Exploring the Dark Side of Electronic Human Resource Management

Call for papers for: International Journal of Manpower

Special issue on “Exploring the Dark Side of Electronic-Human Resource Management”

Guest Editors

Dr Abhishek Behl, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India. ([email protected])
Dr Vijay Pereira, Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates                                                                            ([email protected])
Prof Arup Varma, Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University Chicago, USA. ([email protected])
Prof Shlomo Tarba, Business School, University of Birmingham, UK. ([email protected])

As has been with other management fields, Human Resource Management (HRM) practices too have undergone a profound digital disruption especially in the context of large firms. The transition of HRM to e-HRM has not only helped several firms gain competitive advantage but also gain more insights about their employees and also for applicants applying for jobs (Marler and Boudreau, 2017). The introduction of analytics in HRM has offered unique insights about employees, which has helped firms find answers to important and pertinent  questions such as: a) What is the percent and pockets of employee turnover annually? b) What intangible skills does an employee gain in his tenure of work with an organization? c) What do employees gain and transfer in terms of ‘knowledge’ in team-work and within team members, over time?- as examples. Overall, over time, the implementation of HR analytics, by organisations, has increased by leaps and bounds, driven mainly to enhance work flow and business operations. Firms have further invested in developing learning and training modules and started to build advanced recruitment models, which are easily accessible to both, managers as well as recruiters (Sapegina and Weibel, 2017). Additionally, A new wave of analytical investment has also been in the sector of automation in HRM which are extensively using chatbots, augumented and virtual reality, automatic processes for hiring, retaining and firing employees which has helped firms to keep their employees engaged and moreover on their toes (Baesens et al., 2017).
While the above discussion portrays the positive aspects of the use of technology for HR, there is also a significant contribution within the literature on the  ‘dark side’ that analytics and automation have brought to the management of human resources. Studies are thus increasingly focusing on capturing the employee experience including ‘IT use induced stress’ or “technostress” for a number of reasons like handy and disposable real-time information; remote work and flextime with their style and instrument of working and workstations; and dynamic and shorter technology cycles and rapid changing learning environment force them to constantly learn and unlearn interfaces (see for example Bondarouk and Brewster, 2016; Baruch and Vardi, 2016). At the institutional level there are three categories of pressures to invest in new technologies frequently which also involves investment in up skilling the employee workforce(Spagnoli et al., 2019). These are categorised as mimetic, coercive and normative (Boddy and Taplin, 2016). Recent studies have also discussed issues when it comes to understanding cross technical functional roles and learning, by HR managers, most of whom do not have formal training and exposure to information technology enabled tools, systems, knowledge, skills or abilities (Holland and Bardoel, 2016; Mariappanadar and Aust, 2017). Another aspect of the dark side of IT is the threat of employees misusing organizational IT resources and triggering “attacks” of different kinds.  Unsanctioned and naive user behaviors make up the vast majority of IT misuses. The flip or dark side of use of advanced analytics in HRM has therefore not only impacted employees, but also the customers of companies (Son et al., 2018; Southey, 2016). Issues have also been reported wherein internal customer database management systems were exposed to threats by inappropriate handling of employees, which led to defaming the brand and losing reputation in the market (Van den Heuvel and Bondarouk, 2017). There are also reports that HR professionals unethically and at times illegally, scanning for and using such information from social media about existing and potential employees to undermine and harm their careers (see for example, Davison et al., 2015; Gibbs et al., 2011).

The special issue thus aims at attracting manuscripts from scholars working in the interface of HRM, Information Systems, Business Analytics, Ethics and related disciplines. While most of the firms are busy adopting and adapting to the changing business dynamics for inclusion of complex applications of IT and Analytics, this SI would draw significant attention to understand how the dark side of the promising tech driven functions in a company work is effected or exploited. This SI is therefore expected to explore, analyse, reflect and research the dark side of e-HRM within the discourse for the greater good of all stakeholders, especially employees, HR managers and technology developers.

The papers published in this issue are likely to help students, researchers and HR policy makers to revisit the theoretical and practical viewpoints as it will attracts conceptual, theoretical, empirical, and case study based manuscripts. This calls for addressing some key research questions such as the following identified thematic areas (these are not exhaustive):
1. How can firms, when working on different scales of business, on the one hand identify and on the other then take necessary and appropriate actions to tackle these, when it comes to  the dark side of e-HRM?
2. What and how can firms do to be ready for adopting, adapting and shifting from one IT system to another in the context of their HR functions, by avoiding and reducing he dark side?
3. How can firms enable ethical IT practices in learning, development and deployment of new techno-functional roles?
4. How can firms assess and operationalize the dark side of evolution of IT and analytics in existing and new HRM practices?
5. How can interdisciplinary theories and data explain the dark side of e-HRM practices and how can new cases help in extending theoretical boundaries?
The special issue in practical terms thus aims to understand the human-machine/computer interaction from both telescopic and microscopic lenses to offer strategic, technical and functional insights to firms for improving their efficiency and HR practices.

