Engaging Stakeholders of Crowdsourced Work: Case of Cab Aggregators of India

Engaging Stakeholders of Crowdsourced Work: Case of Cab Aggregators of India

Jatin Pandey (Indian Institute of Management, Indore, India) and Shrihari S. Sohani (Indian Institute of Management, Indore, India)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/JECO.2020070103


With the advent of mobile application-based aggregator models, engaging stakeholders has become more challenging as the lines separating external and internal customer are blurred. This study deciphers the points of engagement and points of disengagement for the major stakeholders viz. drivers and commuters for the cab aggregators in India. Through semi-structured interviews of cab drivers and triangulation through media reports, interviews of customers, bank officers and regional transport officers, the authors elicit what enhances customer and driver engagement and what reduces it. Results show that technology has a dual nature where it enhances as well as diminish the engagement of drivers. The identity of a professional and the flexibility offered by this app-based work fosters engagement for drivers as well as customers. Changes in organizational and government norms are a source of disengagement. The theoretical and practical implications are also discussed.
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Aggregators match supply and demand in real time through efficient utilization of technology. Engaging the stakeholders, namely drivers and passengers, is an important process and demands attention of the researchers. Engaged stakeholders are a key to the immediate success and long-term sustainability of the aggregator model. The engagement paradigm in this setting requires engaging both parties in order to deliver a best-value proposition that leads to a mutually beneficial relationship between the two partners. The aggregator model is particularly appealing as it is different from the traditional employee and customer paradigm; it acts as a facilitator for matching the service provider with service benefactor.

As a construct, engagement, which essentially stems from psychology, has been conceptualized and operationalized by researchers in the fields of education and marketing as well as organizational behavior (OB). While the focus in education is on student engagement (Pandey & Nagesh, 2013), in the realm of OB it essentially takes variants of work engagement (Jha, Pandey, & Varkkey, 2018; Shimazu & Schaufeli, 2008) and employee engagement (Gupta, Ganguli, & Ponnam, 2015; Macey & Schneider, 2008), though marketers look at it as customer engagement (Brodie, Hollebeek, Jurić, & Ilić, 2011). Even at individual level studies show that work, personal and job engagement differ significantly from each other (Gupta & Shukla, 2018). Even with these differences it has been seen as a precursor to job performance as well (Pandey, 2019). This study looks at aggregators where instead of employee and customer the appropriate term is users or stakeholders, therefore in this paper a view that encompasses employee as well as customer engagement is brought forth. In the context of aggregators, we define stakeholder engagement as a prolonged and repeated usage of the service offered by the aggregator to concerned parties. These concerned parties are drivers and riders in case of cab aggregators, food delivery agents and buyers in case of food aggregators, and room renters and tourists in case of hotel aggregators to name a few contexts.

An engaged customer is essential for their constructive individual behaviors in terms of, for example, purchase, recommendation, word-of-mouth activity and helping other customers (van Doorn et al., 2010). At the organizational level, it is linked to financial outcomes like sales growth (Neff, 2007), developmental outcomes like new product/service development (Hoyer, Chandy, Dorotic, Krafft, & Singh, 2010) and strategic outcomes like value co-creation (Jaakkola & Alexander, 2014) and business growth (Roberts & Alpert, 2010). The customer’s engagement value has been classified in terms of lifetime, referral, influencer and knowledge values that add to customer relationship management (Kumar et al., 2010).

The advent of the internet has opened avenues for engagement to gain new heights (Gupta & Pandey, 2018) especially customer engagement through interactions across social media (Sashi, 2012) and enhancements in product innovation (Sawhney, Verona, & Prandelli, 2005). The boom of mobile telephony has accentuated the internet boom by providing features such as “on the go” and “always on” to engagement strategies and a possibility to profit from a better virtual customer environment (Nambisan & Nambisan, 2008). Mobile apps go a step further to enhance user satisfaction (Dovaliene, Masiulyte, & Piligrimiene, 2015) and increase the potential of engaging customers and increasing sales (Dinner, van Heerde, & Neslin, 2015). This highlights the importance of mobile app-based products and services in engaging the customers of the new millennia.

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