This is a call for proposals for research partnerships with the Fairwork project, which acts to ensure decent work standards for workers on digital labour platforms.
The project involves assisting Fairwork researchers to conduct a pilot study on the working conditions in the BPO sector. The project involves desk research, interviews with managers of a BPO company, conducting survey and interviews with workers in the BPO sector, and analysis of the findings.
Please note that this is a pilot study, so we plan to complete the project in no more than 10 weeks.
Proposals must be submitted by 2 May 2023 via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All project related inquiries could be sent to email@example.com
“Fair Work in the Platform Economy: A Global South Perspective” is an action research project funded by GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit). The project is co-ordinated Professor Mark Graham at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, with key coordinating partners including Professor Martin Krzywdzinski at the WZB: Berlin Social Science Centre and Professor Richard Heeks at the Centre for Development Informatics, University of Manchester.
Fairwork’s main focus is rating digital labour platforms – mainly but not exclusively in the ride-hailing, delivery and domestic work sectors – according to five decent work principles: fair pay, fair conditions, fair contracts, fair management, and fair representation. Evidence is gathered from the platforms themselves and from worker interviews, with each platform being awarded a score between 0 and 10 (see examples here).
Our aim is to put pressure on platforms to improve pay and working conditions; through the use of our ratings by consumers, by platforms themselves, and by others but also through other means.
The project currently operates in 38 countries on five continents, and studies both geographically-tethered digital labour platforms and cloudwork (or ‘remote work’) platforms.
Over the past three years, we have mobilised a unique and growing transnational network of social justice-minded scholars in pursuit of this planetary goal. We have scholars with expertise in a range of disciplines, including but not limited to geography, sociology, political science, social policy, economics, business and management. Our focus and interest in studying labour conditions bring us together.
We are seeking to grow our network further and thanks to funding from GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), we are able to financially support new partners and research projects.
For this research, we are looking for partners in Morocco only.
The project will involve adapting and applying Fairwork principles to the BPO sector, conducting research on the BPO sector and the company we will be evaluating, conducting survey and interviews with workers in the BPO sector, and assessing the BPO company we will be studying against five Fairwork principles of decent work.
Each team will be awarded funding for up to £12,000 (max.) depending on the proposed research plan.
Please see below for further information and the required deliverables of the project.
The Project Partners
This is a call for a research partner to assist in conducting a Fairwork pilot project in evaluating the BPO sector:
Phase 1/Desk Research:
Conduct desk research on the BPO sector, focusing, in particular, on working conditions in Morocco and beyond. This stage entails media survey and analysis of articles published/clips broadcasted in local and international outlets of the BPO company we will be conducting research on.
Please note that the name of the company will be kept confidential until the research collaboration agreement will be signed.
Phase 2a/Management Interviews:
Participate in meetings with the BPO company’s management to explain the Fairwork principles and research design. Please note that Fairwork team will be present in all management meetings, and will be chairing the meetings.
Phase 2b/Worker Survey and Interviews:
Conduct pilot interviews with a set of workers to obtain preliminary data to be used in order to set up a survey to be disseminated across the BPO’s workers.
Disseminate the survey to a minimum of 200 workers, and conduct follow up interviews with additional workers to obtain in-depth data (up to 20 interviews).
Phase 3/Data Analysis:
Analyse the data obtained from desk research, management interviews, worker interviews, and the survey to provide a provisional Fairwork score to the BPO company. Seek additional evidence from the BPO company before finalising the score.
Write a brief report based on the findings.
Please note that all activities are undertaken with members of the Fairwork project team. And the total timeline planned for this pilot project is 10 weeks.
Teams will be funded with a total up to £12,000 (max.).
Specific budgets will be set up with partners after the selection process.
Partners will receive the funding from the University of Oxford, and a financial collaboration agreement will be set up between partner institutions and the University of Oxford.
Please note that financial procurement rules apply to all financial commitments made by partner institutions, as part of our funding requirements.
1. Lead Contact Person: Title, name, email address, phone number and any other relevant contact information
2. Organisation Details: Name, address, website link
- Statement of Purpose (500 words): Please provide a supporting statement explaining:
- Why do you/does your organisation wish to collaborate with Fairwork on this pilot project (e.g. What benefits it will bring to you).
3. Statement of Capacity (max. 1000 words): Please provide a supporting statement of capacity covering aspects such as
- what expertise do you/your organisation have that mean you are a good choice for partnership.
- names of main researchers who will be working on the project
- previous work on platform work or related topics (gig economy, platform economy, digital economy, decent work, precarious/temporary work, future of work)
- previous experience running an action research project including undertaking data-gathering and analysis, development and support for implementation of action plans, and dissemination of results to wider practitioner and research communities
- specific contacts and capacity relating to platform work in your country.
- research experience studying the BPO sector.
3. Ethics: what local ethical clearance will be required for the data gathering and how long will this take? Do you anticipate any risks or any potential roadblocks?
4. Action Plan: detail the project activities that you intend to perform on a timeline (max. 10 weeks).
5. Attachments: please attach a two-page CV for each of the named main researchers who will be involved with the project; focus on elements of specific relevance to this research project: academic qualifications, experience of running research projects, academic- and practitioner-related outputs, research and/or work experience in the BPO sector.
This Call for Partners does not imply any commitment on the part of the University. The successful quotation will be accepted by the issue of a University of Oxford purchase order.
The University of Oxford is not liable for any costs incurred by you in preparing your response to this RFQ and the University reserves the right to terminate this procurement process at anytime.
Please confirm that your quotation is based on the University’s standard terms and conditions of purchase when you are preparing your proposal (available at: https://finance.admin.ox.ac.uk/files/h09standardconditionsofpurchasepdf)
The Selection Process
After the submission deadline, we will hold online interviews with shortlisted potential partners to discuss their proposals.
Interviews will be conducted by the Fairwork Team, who will be leading the pilot project.
Successful partners will receive funding directly from the University of Oxford.
Please circulate to those who might be relevant partners.