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Manuscript deadline
31 May 2021

Cover image - The International Journal of Human Resource Management

The International Journal of Human Resource Management

Special Issue Editor(s)

Alexander Newman, Deakin University
[email protected]

Justine Ferrer, Deakin University
[email protected]

Maike Andresen, University of Bamberg
[email protected]

Yucheng Zhang, Hebei University of Technology
[email protected]

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Human Resource Management in Times of Crisis

A crisis refers to an unexpected event that poses a significant threat to economies, business organizations and individuals (Quarantelli, 1988). Over the last two decades we have witnessed several major crises that have affected the global economy, such as the Asian Financial Crisis, terrorist attacks such as 9-11, and the Global Financial Crisis. Most recently, the COVID-19 crisis has had a catastrophic impact on organizations across the world as governments close borders and lockdown whole sectors of the economy. In most economies business organizations have had to decide whether or not to lay-off or stand-down staff, whether or not to reduce staff benefits, and determine how these things should be done within short time frames. Businesses have also had to develop strategies to support employees’ performance, engagement, creativity, and wellbeing, whilst working remotely, and support employees to manage their carer responsibilities and other impeding personal factors.
In view of the significant consequences that crises have for human resource management, researchers have begun to look at the HR practices adopted by organizations in times of crisis (Chu and Siu, 2001; Gunnigle et al., 2013; Kim et al., 2013; Sparrow et al., 2013; Teague and Roche, 2014; Zagelmeyer et al., 2012). However, we have witnessed limited research on how such HR practices are implemented by managers and impact on employees (Farndale et al., 2019; Lee et al., 2003; Zagelmeyer and Gollan, 2012). We therefore call on researchers to investigate how employees respond to human resource management practices adopted by business organizations in times of crisis and how human resource practitioners support and manage employees in times of crisis, with a focus on but not limited to, innovative technology-based human resource solutions (e.g. online training interventions and virtual performance management). In doing so researchers may look at the following research questions amongst others:
1. What HR strategies might business organizations and human resource managers adopt in the short and long-term to deal with crises? Which strategies are most effective?
2. How should organizations manage employees’ performance effectively in times of crisis? What role does psychological contract management play in this regard?
3. What HR practices might organizations adopt to support employees engagement, wellbeing and creativity at work during times of crisis?
4. How do employees respond to performance management, training and development and compensation practices in times of crisis?
5. What HR practices and policies are effective in supporting employees to work virtually and maintain work-life balance?
6. Which HR practices positively influence firm performance and innovation in times of crisis?
7. How can human resource managers support employees in dying organizations?
8. How does government policy influence the human resource strategies and practices adopted by organizations in times of crisis? Which policies are most effective in supporting organizations to maintain employment and performance levels in the medium to long-term?
9. How do HR practices help employees cope with acute and chronic stressors at work in times of crisis?
10. In times of crisis, how should business organizations effectively implement telecommuting work practices to support employee performance?
11. What HR practices might organizations implement HRM polices to retain and attract talented employees in times of crisis?

The proposed special issue will foster research with both theoretical contributions and practical implications. Theoretically, at the employee-level we would expect research published in the special issue to examine the specific processes by which human resource practices influence employee performance, engagement, creativity and wellbeing during times of crisis. In addition, at the firm-level we would also expect research to examine the link between the adoption of specific HR practices and firm outcomes such as performance and innovation in times of crisis both locally and internationally. Finally, at the macro-level it will allow us to show how government policies and socio-cultural factors influence the adoption of different strategies by organizations. At the global level, an important research objective is to analyze how crises that affect several countries with a time lag can lead to a cross-country, inter-organisational learning process in which new HR practices of organisations in one country are adopted or modified by organisations in other countries, and to what extent this results in benefits. In examining these issues we call on researchers to draw on theoretical perspectives from macro, meso and micro research as diverse as institutional theory (North, 1990) and socio-cultural theories to examine differences in how governments and business organizations across the world deal with crises; sensemaking theory (Weick, 1995) to examine how HR practitioners make sense of and respond to crises; and social exchange theory (Blau, 1964) and psychological contract theory (Rousseau, 1995) to examine how employees respond to the HR practices adopted by organizations in times of crisis.
In terms of practical implications, the proposed special issue will assist HR managers to determine what to do in times of crisis to minimize the negative impact of the crisis on employees’ performance, engagement, creativity and wellbeing, while at the same time use the positive catalyst effects that crises can trigger. In particular, the special issue will assist practitioners to develop appropriate strategies to manage a downturn in revenue through the adoption of appropriate staffing strategies and support employees to work remotely when business premises are closed. It will also inform governments on the employment policies that might be adopted to support business organizations to manage their employees in times of crisis.

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Submission Instructions

Provisional Timeline and Review Process
Full Manuscript Submission Deadline: May 31st 2021
Initial Decision Deadline: August 31st 2021
Revised Manuscript Submission Deadline (1st Round): December 31st 2021
1st Round Decision Deadline: February 28th 2022
Revised Manuscript Submission Deadline (2nd Round): June 31st 2022
2nd Round Decision Deadline: August 31st 2022

Papers must be original and comply with IJHRM submission guidelines. In the online system please ensure you submit your paper for consideration for the special issue ‘Human Resource Management in Times of Crisis’. Questions and informal enquiries should be directed to: [email protected] or any of the other editors.

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