Local engagement with global challenges: a geopolitics of HRM. Virtual Special Issue

Personnel Review

Local engagement with global challenges: a geopolitics of HRM
Virtual Special Issue, Personnel Review

Chidozie Umeh, Dima Murtada, Eric Pezet, Nelarine Cornelius

Over the last decade or so, global crisis in one form or the other has either been induced by or led to challenges, disruptions, and uncertainties in an increasingly unpredictable global environment. Many civil and regional wars continue unresolved. The SARS global epidemic of 2014, Zika epidemic of 2014-2015 and Ebola outbreak in sub-Saharan Africa in 2014-2016 are examples of major health challenges.  The global financial crisis of 2007-2009, the European debt crisis in 2010, and the European ‘migrant crisis’ of 2015, are all noteworthy.  Also, the global population is growing sharply and yet falling in some regions (United Nations, 2020)  climate change, dwindling global resources, national security issues in many countries, growing inequalities, discriminations and social injustices (explicit and subtle) and the violation of human rights, remain (United Nations, 2020).  
Most recently, trade wars, the rise of populism, and, more recently, systemic racism and racially motivated violence, as well as the global pandemic of 2020, are all clear and present challenges that have both local and international ramifications for organisations and the broader field of HRM.  Organisations face the challenge of meeting the demands of turbulent and dynamic environments created by global crisis. These global events challenge the UN’s main aim, to establish ‘peace, equality and dignity on a healthy planet’.
For organisations, geopolitics is understood and tackled through a regional lens. Economic crises influences people management, performance management and employee rewards (Maley and Kramer, 2014). Terrorism has been explored in terms of how terrorism threats diminished performance outcomes at work (Haq et al., 2019). The need to use multiple HRM practices to respond to crises at different times remains an on-going challenge (Syed and Kramar, 2010; Holck, 2016) not least as crises can exert adverse effects on the HR function and HR outcomes. The point is that several factors may detract from HR strategic contribution during these challenging periods (Sheehan et al., 2016). 


While global crisis has compelled some international organisations in the Global North and Global South to introduce innovative ways of working, many of these policies are rooted in ‘WEIRD’ (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic) countries and are primarily influenced by insights from these contexts and western socio-economic and managerial views of difference and fairness (Syed and Kramar, 2010; Pepple and Davies, 2019; Le et al., 2020). That is, more needs to be done through more context responsive HRM practices specifically in times of global crisis. A matter of concern is the absence of a practical HRM framework developed using relevant and applicable theory in a context-sensitive way to increase the effectiveness of HRM outcomes in global uncertainty (Maley & Kramer, 2014). The translation of national institutional requirements into local HR practices seems crucial for identifying and addressing changes in the institutional context, which may affect HR policy and practices (Pedrini, 2016). Indeed, the role of the HR manager, which informs organisational practices, is not merely a case of implementing policy frameworks or HRM roles but making active interpretations. Indeed, organisational HRM policies merit strong scrutiny in terms of their EDI impact especially during times of crisis, as there is evidence that disadvantaged groups fare badly during periods of national and global challenge as often, national social protection policies are weakened (Jansen and Von Uexkull, 2010).


The objective of this Virtual Special Issue is to collate research published in Personnel Review journal which explores how EDI and HRM policies and practices may achieve desirable employee and organisational outcomes in different contexts in times of global crises, and the importance of avoiding dilution of EDI policy. 
Beyond this Virtual Special Issue, we welcome theoretical and empirical submissions which provide a nuanced understanding of within/between contextual insights regarding how employees are affected by work in different organisations and implications for managing human resources and diversity more broadly. Specifically, we are interested in studies which provide novel insights regarding employees lived experiences which highlight how HRM and EDI practices respond to crises in different ways. We also encourage submissions which analyse how employees react to organisational changes occasioned by crises and studies which examine the positive and negative implications of HRM and EDI practices for employees and organisations across time and space. Furthermore, submissions which investigate potential benefits and downsides of HRM and EDI practices in times of crises for organisationally-relevant outcomes in different contexts and novel ways of researching these insights and dynamics are also welcome.


