Optimizing Trust Dynamics: The Strategic Advantage of Emotionally Detached Gig Workers

The gig economy has become an integral component of workforce dynamics. A recent study conducted by the University of New Hampshire sheds light on a crucial aspect of this workforce– how the emotional detachment of gig workers can be strategically advantageous in the B2B sector. 

As millions of workers embrace the flexibility offered by gig arrangements– ranging from freelancers to independent contractors– the study reveals that the inherent flexibility also leads to reduced traditional workplace interaction and relationship investment from employers. This, surprisingly, results in lower levels of trust between gig workers and their managers, which, as the study suggests, can be turned into a strategic advantage for businesses. 

Published in the Journal of Trust Research, the study engaged self-identified gig workers in four comprehensive investigations using surveys and tasks. The findings challenge the conventional belief that emotionally detached workers are detrimental to organizational performance. Instead, they suggest that the resilience and adaptability of gig workers, coupled with their lower emotional investment, can have positive implications for working relationships.

Unlike traditional full-time employees who tend to be more emotionally affected by breaches of trust with their managers, gig workers display a remarkable ability to rebound swiftly and maintain a focus on their tasks. This emotional detachment, far from being a drawback, positions gig workers as assets in dynamic business environments where agility and adaptability are paramount.

Jennifer Griffith, associate professor of organizational behavior and management at UNH’s Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics, stresses the importance of investing in people, irrespective of their work circumstances. For B2B enterprises, recognizing and leveraging the strengths of gig workers—quick recovery from trust issues and adaptability—can contribute significantly to building resilient and efficient business relationships.

This research highlights the need for B2B organizations to reconsider the traditional view of emotionally detached workers and recognize the strategic advantages that gig workers bring to the table. As businesses navigate the complexities of the contemporary marketplace, understanding and optimizing the dynamics of trust with gig workers can be a key differentiator in achieving long-term success.