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The move toward driverless cars represents another battlefield for Lyft and Uber.

The move toward driverless cars represents another battlefield for Lyft and Uber. For its part, Lyft has forged relationships with General Motors, MIT, and Maymo—a division of Google’s parent company, Alphabet. Lyft’s plan is to create a suite of hardware and software that allows any car manufacturer to turn their vehicles into driverless cars that work with Lyft’s network of passengers. One of Lyft’s particular priorities is making the experience of being “robo-driven” less anxiety-provoking. Its plan is to show passengers what the vehicle’s sensors are picking up, and to equip vehicles with a voice that explains what is happening and why. So the car won’t be driven by a human, but it will (kind of) act human. The move does raise questions, however, about the impact of the shift on Lyft’s drivers. Assuming it occurs across a decade, how will drivers’ commitment levels be affected? Some data on that question can be taken from a study published in the Journal of Management and Organization. The authors measured employee reactions to what they called STARA—smart technology, artificial intelligence, robotics, and algorithms. Employees in 200 organizations in New Zealand were surveyed on a number of variables. One of those was STARA awareness, which was measured on a five-point scale (1=Strongly Disagree; 2=Disagree; 3=Neutral; 4=Agree; 5=Strongly Agree) with the following four items:

1. I think my job could be replaced by STARA.

2. I am personally worried that what I do now in my job will be replaced by STARA.

3. I am personally worried about my future in my organization due to STARA replacing employees.

4. I am personally worried about my future in my industry due to STARA replacing employees.

When summing across those four items, the employees in the sample had an average STARA awareness of 7—indicating that they mostly disagreed that they were being replaced. However, STARA awareness was negatively correlated with affective commitment to a moderate degree. The more employees worried that they were in danger of being replaced, the less emotional attachment they felt to the company. When asked about such issues, Lyft’s management notes that the ride-sharing industry will continue to grow dramatically, even as driverless technology progresses. So the number of drivers in its fleet will probably grow in the next five years—not shrink.

QUESTIONS:

1.Consider the way that Lyft managers its drivers, compared to Uber. Should the things that Lyft does engender affective commitment, continuance commitment, or normative commitment? (03 Marks) (Min words 150-200)

2.Lyft’s drivers are technically independent contractors, rather than employees. Are there reasons to expect them to feel less commitment to the company because of that designation? Why? (03 Marks) (Min words 150-200)

3.Think about the job you seek to hold after graduation from your program. How would you answer the four STARA questions? If your organization began replacing employees with such technology, would that practice alter your commitment levels? (03 Marks) (Min words 200)

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