Thomas Lange & Fabian Homberg

Evidence-based Human Resource Management (EBHRM) currently celebrates its eighth year of existence. Since its inception in 2013, a great deal of progress has been made, in a variety of arenas. 
Submission numbers have risen tremendously over the years, and we thank all contributors for their growing interest. Naturally, we are delighted that our journal has been so warmly welcomed by the scholarly community as a quality outlet for empirical research in the broad field of Human Resource Management and Organizational Behaviour. As a result of this gratifying vote of confidence and commencing in 2021, we will publish four EBHRM issues per annum.

As Editors, we also see this promising trajectory as a reflection of the diversity of research that we actively encourage. We have received submissions spanning the wide range of HRM activities but also welcomed in-depth analyses of gender issues, stress management, workplace happiness and leadership studies. As we shared with our readers already in our 2013 inaugural issue, we are mindful of commentators who see the multidisciplinary nature of HR research as problematic, with fears that the field becomes fragmented and without a common identity. However, our approach remains unaltered. Specifically, “EBHRM […] welcomes the richness of contributions from multiple disciplines. In essence, we argue for a more composite body of HR scholarship where different disciplinary angles are used in a mutually supportive manner” (Lange, 2013, p. 10). We will certainly endeavour to nurture this diversity further in the coming years. For example, a forthcoming special issue will be focused on the use of agent-based models for HRM and Organizational Behaviour – a powerful technique but not one that is used very heavily in our field. 
We are also happy to attract a substantive number of submissions from many geographical areas of the world, adhering to our ambition to be a truly “global forum” for empirical research in the field of HRM and adjacent subject areas. It is certainly pleasing that the journal continues to attract submissions from every continent of the globe. These exciting developments have enabled us to enter in several national journal quality schemes and rankings. We realize that this multi-national recognition is a valuable aspect for many contributors whose career developments are often subject to such quality evaluations. Currently, EBHRM is recognized in the Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS, UK) Academic Journal Guide, ANVUR (Italy), NDS (Norway), as well as the Australian Business Deans Council (ABDC) Quality Journal List. Similarly, we are very pleased with the significant upward trend in our Scopus citation impact metrics, which have grown from 0.5 to 2.2 during just a handful of years. We see this significant uplift as a tribute to our author and their fine works.

To celebrate these remarkable achievements, together with our wonderful publishing team at Emerald, we have decided to publish our first virtual issue with the dual aim to showcase the variety of work presented in EBHRM and to further advance the academic debate on these issues. 

The first paper in our virtual issue, by Mohrenweiser et al. (2016), presents an introduction to a linked-personnel panel, a dataset collected by the authors which is particularly suitable for the study of HRM practices and employee attitudes. The second paper by Moretti et al. (2019) puts the focus on the key HRM activity of training. It combines personnel economics approaches with traditional comparative HRM perspectives, offering an analysis of costs and benefits of training among Swiss and Austrian firms. The third contribution by Renn, Steinbauer and Huning (2019) addresses the important role of external mentors for career development. The authors collect data at two time points and generate insights on what drives mentors to participate in these schemes. Insights are valuable for both, firms and higher education institutions strongly involved in setting up mentoring programs. Fourth, Prince et al. (2018) address a timeless topic in the field of HRM: incentive pay configurations. Addressing the debate of HRM practice bundles using comparative international datasets advances the knowledge of the discipline and helps practitioner to align incentive bundles with the cultural environments in which they are operating. The fifth contribution by Kang, Xiu, and Roline (2015) presents an experiment analyzing the roles gender and personality play in salary negotiations. It contributes to ongoing discussions of gender bias and gender pay gaps which are ongoing in several countries and stimulates the discussion on the design of unbiased selection processes. Finally, Yalabik, Rayton and Rapti (2007) study the relationship between job satisfaction and engagement using a cross-lagged dataset. The study offers nuanced and robust insights on the domains of job satisfaction and their impact on engagement. As firms regularly struggle with keeping up high levels of employee engagement, this work fuels the debate on both the academic and practitioner sides.

Overall, therefore, the selected papers in this virtual issue cover a multitude of HR strategies, processes and procedures, including training and selection, the design of incentives, employee morale and motivation, job satisfaction, work engagement and mentoring. To this end, we hope that the special issue will be of interest to both, academics and practitioners working in the field of HRM and organizational development. 
The publication of our first virtual issue marks another milestone in the development of EBHRM. During these testing times characterized by a worldwide pandemic and severe restrictions that affect personal lives, and research productivity, we hope that we can make at least a small contribution by disseminating these fine research studies and making them freely accessible. 

Last, but by no means least: we express our gratitude, especially during these difficult days, to our dedicated peer reviewers and our authors for choosing to publish their high-quality works with EBHRM. Your continuing service remains the ultimate and essential contribution to our journal. 

Lange, T. (2013), “Evidence-based HRM: a scholarship perspective with a difference”, Evidence-based HRM: a Global Forum for Empirical Scholarship, Vol. 1, No.1, pp. 4-15.

The papers combined in the virtual special issue should be cited as follows:
Mohrenweiser, J.,  Kampkötter, P., Sliwka,D., Steffes,S. & Wolter, S. (2016), "Measuring the use of human resources practices and employee attitudes: The linked personnel panel", Evidence-based HRM: a Global Forum for Empirical Scholarship, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 94-115.

Moretti, L., Mayerl, M., Muehlemann, S., Schlögl, P. and Wolter, S. (2019), "So similar and yet so different: A firm’s net costs and post-training benefits from apprenticeship training in Austria and Switzerland", Evidence-based HRM, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 229-246. 

Renn, R., Steinbauer, R. and Huning, T. (2019), "External career mentoring and mentor turnover intentions: Role of mentor work engagement, satisfaction with protégé, and meeting frequency", Evidence-based HRM, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 342-356.

Prince, N. R., Prince, J. B., & Kabst, R. (2018, August). Incentive pay configurations: the influence of national culture.Evidence-Based HRM: A Global Forum for Empirical Scholarship, Vol 6, No. 2. 187-202.

Kang, G., Xiu, L. and Roline, A. (2015), "How do interviewers respond to applicants’ initiation of salary negotiation? An exploratory study on the role of gender and personality", Evidence-based HRM, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 145-158. 

Yalabik, Z., Rayton, B., Rapti, A. (2017), "Facets of job satisfaction and work engagement", Evidence-based HRM: a Global Forum for Empirical Scholarship, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 248-265.