The Changing Role of Human Resource Management through Crisis: From Response to Recovery

Call for papers for: Personnel Review

Guest Editors:

Dr Eileen Aitken-Fox, Curtin University
Dr Jane Coffey, Curtin University
Associate Professor Kantha Dayaram, Curtin University
Dr Scott Fitzgerald, Curtin University
Associate Professor Steve McKenna, Curtin University
Associate Professor Amy Tian, Curtin University


The breadth and scale of changes required by organizations when a global crisis strikes, such as COVID-19, are enormous.  However, even though there has been some considerable study of aspects of HRM through crisis and recovery, this research is dispersed (Farndale, et al., 2019; Hutchins and Wang, 2008; Kim, 2020; Liou and Lin, 2008; Premeaux and Breaux, 2007; Varma, 2020; Wang. Et al., 2009; Wooten, 2008).  Given that crisis events and situations appear to be increasing, it seems timely to develop our understanding of various aspects of the role of human resource management in crisis and recovery in a more focused manner.
    Depending on the nature of any given crisis, organizations will need to move quickly to adjust and adapt in order to maintain continuity. In addition, they will need to think strategically about the implications of crisis for the process of recovery in the context of a changed environment.  Human resource management will be a critical element in organizational continuity and recovery.  There are likely to be changes to work and working practices, as well as changes to other elements of the human resource management system.  This may require HR to develop and implement creative and agile practices and strategies to support employees and the organization and to prepare them for the process of recovery.  Such changes may include the enhanced use of technology and technologically based solutions to work, more flexible working practices, new approaches to performance management and, changes to the overall employee experience.
    The aim of this special issue is to develop a better understanding of the role of HR, broadly defined, in responding to crisis and organizational recovery.  In particular, we are interested in whether the role of HR changes in crisis situations and how, specifically, does it support organizational continuity and recovery.  We are also interested in investigations of these issues in different contexts: industries and sectors and, national institutional environments.
    We are interested in submissions that are based on rich, qualitative research rather than incremental theory development:  research which has engaged HR practitioners in dealing with crisis and recovery situations from which we might extract practical lessons about failure and success.  We also welcome submissions that attempt to conceptualize the influence of HRM in crisis and recovery situations, particularly with reference to the employee experience.

Indicative list of anticipated themes/questions/topics.
1.    Is HRM important in responding to crisis situations?  When and how?
2.    Does the employee experience change through crisis and recovery and how has HRM functioned to manage the employee experience in such situations?
3.    How has HRM redesigned HR systems through crisis and recovery and, what has been the response of employees?
4.    Has the relationship between HR and senior organizational leadership changed through crisis and recovery?
5.    What has been the role of professional associations in supporting HR professionals’ responses to crisis and recovery?
6.    What differences exist in the way HR deals with crisis and recovery in cross-national contexts?
7.    How has HR developed initiatives for managing mental health and well-being through crisis and recovery?
8.    What HR issues are important the context of remote-working?
9.    How has HR reacted in different sectors to crisis and recovery, for example, public, private, not-for-profit?
10.    What has been the role of governments in informing HR strategies and actions through crisis and recovery?
11.    How have changes to HR practices influenced organizational cultures?
12.    Do crises have differential impacts on minorities and/or women as employees?

Submission information and timelines

Submissions to be made through the Scholar One Personnel Review submission portal and authors are encourages to check the journal's guidelines prior to submission which can be found here 

Submission open date: 10th Mar 2021
Submission Deadline date: 30th Jun 2021
Final Acceptance date: 5th Jan 2022
Publication date: 26th Mar 2022

Farndale, E., Horak, S., Phillips, J., & Beamond, M. (2019). Facing complexity, crisis, and risk: Opportunities and challenges in international human resource management. Thunderbird International Business Review, 61(3), 465-470.
Hutchins, H. M., & Wang, J. (2008). Organizational crisis management and human resource development: A review of the literature and implications to HRD research and practice. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 10(3), 310-330.
Kim, Y.  (2020). Organizational resilience and employee work-role performance after a crisis situation: exploring the effects of organizational resilience on internal crisis communication. Journal of Public Relations Research, 1-29,
Liou, D. Y., & Lin, C. H. (2008). Human Resources Planning on Terrorism and Crises in the Asia Pacific Region: Cross-nationalChallenge, Reconsideration, and Proposition from Western Experiences. Human Resource Management, 47(1), 49-72.
Premeaux, S. F., & Breaux, D. (2007). Crisis management of Human Resources: Lessons from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Human Resource Planning, 30(3), 39-47.
Varma, T.M., (2020). Responsible Leadership and Reputation Management During a Crisis: The Cases of Delta and United Airlines. Journal of Business Ethics, 1-17,
Wang, J., Hutchins, H. M., & Garavan, T. N. (2009). Exploring the strategic role of human resource development in organizational crisis management. Human Resource Development Review, 8(5), 22-53.
Wooten, L. P., & James, E. H. (2008). Linking Crisis Management and Leadership Competencies: The Role of Human Resource Development. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 10(3), 352-379.