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The International Journal of Human Resource Management

Special Issue

Deadline: July 31, 2020

New ways of working: Understanding the implications for employees across different cultural and organisational contexts

Organizations are increasingly implementing new ways of working to address the challenge of becoming more agile and dynamic in a work environment fuelled by new technologies, digitalization and artificial intelligence. First, the timing of work is becoming increasingly flexible giving some employees more autonomy to decide when, how much or how continuously they would like to work (Society for Human Resource Management, 2015) and others less. Second, work is becoming ubiquitous, giving certain employees more options regarding where they work, including in the office, from home, in shared locations, or while commuting (Kossek & Lautsch, 2018) and imposing continuous availability on others. Third, the type of work that individuals carry out becomes increasingly malleable. For example, microwork is emerging as a work pattern, where individuals perform work on-demand outside traditional employment relationships via the internet (Sundararajan, 2017).

At the same time, conventional management hierarchies are evolving towards more agile, participative (e.g. holacracy) and more automated (e.g. algorithmic) ways of working (Cappelli & Tavis, 2018; McIver, Lengnick-Hall, & Lengnick-Hall, 2018). While research has explored the potential benefits and downsides of modern work arrangements for organizationally-relevant outcomes, we know relatively little about their implications for employees. This is surprising as these changes fundamentally disrupt the way employees experience work and will lead to deep-level changes regarding how work will be carried out in the future.

The objective of this special issue is to bring together research, which explores the implications of new ways of working for employees’ attitudes, performance, and wellbeing. We welcome theoretical and empirical submissions which provide a more nuanced understanding of how employees experience and are affected by work in less traditional work structures in order to depict a holistic picture of contemporary work arrangements (Cañibano, 2019).

Specifically, we are interested in studies which explore how employees experience telecommuting, holacracy, empowerment-based team structures, amongst others. We also encourage submissions which analyse how employees react to organisational changes driven by digitalisation and artificial intelligence (Mazmanian, Orlikowski, & Yates, 2013; Orlikowski & Scott, 2014). Moreover, we welcome studies which analyse the positive and negative implications of platform-based employment structures and algorithmic management, i.e. management via automated digital platforms (e.g. Amazon, Lyft, Uber, etc.) for employees. Potential research areas include, but are not limited to:

  • Individual experiences of new ways of working: We welcome research that explores how employees make sense of novel ways of working and how they live through them. For example, in what way is the work experience of dispersed, international or mobile teams different to that of more local and traditional teams? How do independent workers make sense of their relationship with organisations? Does flexible working change employees’ understandings of the nature of work? Do new forms of organising (e.g. holacracy) shift experiences of power and control?
  • The implications of new ways of working for employees over time: Changes in the way work is conducted have significant effects on employees (Fein, Skinner, & Machin, 2017; Felstead & Henseke, 2017). However, longitudinal studies of such effects are scarce. We encourage processual analyses that are able to capture the tensions and trade-offs emerging from new forms of work over time. For example, how do wellbeing consequences of flexible work evolve over time? How do attitudes of employees towards agile work change at different implementation stages?

  • The increasing segmentation of the workforce and the implications of new ways of working for different sub-groups of the workforce: New ways of working are not equally distributed among the workforce and may yield different experiences and consequences across occupations (Avgoustaki & Frankort, 2019; Kossek & Lautsch, 2018). We encourage studies that examine these differences. Are employees across different occupational categories or levels exposed to different flexibility types? Do employees of different occupations and levels benefit equally (in terms of attitudes, performance, and wellbeing) or are disadvantaged from new work arrangements?

  • The implication of algorithmic management for employees’ careers and wellbeing: We encourage studies that examine how workers experience their career path within algorithmic management structures. What are their responses to the benefits and constraints of algorithmic management in terms of career patterns and philosophies? Is this modern approach to work for the benefit of employees or a form of exploitation with limited workplace protection, which in turn can have negative effects for them?

  • Digitalization and new ways of working: We are interested in studies which explore employees’ lived experiences of digitalisation. To what extent does digitalisation increase or decrease inequality in the labour market? How do employees experience working in an increasingly digital environment? How do individuals react to digital and automated HR processes such as who is selected to join a company or put forward for promotion? How do digital professionals react to conventional versus novel HR practices to match their different job values (see for example, Muratbekova-Touron & Galindo, 2018)?

