• Albena Neschen


Up to now, there is a big debate, about what self-consciousness is, what inhibits it, and how this is related to work. By referring to classical theories of mind by Hegel this paper advances the thesis of an apparent congruence of self-consciousness and work as a developmental process in social relationships. This paper aims to open up a wider philosophical horizon for the criticism of current digitalization and the increasing variety of new flexible forms of work design. For example, the working conditions on large digital platforms for taxi drivers tend to inhibit the development of worker`s self-consciousness for two reasons: Firstly, workers on digital platforms are not able to further develop digital tools through their work and this inhibits their intellectual creativity and secondly, the developmental process of the self-consciousness remains restricted because of the asymmetrical recognition, which only obtains by virtue of a process of recognizing and being recognized by others. Creative work and recognition are important for the development of consciousness as self-reflection in digital business, in which organizations operate and people work.


  • Baiocco, S., E. Fernández-Macías, U. Rani, and A. Pesole. 2022. The algorithmic management of work and its implications in different contexts. Seville: European Commission, JRC129749. Online Access 12/25/2022.
  • Bertram, G. W., and R. Celikates. 2013. Towards a conflict theory of recognition: on the constitution of relations of recognition in conflict. European Journal of Philosophy 23/4:838–861.
  • Bernacchio, C. 2022. Hegelian reflections on agency, alienation, and work: toward an expressivist theory of the firm. Philosophy of Management.  Google Scholar 
  • Bienenstock, M. 2004. Zur Revision der praktischen Philosophie Hegels im dem Systementwurf von 1805/06. In: Kimmerle, H.(Ed.): Die Eigenbedeutung der Jenaer Systemkonzeptionen Hegels. Berlin. 215–228.
  • Cutolo, D., and M. Kenney2021. Platform-dependent entrepreneurs: Power asymmetries, risks, and strategies in the platform economy. Academy of Management Perspectives Vol. 35, 4.
  • Dahlstrom, D. 2013. The self before self-consciousness: Hegel’s developmental account. Hegel Bulletin 34(02):135–158.
  • Dobson, J. 2021. Envisioning the aesthetic firm. Philosophy of Management 20: 355–368.
  • Dobson, J. 2022. Virtue ethics, aesthetics, and reflective practices in business. Philosophy of Management.  Google Scholar 
  • Düsing, E. 1986. Intersubjektivität und Selbstbewusstsein. Behavioristische, phänomenologische und idealistische Begründungstheorien bei Mead, Schütz, Fichte und Hegel. Köln.
  • Düsing, K. 1993. Hegels Phänomenologie und die idealistische Geschichte des Selbstbewusstseins. In: Hegel-Studien vol. 28, eds Nicolin F. und Pöggeler, pp. 103–126. Bonn.
  • Düsing, K. 1995. Das Problem der Subjektivität in Hegels Logik. Hegel-Studien, Beiheft 15. Hamburg: Meiner Verlag.
  • Düsing, K. 1997. Selbstbewusstseinsmodelle. Moderne Kritiken und systematische Entwurfe zur konkreten Subjektivität. München.
  • Ferro, B. 2002. From rechtsphilosophie to Staatsökonomie: Hegel and the philosophical foundations of political economy. European Journal of Philosophy.  Google Scholar 
  • Gloy, K. 1985. Bemerkungen zum Kapitel. Herrschaft und Knechtschaft in Hegels Phänomenologie des Geistes. Zeitschrift für philosophische Forschung Vol 39: 187–213. Google Scholar 
  • Habermas, J. 1967. Arbeit und Interaktion. Bemerkungen zu Hegels Jenenser ‘Philosophie des Geistes’. Technik und Wissenschaft als Ideologie. Frankfurt am Main. pp. 9–47.
  • Hegel, G. W. F. 1975. In Gesammelte Werke. Jenaer Systementwurfe I, eds. Dusing, K. and Kimmerle H., Vol. 6. Hamburg (quoted as Vol. 6).
  • Hegel, G. W. F. 1976. In Gesammelte Werke. Jenaer Systementwurfe III, eds. Horstmann R.-P., Vol. 8. Hamburg (quoted as Vol. 8).
  • Hegel, G. W. F. 1980. In Gesammelte Werke. Phänomenologie des Geistes, eds. Bonsiepen, W. and Heede R., Vol. 9. Hamburg (quoted as Vol. 9).
  • Honneth, A. 1995. The struggle for recognition – the Moral Grammar of Social of Social conflicts. Polity Press.
  • Honneth, A. 2010. Das Ich im Wir: Studien zur Anerkennungstheorie. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp Verlag. Google Scholar 
  • ILO. 2021. World Employment and Social Outlook 2021: the role of Digital Labour Platforms in transforming the World of Work. Geneva: ILO. Online access 25/12/2022.–en/index.htm Google Scholar 
  • Josifovic, S. 2008. Hegels Theorie des Selbstbewusstseins in der Phänomenologie des Geistes. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann. Google Scholar 
  • Josifovic, S. 2013. The Dialectic of Normative Attitudes in Hegel’s Lordship and Bondage. In: Krijnen, C. (ed.): Recognition – German Idealism as an Ongoing Challenge, Brill, Leiden/Boston.
  • Klikauer, Th. 2012. The political economy of GFW Hegel – a review article. International Journal of Social Economics 39(7).
  • Kojève, A. 1969. Desire and work in the master and servant. In Hegel’s Dialectic of Desire and Recognition – Text and Commentary, ed. O’Neill, J. New York: State University of New York Press.
  • Marcuse, H. 1941. Reason and Revolution – Hegel and the Rise of Social Theory, Beacon, Boston, MA.
  • Marx, K. 1843. A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, Deutsch-Französiche Jahrbücher, available at:
  • Möhlmann, M., L. Zalmanson, O. Henfridsson, and R. W. Gregory. 2021. Algorithmic management of work online labor platforms: When matching meets control. MIS Quarterly 45(4).
  • Moore, Ph., and A. Robinson. 2016. The quantified self: what counts in the neoliberal workplace. New Media & Society 18:11.
  • Pakusch, C., A. Boden, and M. Stein, et al. 2021. The automation of the taxi industry – Taxi Drivers’ expectations and attitudes towards the future of their work. Computer Supported Cooperative Work 30:539–587.
  • Peperzak, A. 2001. Modern Freedom: Hegel’s Legal, Moral, and Political Philosophy. Dordrecht-Boston.
  • Rani, U., and M. Furrer. 2020. Digital labour platforms and new forms of flexible work in developing countries: Algorithmic management of work and workers. Competition & Change 25(2).
  • Schulze, L, Trenz, M. Cai, Z., and Tan, Ch. (2022). Algorithmic unfairness on digital labor platforms: how algorithmic management practices disadvantage workers. Conference paper: International Conference on Information Systems At: Copenhagen, Denkmark, Accessed 25 Dec 2022.
  • Siep, L. 1979. Anerkennung als Prinzip der praktischen Philosophie. Freiburg: Untersuchungen zu Hegels Jenaer Philosophie des Geistes. Google Scholar 
  • Siep, L. 2008. Anerkennung in der “Phänomenologie des Geistes“ und in der praktischen Philosophie der Gegenwart. Anerkennung. Ed. by H.-C. Schmidt am Busch und C. F. Zurn, Berlin, Akademie Verlag.
  • Visser, M. and Arnold Th. C. 2021. Recognition and work in the platform economy: a normative reconstruction. Philosophy of Management (2022) 21:31–45.