- Mahima SaxenaMahima SaxenaUniversity of Nebraska Omaha
Informal work refers to a variety of nontraditional work and employment arrangements. It is different from to work in the informal economy, even though the terms are often used interchangeably. In the extant literature, terms such as precarious work, gig or freelance work, and nontraditional work are also used to describe informal work. Informal work is a ubiquitous phenomenon, found globally, across all or most nations in the world. The majority of research on informal work has occurred within the fields of economics, sociology, labor law, policy, and related disciplines. It has been recognized that not enough attention in the field of psychology, specifically Industrial and Organizational psychology, has been paid to informal work. For the research that does exist in different scholarly and applied disciplines, there is often terminological overlap and confusion with regard to different forms and formats of alternative work arrangements. In addition, the study of informal work is often plagued by negative stereotypes and colonially inspired schools of thought that consider traditional, generational, and nonorganizational work of a lower standard and quality than professionally driven office-going jobs. The latter are mainly a by-product of the Industrial Revolution in Western Europe and fail to account for the multitude of work and work formats found around the world.
Further research and policy attention on informal work is needed to provide conceptual clarity on informal work arrangements and informal workers. Psychology can contribute toward an in-depth understanding of informal work, specifically by focusing on a person-centric, first-person experience of work that is often characterized as informal. Industrial and Organizational psychology can also shed light on the themes and characteristics of work that is typically considered informal. Ultimately, taking a decolonized, international, and boundaryless approach to the psychological study of informal work can contribute both to science and to key policy initiatives surrounding inclusive, global, and sustainable development and human flourishing that leave no one behind.
- Organizational and Institutional Psychology
- Psychology and Other Disciplines