Date of Award

Summer 8-4-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Naveen Donthu


Sharing economy labor platforms depend on a voluntary freelance workforce to provide professional or personal services. These platforms cite high freelancer turnover and performance variance as major concerns. Both these concerns affect the platform’s customer experience, network growth, and brand image. Prior research proposes extrinsic retention approaches such as incentive-based (e.g., higher pay for better performance) and value-based job resources (e.g., enhanced support through training). The financial precariousness of the labor platforms leaves them with limited scope to pursue costly extrinsic retention strategies. Our study focuses on the freelancer’s intrinsic personal resources such as psychological traits within a specific occupational context (professional/personal services) as an alternate yet complimentary cost-efficient way to alleviate the concerns. Influenced by the job-demand resources model, we use exploratory techniques to find customer orientation, self-efficacy, proactivity through strategic emphasis, and risk-taking propensity as orientation traits that makes individuals suitable for freelancing. Confirmatory surveys confirm that the orientation traits predict work engagement. Further, the twin outcomes of freelancer’s work performance and intention to turnover are partially mediated by freelancer’s work engagement. Customer feedback in the form of reviews positively moderates the relationship between work engagement and work performance. Platform managers can identify and retain freelance-oriented workers through strategic resource allocation, saving acquisition and branding expenses while growing revenue through enhanced customer experience and transactions.


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