Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE credits
The purpose of this explorative thesis is to provide an overview of freelancer managementbased on the areas of virtual team management theory. Virtual team management theory constitutes of four main dimensions which address input, socio emotional processes, task processes, and output. A case study based on this framework was conducted on VirtualSchool
1, an online education site operating with over 500 freelancers. Two research methods were used to shed light on the relatively new topic of freelancer management. The first was a qualitative research with participative interviews conducted at the VirtualSchool’s headquarters with fulltime employees from different departments of the company. Thisprovided insight regarding freelancer management from a client management perspective. The second method was a quantitative research using an online survey that was distributed to
VirtualSchool’s freelancers. The result of the survey was used to analyse how different predictor variables based on the virtual team management framework affected the freelancer’s work satisfaction which was the criterion variable.
The result from the qualitative analysis showed that the managers at VirtualSchool strongly valued socio emotional factors such as relationship, trust, and reliability. Interviewees whom worked with internal process without direct interaction with freelancers stressed out the importance of transparency, documentation, and clear processes. The task processes and the freelancer management therefore emerged based on the internal conflicts and priorities of the company.
The result from the freelancer survey showed that task processes, with coordination and task structure as variables, accounted for the strongest impact on work satisfaction. Also the
employer relationship variable, part of the socio emotional factors, had a small influence on the work satisfaction of the freelancer.
The theory from virtual team management could be applied on freelancer management to a large extent due to the similar nature of the work style. But some underlying differences in the nature and character between freelancers and virtual team members affected the application in some areas.
The thesis act as an initial investigation of freelancer management which is an increasingly common area in today’s global economy. This creates vast opportunities for future research in an important new field of study.
2012. , 91 p.
Freelancer, Freelancer Management, Virtual Team Management, Virtual Management