Better than Us? Workers, Robots, and the HMR of the Future


Objectives of the Special Issue

“Better than Us” ( is a Russian science fiction television series in which, in a near future, the potential troublesome and somehow surprising relationships between humans and robots are described. This series points out interesting dilemmas, which in few years will be crucial issues for policymakers, scholars, and practitioners: how will have to be managed the relationships and co-existence between Human Resources (HR) and robots within companies in ethical and profitable ways? How do workers will perceive robots?

The aim of the call for papers is to collect from a variety of disciplines novel research proposing theories, concepts, and/or empirical evidence about HRM at the age of robots. The goal of this special issue is to exploit what we know and to explore what we do not know yet. Research questions are suggested but not limited as follow:

  • What are the types of co-existence workers and robots will experience? How can we conceptualize and define this relationship properly?

  • How to plan the introduction of robots in order to minimize conflicts and accelerate the acceptance by workers?

  • How can extant theories/models/perspectives in organizational theory be revised to account for deeper understanding of the relationships and future co-existence between robots and HR?

  • How can HR managers exploit robots for empowering their workers?

  • How will the robots revolution impact on organizational change?

  • What are the ethical and social implications of the increasing use of robots on HRM in the third-millennium corporation?



Theoretical contributions - added value - and practical importance of the Special Issue

That the advent of robots and of the digitalized processes are influencing on many busines sectors is a matter of fact. It enough to read at the flood of research paper and specialized trade press, and one can instantly comprehend the greatness of such the fourth industrial revolution (or Industry 4.0). What is not evident nevertheless, is how it is impacting on HR practices of the modern organizations. In this vein, Internet of Things (IoT) is producing a pervasive effect in our daily life experience and HR managerial strategies of digital organizations (Sestino et al., 2020). In recent years, IoT technologies have multiplied and developed, as well as the numerous functional areas have profoundly evolved through HR model and processes redesign (Aaldering and Song, 2020; Grover et al., 2020; Metallo et al., 2018). Therefore, the role of these new IoT technologies can support effectively the organizational change driven by the robots’ revolution even if the practical application is not easy and it requires a cultural change inside the organization.

The application of artificial intelligence (AI)-based solutions has profoundly changed the process of value co-creation of modern organizations involving all HRM sub-areas: people resourcing, learning and development, career, employee relations, performance, and awards, as well as a flexible work system. For instance, Leone et al. (2020) have explored customers’ knowledge, workers’ knowledge and external knowledge in healthcare ecosystem with the final aim to understand if AI improve patient journey using different value-co-creation mechanism. Lui et al. (2020) examined how AI coaches can improve workers’ skills by offering them training and feedback, while Simões et al. (2020) analyzed factors impacting on managers' intentions to adopt collaborative robots (cobots) in manufacturing organizations. Moreover, service organizations are considering the possibility to adopt service robots in a future workforce, indeed, Choi et al., (2020) explored the human–robot interaction from the points of view of hoteliers and guests. These recent studies call for scholarly and practitioner attention to exploring the synergistic effects of human and robot on creating business value.

Since COVID-19 hits, changing working pattern and environment has become one of the biggest challenges for employees and employers. As many workers struggle to manage work dynamic and uncertainty during COVID-19 pandemic, organizations have searched for new technologies (e.g., AI-powered remote working applications and workforce analytics) to avoid a decline in productivity and prevent burnout and prepare the workforce for the COVID-19 challenges. However, current HR literature has not well explored the impact and role of technology implementation and its ways to overcome challenges in the new normal induced by COVID-19.


International coverage and fit with JOCM

In order to bring together academics from a variety of disciplines and from all around the world, the editors will set up a ‘community’ (via LinkedIn) to:

  • Keep participants updated on the special issue;

  • Provide authors a support from colleagues in the development of their manuscripts;

  • Sharing ideas, information, and research outputs through webinars and discussion groups;

  • Facilitate the collaboration of colleagues across different disciplines;

  • Ensure the sustainability of the research network beyond the publication.

Please note:

  • You do not need to be a member of the network in order to make a submission.

  • You do not need to make a submission in order to be a member of the network.

  • You can join or leave the network at any time.

  • By agreeing to join the network, you agree to receive emails from the group. You can opt out at any time.

To join the LinkedIn Group you need to send an e-mail to the managing guest editor, [email protected].

The present call fits with JOCM because it fosters an emerging topic within HRM, as showed by various articles of the journal recently published and cited in the suggested references.


Submission Instructions

The deadline for submissions is 30 November 2022. In line with JOCM guidelines, submissions should be 7000-8000 words. Qualitative, quantitative, mixed and alternative methodology submissions are welcome.

Protocols will be maintained to ensure the integrity of the special issue’s review process. Any general/informal questions about the special issue and/or network can be directed to any of the guest editors.



November 2021: Call for papers issued

30 November 2022: Deadline for submissions and submissions sent to reviewers

31 March 2023: Papers shortlisted and feedback sent to submitting authors

31 July 2023: Deadline for revisions of short-listed submissions

30 November 2023: Deadline for final drafts of submissions

February 2024: Publication of special issue




Bondarouk, T., & Brewster, C. (2016). Conceptualising the future of HRM and technology research. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 27(21), 2652-2671.