  • Changing approaches to work in diverse cultural and institutional contexts: We invite the submission of papers that provide new theoretical insights and empirical contributions from unusual and under-researched organisational, industrial and cultural environments in the context of new ways of working (Chung & Tijdens, 2013). How do employees’ experiences of new ways of working vary from country to country? To what extent do modern work arrangements improve chances to participate in the labour market for employees in developing or under-developed countries? To what extent does modern technology help to improve working conditions in underdeveloped countries (e.g., Blockchain technology)?

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  • Submission Deadline: July 31, 2020
  • Deadline for revised submissions: February 28, 2021
  • Deadline for final revisions: June 30, 2021
  • Final decision about papers to be included in the special issue: July 31, 2021

Guest Editor Information

  • Kerstin Alfes: Associate Editor for the International Journal of Human Resource Management. Her research interests include employee engagement, strategic human resource management, and overqualification.
  • Argyro Avgoustaki: Associate Professor in Management at ESCP Europe London campus. Her work has been published in Industrial and Labour Relations Review and Human Resource Management.
  • T. Alexandra Beauregard: Co-editor for Work, Employment and Society. She has published on these topics in journals such as Human Resource Management, British Journal of Management, Human Resource Management Review, International Journal of Management Reviews, and the International Journal of Human Resource Management.
  • Almudena Cañibano: Associate Professor in Human Resource Management at ESCP Europe Madrid Campus. Her research has appeared in Human Relations, Management Decision and the Oxford Handbook of Participation in Organizations. 
  • Maral Muratbekova-Touron: Professor of Human Resource Management at ESCP Europe, Paris Campus. Her research has appeared in Human Resource Management, the International Journal of Human Resource Management, European Management Journal, Management International Review, and Thunderbird International Business Review among others. 

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Avgoustaki, A., & Frankort, H. T. (2019). Implications of work effort and discretion for employee well-being and career-related outcomes: An integrative assessment. ILR Review, 72(3), 636-661. doi:10.1177/0019793918804540
Cañibano, A. (2019). Workplace flexibility as a paradoxical phenomenon: Exploring employee experiences. Human Relations, 72(2), 444-470. doi:10.1177/0018726718769716
Cappelli, P., & Tavis, A. (2018). HR goes agile. Harvard Business Review, 96(2), 46-52.
Chung, H., & Tijdens, K. (2013). Working time flexibility components and working time regimes in Europe: using company-level data across 21 countries. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 24(7), 1418-1434. doi:10.1080/09585192.2012.712544
Fein, E. C., Skinner, N., & Machin, M. A. (2017). Work intensification, work–life interference, stress, and well-being in Australian workers. International Studies of Management & Organization, 47(4), 360-371. doi:10.1080/00208825.2017.1382271
Felstead, A., & Henseke, G. (2017). Assessing the growth of remote working and its consequences for effort, well‐being and work‐life balance. New Technology, Work and Employment, 32(3), 195-212. doi:10.1111/ntwe.12097
Kossek, E. E., & Lautsch, B. A. (2018). Work–life flexibility for whom? Occupational status and work–life inequality in upper, middle, and lower level jobs. Academy of Management Annals, 12(1), 5-36. doi:10.5465/annals.2016.0059
Mazmanian, M., Orlikowski, W. J., & Yates, J. (2013). The autonomy paradox: The implications of mobile email devices for knowledge professionals. Organization Science, 24(5), 1337-1357. doi:10.1287/orsc.1120.0806
McIver, D., Lengnick-Hall, M. L., & Lengnick-Hall, C. A. (2018). A strategic approach to workforce analytics: Integrating science and agility. Business Horizons, 61(3), 397-407. doi:10.1016/j.bushor.2018.01.005
Muratbekova-Touron, M., & Galindo, G. (2018). Leveraging psychological contracts as an HR strategy: The case of software developers. European Management Journal, 36(6), 717-726. doi:10.1016/j.emj.2018.01.001
Orlikowski, W. J., & Scott, S. V. (2014). What happens when evaluation goes online? Exploring apparatuses of valuation in the travel sector. Organization Science, 25(3), 868-891. doi:10.1287/orsc.2013.0877
Society for Human Resource Management. (2015). 2015 employee benefits: An overview of employee benefits offerings in the U.S.   Retrieved from www.shrm.org
Sundararajan, A. (2017). The future of work. Finance Development, June 2017, 6-11.