Topics of interest may thus include, but are not limited to:
1.    Dark Side of HR and People Analytics
2.    Invasion of Employee Privacy
3.    Ethical adoption of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in HR practices
4.    Digital and Ethical Readiness of HR managers and processes
5.    Role of IT and cyber security in HRM practices
6.    Sensitizing employees for use and misuse of IT in HRM
7.    Data Protection and its regulation for hiring practices
8.    Confidentiality concerns with the use of electronic HR databases
9.    Employee Trust in HR and People Analytics
10.    Risks involved in adopting disruptive technologies in HRM

In conclusion, we also invite business researchers from different domains and specializations to submit their study in a chosen area or an interdisciplinary area linking their potential work to the theme of the special issue.


Baesens, B., De Winne, S., & Sels, L. (2017). Is your company ready for HR analytics?. MIT Sloan Management Review, 58(2), 20.
Boddy, C. and Taplin, R. (2016), "The influence of corporate psychopaths on job satisfaction and its determinants", International Journal of Manpower, 37(6), 965-988.
Bondarouk, T., & Brewster, C. (2016). Conceptualising the future of HRM and technology research. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 27(21), 2652-2671.
Baruch, Y., & Vardi, Y. (2016). A fresh look at the dark side of contemporary careers: Toward a realistic discourse. British Journal of Management, 27(2), 355-372.
Davison, H. K., Maraist, C., & Bing, M. N. (2011). Friend or foe? The promise and pitfalls of using social networking sites for HR decisions. Journal of Business and Psychology, 26(2), 153-159.
Gibbs, C., MacDonald, F., & MacKay, K. (2015). Social media usage in hotel human resources: recruitment, hiring and communication. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management.
 Peter Holland & Anne Bardoel (2016) The impact of technology on work in the twenty-first century: exploring the smart and dark side, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 27:21, 2579-2581
Mariappanadar, S., & Aust, I. (2017). The dark side of overwork: An empirical evidence of social harm of work from a sustainable HRM perspective. International Studies of Management & Organization, 47(4), 372-387.
Marler, J. H., & Boudreau, J. W. (2017). An evidence-based review of HR Analytics. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 28(1), 3-26.
Sapegina, A., & Weibel, A. (2017). The good, the not so bad, and the ugly of competitive human resource practices: a multidisciplinary conceptual framework. Group & organization management, 42(5), 707-747.
Son, J., Park, O., Bae, J., & Ok, C. (2018). Double-edged effect of talent management on organizational performance: the moderating role of HRM investments. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 1-29.
Southey, K. (2016), "To fight, sabotage or steal: are all forms of employee misbehaviour created equal?", International Journal of Manpower, 37(6), 1067-1084.
Spagnoli, P., Lo Presti, A. and Buono, C. (2019), "The “dark side” of organisational career growth: Gender differences in work–family conflict among Italian employed parents", International Journal of Manpower. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1108/IJM-05-2018-0145
Van den Heuvel, S., & Bondarouk, T. (2017). The rise (and fall?) of HR analytics. Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance.



•    Submission Due Date: March 31st, 2021
•    First Round Reviews: March 15th, 2021
•    First Revision due: May 15th, 2021
•    Second Revisions due: June 30th, 2021
•    Final Editorial Decision: July 30th, 2021
•    Expected Publication: second half of 2021

Submission procedures

Submissions to the special issue should be sent electronically through the “International Journal of Manpower”  ScholarOne System http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ijm. The manuscripts must be prepared in accordance with the guidelines for authors given in the website of the journal “International Journal of Manpower”
Authors need to clearly indicate in their submission information and letter that their manuscript is for the Special Issue on “Exploring the Dark Side of Electronic-Human Resource Management” All submissions will be subject to a double-blind review process followed by “International Journal of Manpower” Journal. All manuscripts must be original, unpublished works that are not concurrently under review for publication elsewhere. Questions about this special issue may be directed to the guest editors.
Interested authors are welcome to discuss their research ideas in the form of an extended abstract by contacting the guest editors. The abstract should be written keeping in mind the style of Emerald. The idea of proposing an abstract is share preliminary feedback to the interested authors.
For any questions, interested authors can contact the corresponding guest editor:
Abhishek Behl; [email protected]