Bhargava, A., Bester, M., & Bolton, L. (2021). Employees’ perceptions of the implementation of robotics, artificial intelligence, and automation (RAIA) on job satisfaction, job security, and employability. Journal of Technology in Behavioral Science, 6(1), 106-113.

Cooke, F. L., Dickmann, M., & Parry, E. (2020). IJHRM after 30 years: taking stock in times of COVID-19 and looking towards the future of HR research. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 1-23.

Choi, Y., Choi, M., Oh, M., & Kim, S. (2020). Service robots in hotels: understanding the service quality perceptions of human-robot interaction. Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management, 29(6), 613-635.

Del Giudice, M., Scuotto, V., Ballestra, L. V., & Pironti, M. (2021). Humanoid robot adoption and labour productivity: a perspective on ambidextrous product innovation routines. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 1-27.

Gravili G., C. Viola, A. Avram, M. Benvenuto (2018). A framework to evaluate the influence of Digital Divide on Big Data generation and its impact on supply chain management. The International Journal of Logistics Management, vol. 29 Issue 2, p. 592-628, ISSN: 0957-4093, doi: 10.1108/IJLM-06-2017-0175.

Kshetri, N. (2021). Evolving uses of artificial intelligence in human resource management in emerging economies in the global South: some preliminary evidence. Management Research Review.

Leone, D., Schiavone, F., Appio, F. P., & Chiao, B. (2020). How does artificial intelligence enable and enhance value co-creation in industrial markets? An exploratory case study in the healthcare ecosystem. Journal of Business Research.

Jaiswal, A., Arun, C. J., & Varma, A. (2021). Rebooting employees: upskilling for artificial intelligence in multinational corporations. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 1-30.

Luo, X., Qin, M. S., Fang, Z., & Qu, Z. (2020). Artificial Intelligence Coaches for Sales Agents: Caveats and Solutions. Journal of Marketing,

Metallo, C., Agrifoglio, R., Schiavone, F., & Mueller, J. (2018). Understanding business model in the Internet of Things industry. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 136, 298-306.

Parry, E., & Battista, V. (2019). The impact of emerging technologies on work: a review of the evidence and implications for the human resource function. Emerald Open Research, 1(5), 5.

Simões, A. C., Soares, A. L., & Barros, A. C. (2020). Factors influencing the intention of managers to adopt collaborative robots (cobots) in manufacturing organizations. Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, 57, 101574.

Vrontis, D., Christofi, M., Pereira, V., Tarba, S., Makrides, A., & Trichina, E. (2021). Artificial intelligence, robotics, advanced technologies and human resource management: a systematic review. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 1-30.



Guest Editors’ bios


Francesco Schiavone (Managing Guest Editor) is Associate Professor in management at Parthenope University of Naples, Italy since 2016. He received the Ph.D. degree in network economics and knowledge management from the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (Italy) in 2006. He is the director of VIMASS, the research laboratory in healthcare innovation and management established at University Parthenope. He is also an Affiliated Professor at Emlyon Business School (France). In April 2017 Prof. Schiavone has been habilitated as Full Professor in management by MIUR (Italian Ministry of Education and Research). Currently, his main research areas are technology management, strategic innovation, and healthcare management and innovation.


Yichuan Wang is an Associate Professor of Digital Marketing at the Sheffield University Management School, University of Sheffield, UK. He spent a period as Visiting Professor at Université Lumière Lyon 2, France and Beijing Institute of Technology, China. His research focuses on examining the impact of digital technologies and information systems (e.g., big data analytics, AI, and social media) in influencing business practices. He is the author or co-author of over 70 publications, including more than 45 refereed journal articles published in prestigious journals. He is the guest-editor of several special issues at Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Business Research, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, and Information Systems Frontiers.


Ginevra Gravili, PhD in Management and Organization, is Associate Professor in Management and Organization at University of Bari (Italy), currently qualified to the position of Full Professor (Italian Ministry of University and Research). She is professor of Organization and HRM at University of Bari “Aldo Moro”, DEMDI, Italy. She was researcher in University of Salento, Lecce, Italy, from 2002 to 2020. Her researches are focused on Big Data, sme’s, knowledge sharing, social recruitment, HRM of public administration, ICT, social media communication, supply chain management and sustainability in HRM. These research activities have been documented in articles and books published with national and international editors. She is a member of the Cranet Network of HRM. Across 2017 and 2018 she has been visiting researcher at the East European Center for Research in Economics and Business of Timisora and in 2018 she has been visiting researcher at the Toulouse Business School – TBS – Toulouse.


Patricia Baudier is Professor of Marketing. She joined EM Normandie in 2018. She has a PhD in management science from the Institut Mines-Télécom Business School and the Université d’Evry-Val d'Essonne (Université Paris-Saclay) awarded in 2013. Her thesis is on managing claims on Twitter: Impact on satisfaction of the client’s perception of the Community Manager. Her research interests are new technology, consumer behaviour and digital marketing. Patricia spent 28 years working in sales and marketing roles in American multinational companies (Apple France and Kodak Europe/Africa/Middle East). She is also Head of the "International Business Networks" research area.