The Psychology of Work Independence

This new study by Insead’s Gianpiero Petriglieri, et al is super useful not only to understand the psychology of the “gig economy” participants, but to understand the psychology of small business owners and entrepreneurs in general.

By clarifying the process through which people manage emotions associated with precarious and personalized work identities, and thereby render their work identities viable and their selves vital, this paper advances theorizing on the emotional underpinnings of identity work and the systems psychodynamics of independent work.

If I may translate that, it’s all about finding one’s identity in the work that they do — which when a large corporation succeeds, then the employee gets a win-win world. For a business of one, it’s the fruit of one’s success; for a tech startup, it’s also the fruit of success that generally gets lost when the company starts to scale. For a non-tech startup, or a small business in general that chooses not to grow, it’s the commonsense outcome of achieving financial freedom on one’s own terms. In their diagram, this part is the important part:

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Their study is available until February 2018, and I have a local cache here.

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John Maeda

I'm a learner.