Covid-19: The Role of Human Resources Management in Time of Uncertainty

Call for papers for: The Bottom Line

Please note: Submissions for this special issue will open on 30th July 2021

Guest Editors

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mumtaz Ali Memon, National University of Sciences & Technology, Pakistan ([email protected])
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hiram Ting, UCSI University, Malaysia, and Ming Chuan University, Taiwan ([email protected])
Prof. Dr. Christian M. Ringle, Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), Germany, and University of Waikato, New Zealand ([email protected])
Dr. Nuttawuth Muenjohn, RMIT University Melbourne, Australia ([email protected])


The coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread rapidly throughout the world and the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 as a pandemic (WHO, 2021). The effects of COVID-19 can be seen worldwide due to its profound impact not only on health but also societal well-being and economic activities. It has an unprecedented effect on every individual and organization. As social distancing, travel bans or restrictions and lockdowns have become essential measures to curb the exponential spread of COVID-19, it prevents organizations from working as they normally do. Organizations have begun implementing alternative strategies that include working from home to flatten the curve of coronavirus. As much as it affects business operations, managers have no other options as "contamination on surfaces touched by employees and customers is one of the main ways that COVID-19 spreads” (WHO, 2020, p. 1). 

Employees are inevitably one of the main victims of this pandemic. Fear and anxiety can be overwhelming when government measures, such as social distancing and self-isolation, are imposed with no solution to the outbreak and their impediment. Its subsequent effect, including organizations which are reported to go bankrupt if the situation continues, can be mentally distressing. As a result, it becomes a challenge for employers to make sure their employees are keeping on top of their mental health and well-being while working from home continually. In particular, HR managers are required to reconsider and formulate human resource management (HRM) strategies to preserve the welfare of the employees and thus optimize their effectiveness in the midst of pandemic and uncertainty. Although contingency plans and initiatives are ironed out by most organizations and the governments to ensure the employees’ welfare is taken care of, such sudden change and in many cases, the delay in action towards the crisis can have a negative effect on employees’ mental health and well-being. Despite its magnitude of all these uncertainties, little is known to date about how human resources can be effectively managed and what can be effectively done during such a global crisis.

The aim of this special issue is to provide a comprehensive view of HRM practices to elicit employee’s mental health and well-being, motivate them to perform and alleviate them in times of uncertainties, such as from the impact of COVID-19. It also focuses on HRM interventions that may have a positive or negative impact on the employee's mental health and well-being. In particular, we are interested in studies that demonstrate various HR strategies and functions that have been designed and/or implemented in uncertain times as well as when the outbreak began. In this way, we would be able to broaden our understanding of how certain HRM practices can have a positive or negative effect on employee's mental health and well-being problems in times of crisis. 
COVID-19 creates unique circumstances that have never happened before. As a result, organizations are not prepared to deal with the effects of the pandemic. This special issue is intended to provide organizations with the necessary strategies and best practices in relation to employees to deal with uncertain situations such as COVID-19 in the future.

This special issue welcomes empirical papers using a quantitative, qualitative or mixed-methods approaches which contribute to knowledge and practice. Topics of interest may include, but are not limited to:

  • Innovative HRM practices and their impact on employee’s mental health and well-being in uncertain times, such as during COVID-19.
  • Proactive and reactive initiatives of organizations in HRM practices towards movement control order, travel ban, social distancing, working from home and other government measures. 
  • Context specific (e.g. gender and types of organizations) HRM practices and employee’s mental health and well-being in uncertain times, such as during COVID-19.
  • Employee behaviours and the effectiveness of HRM practices on employee’s mental health and well-being in uncertain times, such as during COVID-19.
  • Role of leadership in implementation of HRM practices in uncertain times, such as during COVID-19.
  • Theories and models that explain linkages between HRM practices and outcomes (mental health and well-being) in uncertain times, such as during COVID-19.
  • Cross-border studies or interorganizational comparison to identify, determine and/or propose effective HRM practices in uncertain times, such as during COVID-19.
  • HRM specific data collection strategies in uncertain times, such as during COVID-19.
  • Measurement issues and procedures related to HRM in times of uncertainties which will advance the methodology for the benefit of the researchers and practitioners.

Submission Information

Please prepare the manuscript according to the journal’s author guidelines. The review process will follow the journal’s double-blind practice.

Prospective authors should submit an electronic copy of their complete manuscript via ScholarOne. For any queries, please contact the Guest Editors.

Submissions open: 30th July 2021
Submission deadline: 31st January 2022