Proteus looks around: Agency, time, and context in a Gig Economy career analysis

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Marcia Cristiane Vaclavik
Sidinei Rocha-de-Oliveira
Andrea Poleto Oltramari


Contemporary career studies based on the protean career theory emphasize individual characteristics such as adaptability and flexibility. However, it is important to consider elements that permeate and influence the individual’s agency and career paths. This study analyzes how the perspectives of time and context, in addition to the individual’s agency, influence the career paths of gig economy workers. The qualitative analysis of data collected from interviews with 57 Brazilian app-based drivers enabled developing an empirically based typology with eight workers’ profiles and different ways of adaptation, including how they experience the activity and how they redirect their professional paths. Although adaptability marks their career trajectory, the time and context limit the area in which they can work and exercise agency. This study joins a broader movement in the career field and international studies that seek a better understanding of the gig economy and its consequences. The emergence of app-based activities resulting from a particular time and technological context brings different ways to adapt and change career plans.



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Vaclavik, M. C., Rocha-de-Oliveira, S., & Oltramari, A. P. (2021). Proteus looks around: Agency, time, and context in a Gig Economy career analysis. Brazilian Administration Review, 18(2), e200098.
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