The Journal of Management & Organization (JMO) has released its new special issue, ‘Self-employed professionals, freelancers and contractors,’ and is offering free access to the articles until the end of February. The articles can be accessed here.

A number of members of the CRSE network have contributed to this special issue following their involvement in the Global Research Workshop on Freelancing and Self-Employment in 2015.

Opening with a foreword from renowned labour economist Nigel Meager, this special issue presents a wide range of international perspectives on the nature, characteristics, contributions and challenges facing this important and growing group of people identified by various labels, from freelancer to independent professional, contractor and consultant. 

The first paper provides a historical perspective with Simon Bridge’s questioning of ‘Self Employment: Deviation or Norm?’ before moving to the suggestion from Tui McKeown that a “Consilience Framework” may be one way to overcome the oft cited lack of data on self-employment.

The investigation of real issues and problems then changes focus with an examination by Ward de Jager, Clare Kelliher, Pascale Peters, Rob Blomme and Yuka Sakamoto of an ‘An Extended Person - Environment Fit Approach to Understand the Work-Life Interface of Self-Employed Workers. 

The particular legal challenges and complexities are then examined from two perspectives. An examination by Michael Wynn of self-employed as ‘Chameleons at Large: Entrepreneurs, Employees and Firms – the Changing Context of Employment Relationships’, which to provides insight into a world whereby new corporate structures are being developed to promote one man companies, SMEs and hybrid company/partnerships.  Patricia Leighton offers a second legal perspective to offer insight into the deep and far reaching nature of these challenges in ‘Professional Self-employment, new power and the sharing economy: some cautionary tales from Uber’.

The national nuances of work is provided by Dieter Bögenhold and Andrea Klinglmair who add a distinctly European and economic side to this special issue with an empirical examination of ‘Independent Work, Modern Organizations and Entrepreneurial Labor: Diversity and Hybridity of Freelancers and Self-employment.’

The concluding paper is from Michel Syrett, ‘IPros and Wellbeing: An Emerging Focus for Research’. In this paper Syrett presents both himself as well as his extensive work experience and knowledge as an independent professional to call for further research into the support sources, structures and resources for those working in this form of employment.  

Overall, this special edition presents a solid and wide ranging basis for anyone wanting to know more about this hidden yet increasingly popular way of working.