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The Sharing Economy: new HRM theories and practices?

Special issue call for papers from Personnel Review

The sharing economy: New HRM theories and practices?

Submission Deadline: 30th April 2019

Guest Editors:

Dr Yuliani Suseno (Centre for Work and Organisational Performance,
Edith Cowan University, Australia), and
Professor Chris Rowley (Kellogg College, University of Oxford;
Cass Business School, City University of London)

Background to the Special Issue

The contemporary sharing economy (more popularly known as ‘the gig economy’), underpinned by digital platforms and artificial intelligence, has enabled matching capital to investor and entrepreneur, consumer to provider and skills to employer. In addition to disrupting industries, the sharing economy has created both opportunities and challenges for employment (Murillo et al., 2017; Sundararajan, 2016) by enabling non-conventional forms of employment where individuals can increasingly exercise flexibility in their working arrangements, working hours and even employer choice. Indeed, the growth of the sharing economy creates changes in employment from full- or part-time employees to non-permanent staff members of contractors and temporary workers as well as the so-called ‘zero hour contacts’.

Although there is an increasing practitioner and media interest on the sharing economy (e.g., Rowley, 2017; Ryan, 2016), academic research in this area is only just emerging (Bamer et al., 2017; Benoit et al., 2017). The majority of extant studies have mainly focused on the technology and business models of the sharing economy (e.g., Muñoz and Cohen, 2017), the factors influencing consumers’ intention to partake in the sharing economy (e.g., Barnes and Mattsson, 2017; Lamberton and Rose, 2012), or the economic impact of the sharing economy (e.g., Belk, 2014). Within the Human Resource Management (HRM) field, the traditional areas of segmented and dual labour markets and the more recent flexible working (e.g., De Menezes and Kelliher, 2017) can be extended to further explore employment practices and HR outcomes in the sharing economy. Interestingly, there is an emerging research area examining the implications for employers, customers, suppliers and communities on the sharing economy and new forms of work and stakeholder access to resources. There also exist some studies on employee job flexibility and income, satisfaction and well-being (e.g., Lehdonvirta, 2018; Wheatley, 2017). However, aside from a number of studies of new HR methods of employee resourcing through new sharing practices and technologies, not much is known about how and to what extent HRM locally, and international HRM globally, are collaborating with the different groups of stakeholders. Along with the development of novel theories of work processes, employment, and rewards in the sharing economy, there is therefore a need for new theories and rigorous empirical research on HRM.

A study by PwC (2017) found that 60% of the survey respondents in China, Germany, India, the UK and the US believe that there will not be many people who will have stable, long-term employment in the near future. Thus, it is claimed that HR professionals need to embrace the sharing economy by reconstructing its own role, function and transforming HR practices. For instance, the recruitment and retention of independent contractors may have consequences on the quality of the service provided, as these contractors may not have gone through sufficient training and/or any performance management process. Similarly, compensation and benefits provided for contractors and temporary workers could perhaps be substantially different to the compensation and benefits traditionally provided by organisations. In addition, flexible employment as in the case of independent contractors and temporary workers in the sharing economy can be precarious and this can subsequently affect the health of these workers (Benach et al., 2014).

The journal Personnel Review is focused on providing articles that address contemporary challenges to HRM theory, policy and practice. This Special Issue thus seeks manuscripts that can potentially provide interesting insights for HR leaders with strong theoretical underpinnings to public discourse on the sharing economy. The main objective of this Special Issue is to advance theoretical and empirical insights of the sharing economy through new theories and HR practices to close the gap between theoretical and practical development in the topic of the sharing economy. Manuscripts, individually and collectively, need to address the overall research question on how the sharing economy brings about changes in work paradigm and HR practices.

