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It is the Laboratoire Missioneo’s ambition to cultivate a climate of innovation, the same ambition that has underpinned work undertaken since 2012 by the Missioneo Group’s « recherche-action » section. The main aim of the Laboratoire Missioneo is to gain a detailed understanding of the emergence and development of atypical forms of work, by examining the experience of those involved in it on an everyday basis and by looking at the legal framework which provides – or fails to provide – welfare protection.

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Taking account of the socio-economic issues related to changes in the world of work (digitalization, “uberization”, globalization), the Laboratoire Missioneo has divided its research into six thematic areas concerning independent workers and new forms of work :

1. Changes in work and employment

To understand changes related to ways of working against a social background that is changing, and to be able to outline future trends.

This line of research focuses specifically on the different forms of independent work that are available to working people. The umbrella company is the first issue to be dealt with by the Laboratoire Missioneo. It is a hybrid administrative system, falling between salaried employment and entrepreneurship and seems to meet the needs of the individual in present-day society, notably in terms of career security and welfare protection. The concept of the umbrella company as a contractual and administrative body created in a specific national context (that of France and its social heritage), needs to be defined.

This line of research also looks into the fast-developing economics of the platform – their nature, characteristics and the issues involved. Does this imply a new status for independent workers and a new way of organizing production?

2. How independant workers relate to their work

This second line of research concerns the psycho-social aspects affecting independent workers: their relationship to work, to their specific activity, as well as the social relationships developed in a work context (the legal framework, colleagues, contacts, clients, etc.). Implicit in this is the question of work being at the center of the lives of people in this hybrid category.

It is the Laboratoire Missioneo’s aim to analyse the professional, organisational and emotional commitment of independent workers not only with regard to their profession and their work ethic but also with regard to the companies and/or institutions they work for, as well as to the support staff of the legal structure within which they work and all social relationships arising from independent work.

In addition to the aspect of personal commitment to an independent status, the Laboratoire Missioneo is also interested in the economic side, taking account of social consequences with regard to insecurity, poverty, uncertainty and the feeling of isolation.

Within this same line of reseatrch, the Laboratoire also looks into the question of how people who « pass through” or “settle into” professional independence see their own identity. Does one’s status (salaried staff member, independent worker or person with a hybrid status) change the job that one does?

3. Paths which "lead to" or "pass through" independent work

Following on from the second line of research, the Laboratoire Missioneo focuses here on the life histories of independent workers: the aim is to get a better understanding of their career paths, to identify the reasons why they became independent, the critical events or incidents that occurred, the issues involved in changing a career path, and to look at resilience in cases of failure.

Underlying all this, and highlighted, will be the independent workers’ relationship with the world of work (whether positive or negative) given their experience. Did they become independent by choice or not, and how was the choice rationalized after the event?

Finally, the Laboratoire is interested in the choice of one status over another.

4. The place of independent workers in the socio-economic system

Given the increasingly frequent outsourcing of highly-qualified tasks by private and public companies, the Laboratoire Missioneo aims to gain a better understanding of the reasons for recourse to independent workers and thereby to look at the way in which such external workers are managed and to what extent they are considered as independent.

Being professionally independent is becoming increasingly popular and this poses numerous questions concerning the security of career paths, notably with regard to welfare protection. Benefits vary for independent workers according to the type of employment they choose. The Laboratoire Missioneo is interested in this aspect, which has a significant impact on the quality of life of independent workers.

5. How independent workers organize their work

This one concerns understanding the general picture of how independent consultants are integrated into the organisations that pay for their services – for example, how a working relationship is built up between the independent worker and the payer. This involves initial contact, negotiation of fees, personal contacts with “internal” salaried staff and management of the labor force – all of which the Laboratoire Missioneo aims to describe. Also included in this aspect is the influence of tripartite models of contractual working relationships (temporary work, umbrella companies…).

6. The traits and skills of freelance worker

As part of this last line, it needs to focus on freelance workers’ individuals characteristics. Identified what are the personality characteristics and what are freelance workers’ sense of identity, as examples. Furthermore, how this sense of identity can evolve slightly in time ? In the probable situation where a wide variety of traits could be identified in this population, which ones could be correlated with a success in the status, or a greater comfort in the activity?

Similarly, the Laboratory seeks to identify skills and abilities required for the success of an self-employed activity. This understanding could to help to find the best accompaniment for them in acquisition of these skills, and more broadly help to facilitate and secure a professional transition towards independence.

The disciplines involved

By definition, the Laboratoire Missioneo is interdisciplinary, i.e. its vocation is to encourage interaction between the different fields of the Social Sciences, notably the specialities of internal researchers at the Laboratoire and of the researchers who sit on the Scientific Committee of The Fondation Travailler autrement.

The Laboratoire Missioneo is open to all research methods, with a view to using those that are particularly revelant to each subject of research.


To contact the Laboratoire Missioneo researchers :


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