers value in a platform relationship and the implications of this for reward systems. The research identified distinct motivators and reward management practices specific to producer groups, as well as underlying features that were common across all producer groups. If new systems are to challenge the existing stranglehold of venture capitalist backed platforms they will benefit from open platform membership, worker participation in both systems development and reward ownership, and worker autonomy and independence. This research provides a scope for change, so that individual content producers can see for themselves the possibilities to self-organise into new forms. A limitation of this research is that data collected was based on the perspectives of individual producers, future research could include other actors to provide a rich picture of platform systems. It also does not fully address the capital problem of how to finance internet based businesses, but with worker-centric platform businesses there is a foundation for research into the integration of existing multistakeholder models.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - O'Leary, Christine (Affiliation: Sheffield Hallam University)
Thesis advisor - Ridley-Duff, Rory [0000-0002-5560-6312] (Affiliation: Sheffield Hallam University)
Thesis advisor - Wren, David (Affiliation: Sheffield Hallam University)
Additional Information: Director of studies: Dr. Christine O'Leary / Supervisors: Prof. Rory Ridley-Duff and Dr. David Wren
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2024 14:33
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2024 02:00

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