We invite manuscripts that make considerable contributions to the existing body of knowledge that address, but not restricted, on the following:
•    How has work and its implications for HRM and International HRM been transformed as a result of the sharing economy?
•    To what extent can HR practices in the sharing economy build on previous related theories such as the dual labour market theory and the flexible firm theory?
•    How do the sharing economy stakeholders and players engage and motivate employees?
•    Do sharing economy players require distinct human resource-capability configurations?
•    In what ways are independent contractors and temporary workers in the sharing economy being recruited, selected, developed and retained?
•    What are the different ways by which HR policies and practices such as employee training and development can be implemented in the sharing economy?
•    What is the role of traditional HR policies and practices such as performance management in the sharing economy?
•    How are employee engagement, employee participation and high performance work systems implemented in the sharing economy?
•    How do ethics, values, trust and conflict resolution influence employment and the management of contractors and temporary workers in the sharing economy?
•    How do the sharing economy players use HRM policies and practices to respond to disruptive innovations brought by the sharing economy?
•    How has employment in the sharing economy impacted on employee health, safety and well-being?
•    What are the consequences of changing HR practices in the sharing economy for multiple stakeholders, including economic, social and environmental actors?

Submission Process and Deadlines

•    Submission for the special issue should be no later than 30th April 2019 via the Personnel Review ScholarOne website: Please be sure to select the correct special issue from the dropdown menu when submitting your manuscript.
•    Manuscripts should be prepared in accordance with the Personnel Review’s Author Guidelines, which can be found on:
•    Manuscripts will be reviewed by the guest editors and, if found relevant, will go through double-blind peer review process. Manuscripts will be assessed based on their relevance to the theme of the SI, theoretical contributions, originality of the study, managerial implications and/or empirical grounding of the work.
•    For informal inquires related to this Special Issue, please contact Dr Yuliani Suseno on


Bamber, G. J., Bartram, T., and Stanton, P. (2017). “HRM and workplace innovations: Formulating research questions”, Personnel Review, Vol. 46 No. 7, pp. 1216-1227.

Barnes, S. J., and Mattsson, J. (2017). “Understanding collaborative consumption: Test of a theoretical model”, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Vol. 118, pp. 281-292.

Benach, J., Vives, A., Amable, M., Vanroelen, C., Tarafa, G., and Muntaner, C. (2014). “Precarious employment: Understanding an emerging social determinant of health”, Annual Review of Public Health, Vol. 35, pp. 229–253.

Belk, R. (2014). “You are what you can access: Sharing and collaborative consumption online”, Journal of Business Research, Vol. 67 No. 8, pp. 1595-1600.

Benoit, S., Baker, T. L., Bolton, R. N., Gruber, T., and Kandampully, J. (2017). “A triadic framework for collaborative consumption (CC): Motives, activities and resources & capabilities of actors”, Journal of Business Research, Vol. 79, pp. 219-227.

De Menezes, L. M., and Kelliher, C. (2017). “Flexible working, individual performance, and employee attitudes: Comparing formal and informal arrangements”, Human Resource Management, Vol. 56 No. 6, pp. 1051-1070.

Lamberton, C. P., and Rose, R. L. (2012). “When is ours better than mine? A framework for understanding and altering participation in commercial sharing systems”, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 76 No. 4, pp. 109–125.

Lehdonvirta, V. (2018). “Flexibility in the gig economy: Managing time on three online piece platforms”, New Technology, Work and Employment, available at:

Muñoz, P. and Cohen, B. (2017). “Mapping out the sharing economy: A configurational approach to sharing business modelling”, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Vol. 125, pp. 21-37.

Murillo, D., Buckland, H., and Val, E. (2017). “When the sharing economy becomes neoliberalism on steroids: Unravelling the controversies”, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Vol. 125, pp. 66-76.

PwC. (2017). “Workforce of the future The competing forces shaping 2030”, available at:

Rowley, C. (2017). “The world has its say on the Taylor Review into modern working practices, M. Eltringhan”, Workplace Insight, available at:

Ryan, P. (2016). “Sharing economy will have dramatic effect on workplace conditions, says law firm”, ABC News, 4th August, available at:

Sundararajan, A., 2016. The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

Wheatley, D. (2017). “Employee satisfaction and use of flexible working arrangements”, Work, Employment and Society, Vol. 31 No. 4, pp. 567-585.