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Amber Stark

Progress Update From the 2020 Visionary Grant Awardees

Since receiving the inaugural Visionary Grant in 2020, Dr. Susan Ashford and her team, Dr. Brianna Barker Caza, Dr. Brittany Lambert, and students Elizabeth Trinh and Jordan Nye Fekete, have made great strides with their project.

The goal of the SIOP Visionary Grant is to award $100,000 to I-O psychologists who aim to change the nature of work. Their project specifically focused on the gig economy and how I-O psychology could be applied to support the thriving of gig workers. The gig economy has continued to expand, especially since the pandemic began, making the focus of this project on an emerging way of working particularly meaningful. The progress of their work as of summer 2021 can be found here, and an update through the summer of 2022 follows.

The team has pursued a series of projects through the help of the Visionary Grant. Most recently, the team completed data collection for a large-scale intervention study. This study involved 218 high-skill gig workers participating in one of three interventions four times over the span of 2 weeks following a baseline-week measurement. The interventions were aimed at improving the quality of life for gig workers, targeting the unique challenges they face. Next steps include a quantitative analysis of this intervention, its impact, and the experiences of these workers picked up through our experience sampling methodology.

In addition to this intervention study, they completed interviews of more than 50 workers holding the same job but doing those jobs either in traditional organizational settings or as independent gig workers. This unique comparison data are currently being analyzed, and the group aims to have a manuscript complete by the end of this year.

In the process of planning the projects above, Ashford’s team also reviewed the literature on interventions in management and published that review in the Academy of Management Annals. Interested readers can find this research under the citation Lambert, B. K., Caza, B., Trinh, E. N., & Ashford, S. J. (2022). Individual-centered interventions: Identifying what, how, and why.  Interventions work in organizational contexts. Academy of Management Annals, (ja).

“On behalf of the research team receiving the inaugural SIOP Visionary Grant, I thank both SIOP and the donors,” Ashford said of the award. “The intervention study that we completed could not have happened without the support of this grant. We had more than 200 gig workers participating in four, hour-long interventions over 2 weeks and completing 27 short, experience-capturing surveys. We were able to pay these independent workers what they deserved for the time spent on our study, and we believe we now have unique data that will be both highly useful to our field and immediately applicable to gig workers.” 

If you’d like to learn more about this project or connect with a community of scholars and practitioners interested in the gig economy, the team hosts a website with resources and blog posts. Additionally, they share their work through various academic conferences. Most recently, they presented at the Positive Organizational Scholarship Conference in June (Left to Right: Dr. Brittany Lambert, Dr. Sue Ashford, Dr. Brianna Barker Caza, and Elizabeth Trinh) and the Academy of Management Annual Meeting earlier this month.

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