References
Haq, I. U., De Clercq, D. and Azeem, M. U. (2019), “Can employees perform well if they fear for their lives? Yes–if they have a passion for work”, Personnel Review, Vol. 49 No. 2, pp. 469-490.


Holck, L. (2016), “Spatially embedded inequality”. Personnel Review, Vol. 45 No. 4, pp. 643-662.
Jansen, M. and Von Uexkull, E. (2010). Trade and Employment in the Global Crisis. International Labour Office Report, Switzerland, ILO publication.


Le, H., Johnson, C. P. and Fujimoto, Y. (2020), “Organizational justice and climate for inclusion” Personnel Review, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/PR-10-2019-0546 


Maley, J. and Kramer, R. (2014), “The influence of global uncertainty on the cross-border performance appraisal”. Personnel Review, Vol. 43 No. 1, pp. 19-40.


Pedrini, G. (2016), “Varieties of capitalism in Europe: an inter-temporal comparison of HR policies”, Personnel Review, Vol. 45 No. 3, pp. 480-504.


Pepple, D. G. and Davies, E. (2019), “Perceived environment of ethnic diversity as a determinant of organisational identification in the public sector”, Personnel Review, Vol. 49 No. 5, 2020 pp. 1106-1120

Sheehan, C., De Cieri, H., Cooper, B. and Shea, T. (2016), “Strategic implications of HR role management in a dynamic environment”, Personnel Review, Vol. 45 No. 2, pp. 353-373.

Syed, J. and Kramar, R. (2010), “What is the Australian model for managing cultural diversity?” Personnel Review, Vol. 39 No. 1, pp. 96-115.


United Nations, 2020. Global issues overview. Access 04/08/20 at: https://www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/global-issues-overview/ 


United Nations, 2020. Population estimates. Accessed 04/08/20 at: https://www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/population/#:~:text=In%201950%2C%20five%20years%20after,at%20around%202.6%20billion%20people.&text=The%20world's%20population%20is%20expected,nearly%2011%20billion%20around%202100.


Budhwar, P. S., Mellahi, K., Forstenlechner, I. and Al‐Waqfi, M. A. (2010), “A job interview for Mo, but none for Mohammed”, Personnel Review, Vol. 39 No. 6, pp. 767-784. 


Arifeen, S. R. and Syed, J. (2019), “The challenges of fitting in”, Personnel Review. Vol. 49 No. 5, pp. 1194-1211

 
Villanueva-Flores, M., Valle, R. and Bornay-Barrachina, M. (2017), “Perceptions of discrimination and distributive injustice among people with physical disabilities”, Personnel Review, Vol. 46 No. 3, pp. 680-698.

Haq, I. U., De Clercq, D. and Azeem, M. U. (2019), “Can employees perform well if they fear for their lives? Yes–if they have a passion for work”, Personnel Review, Vol. 49 No. 2, pp. 469-490 


Kemper, L. E., Bader, A. K. and Froese, F. J. (2019), “Promoting gender equality in a challenging environment”, Personnel Review, Vol. 48 No 1, pp. 56-75.  

Maley, J. and Kramer, R. (2014), “The influence of global uncertainty on the cross-border performance appraisal”. Personnel Review, Vol. 43 No. 1, pp. 19-40  

Prouska, R., Psychogios, A.G. and Rexhepi, Y. (2016), “Rewarding employees in turbulent economies for improved organisational performance”, Personnel Review, Vol. 45 No. 6, pp. 1259-1280.  

Le, H., Johnson, C. P. and Fujimoto, Y. (2020), “Organizational justice and climate for inclusion” Personnel Review, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. 

Xiu, L., Liang, X., Chen, Z. and Xu, W. (2017), “Strategic flexibility, innovative HR practices, and firm performance”, Personnel Review, Vol. 46 No. 7, pp. 1335-1357. 

Boselie, P., Brewster, C., and Paauwe, J. (2009), “In search of balance–managing the dualities of HRM: an overview of the issues”. Personnel Review,Vol. 38 No. 5, pp. 461-471.