School of Business and Law
Edith Cowan University Industry Collaboration Grant Scheme
This research focuses on the extent sharing economy transforms employability for women impacted by domestic and reproductive work. The authors explore the experience of mothers, of how digital peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms can affect their self-perceived employability and skills deterioration by unlocking human capital through technology acceptance.
This study adopted a pragmatism-based approach incorporating using a single-case study research design with the Gioia methodology. It utilised a semi-structured telephone survey to collect data to explore the decisions around usage of a newly developed mobile P2P app, aiming to support employability among mothers. Analysis was conducted inductively using thematic analysis and partial least squares structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM).
The study finds that mothers experience high rates of continued labour market attachment on a casual or part-time basis, difficulty in juggling family and work, and high levels of concern both about future employment/entrepreneurial opportunities and expected stress in balancing dual roles of carer and earner. While mothers are interested in using new sharing economy technologies to reduce skills deterioration and improve signalling, the authors find that there were both technology and non-technology related barriers. These included trust and security, life-stage mismatch, time poverty and limitation of service offerings.
This research was limited to mothers in one state in Australia and by the case study research design, the measurement model and the self-report nature of the data collection. Hence, the findings may lack generalisability in other contexts. It also limits the ability to make conclusions regarding causality.
This exploratory study contributes to research in the intersection between human resources (HR) and entrepreneurship by illustrating how sharing economy platforms can offer women a means to overcome the issues of signalling and skills deterioration in relation to aspects of human capital theory by developing new skills that may act as positive signals signal to potential employers or investors. Additionally, the social interactions between mothers, through technology adoption, can provide a basis for improving future self-employment or entrepreneurship and employability.
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