MTurk and Piecework: an analysis

This new article provides some historical context for analyzing crowdwork like that which occurs on MTurk. It looks at the use of piecework in manufacturing and draws some interesting implications.  Some of these key implications include:

  • Complexity: when something moves from a simple and familiar task (sewing) to one that is more constrained (sewing to the reqs of a manufacturer), masurement and verification will remain persistent challenges that will limit complexity unless solved.
  • Decomposition: at some point, specialized training for work will become the norm.
  • Workers: the decentralized nature of workers will continue to limit collective action.

This is a great foundational piece for anyone doing MTurk research.

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