Sub-theme 16: Organizational Anomalies, New HR Practices and Strategies in Challenging Times ---> MERGED with sub-theme 20

Aizhan Tursunbayeva
University of Naples Parthenope, Italy
Anouck Adrot
Paris-Dauphine University, France
Stan Karanasios
The University of Queensland, Australia

Call for Papers

The effective management of human resources in care organizations has been for a long time on the agendas of scholars, practitioners, and policymakers considering the universal pressures for cost reduction and the need for high-quality care (Cooke & Bartram, 2015). However, “2020 has been a year like no other in recent memory” (Zouev, 2020) for health systems globally. These, suffering already from the worldwide health workforce crisis (Britnell, 2020), have been operating at more than maximum capacity for the past two years as after the start of the outbreak countries have faced a surge in those infected with the virus who needed health services. Thus, even robust health systems have been harshly tested by the pandemic. It requested healthcare organizations internationally to urgently rethink existing operating approaches, especially Human Resource Management (HRM) strategies, practices, and processes because healthcare is a human capital-intensive industry. For example, the Economist (2020) equated the role of the Chief People Officer in the pandemic to the role played by the Chief Financial Officer in the Global Financial Crisis, while the adequate management of HRM was identified as a critical success factor in winning the battle against Covid-19 (Britnell, 2020).
Indeed, organizations’ HRM functions have been working hard and their response to Covid-19 has fallen primarily into four important areas (Bersin, 2020): a) jobs and work continuity (Sharp et al., 2020); b) physical health and wellbeing (Bourgeault et al., 2020; c) mental health and well-being, resilience, family support, and dealing with uncertainty (e.g., Soklaridis, 2020); and d) remote and flexible work (Leonardi, 2021). The popular sources provide many examples of these responses for organizations from a wide range of industries (Green, 2020). However, there is a dearth of analysis of HRM in health organizations despite the sector worldwide being one of the most affected by Covid-19, and likely to need a significant reset because of its impact on the workforce (e.g., Kniffin et al., 2021; PAHO, 2020). Considering that numerous interdisciplinary scholars worldwide have been watching closely, keen to investigate the effects of this enforced by the emergency global experiment (Chainey, 2020), and aiming to document best practices and key learnings, it is now a good time to draw on these experienced reflections and observations to consider how the positive learning can be carried forward in the post-pandemic era, inform recommendations for practice and articulate an agenda for new research. Such as exercise could also help to enrich broader knowledge, evidence and practice related to HRM (Beaglehole, & Dal Poz, 2003), organizational studies, leadership (Keijser & Martin, 2020; Martin et al., 2021), technologies for HRM (Tursunbayeva et al., 2017) in the health sector, and HRM in times of crisis (Newman et al., 2020) more broadly.
Therefore, we invite conceptual and empirical contributions that have been inspired by the multidisciplinary, multi-level, multi-stakeholder, multi-method, and culture-sensitive approaches (Caligiuri et al., 2020) on HRM in healthcare and on HRM during times of crisis, especially if the latter can provide learning for HRM in healthcare. A non-exhaustive list of relevant research topics includes:

  • What are the main challenges related to HRM in times of crisis?

  • To what extent has Covid-19 been a significant trigger for change in HRM in healthcare, or only one of a number of longer-term challenges cause by ever-increasing demands placed on resource-constrained healthcare systems?

  • How have health units, organizations, and systems overcome the Covid-19-triggered challenges?

  • Which HRM strategies, processes, and practices in health organizations have been affected/shaped by Covid-19 the most?

  • How have the tools and methodologies for staff planning, redeployment, career management, well-being, or remote and flexible working evolved during Covid-19?

  • Have there been any new conceptual models for clinical and non-clinical leadership, team working, and engagement emerging as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and how effectively have they been implemented?

  • How has the healthcare workforce architecture been affected by Covid-19 (e.g., the balance between medical, nursing and other clinical professions, new professional roles, casual, part-time and flexible working versus full time, remote versus traditional workers) and is it likely to have major long-term implications for HRM in healthcare?

  • What has been the role of technology (e.g., HRIS; AI, machine learning, analytics) in HRM, as well as its impact on healthcare professionals’ work during the emergency?

  • Have there been any ethical and regulatory issues related to HRM in healthcare that had to be addressed during Covid-19?

  • What does the future hold out for HRM in healthcare and HR healthcare professionals post-Covid-19?

  • Can healthcare HRM learn from Covid-19 responses and practices used in other sectors/industries, or is it a unique field defined by a distinctive caring mission, professional logics, and professional bureaucratic control?


  • Beaglehole, R., & Dal Poz, M.R. (2003): “Public health workforce: challenges and policy issues.” Human Resources for Health, 1 (4),
  • Bersin, J. (2020, April 8): Covid-19: The Pulse of HR – What is HR doing now? Josh Bersin Blog, retrieved on November 20, 2020, from
  • Bourgeault, I.L., Maier, C.B., Dieleman, M., Ball., MacKenzie, A., Nancarrow, S., Nigenda, G., & Sidat, M. (2020): “The Covid-19 pandemic presents an opportunity to develop more sustainable health workforces.” Human Resources for Health, 18 (83),
  • Britnell, M. (2020): “Health for Heroes.” NHS Managers.
  • Caligiuri, P., De Cieri, H., Minbaeva, D., Verbeke, & Zimmermann, A. (2020): “International HRM insights for navigating the Covid-19 pandemic: Implications for future research and practice.” Journal of International Business Studies, 51, 697–713.
  • Chainey, R. (2020, April 16): This is how Covid-19 could change the world of work for good. World Economic Forum, retrieved on November 21, 2020, from
  • Cooke, F.L. & Bartram, T. (2015): “Guest editors’ introduction: Human Resource Management in health care and elderly care: current challenges and toward a research agenda.” Human Resource Management, 54 (5), 711–735.
  • Green, D. (2020, March 15): Covid-19. Resources for HR & People Analytics. LinkedIn, retrieved on November 21, 2020, from
  • Kniffin, K.M., Narayanan, J., Anseel, F., et al. (2021): “Covid-19 and the workplace: Implications, issues, and insights for future research and action.” American Psychologist, 76 (1), 1–15, 63-77.
  • Keijser, W., & Martin, G. (2020): “Unlocking medical leadership’s potential: a multilevel virtuous circle.” BMJ Leader, 4 (1), 6–11.
  • Leonardi, P.M. (2021): “COVID-19 and the new technologies of organizing: Digital exhaust, digital footprints, and artificial intelligence in the wake of remote work.” Journal of Management Studies, 58 (1), 249–253;
  • Martin, G., Bushfield, S., Siebert, S., & Howieson, W.B. (2021): “Changing logics in healthcare and their effects on the identity motives and identity work of doctors.” Organization Studies, 42 (9), 1477–1499.
  • Newman, A., Ferrer, J., Andresen, M., & Zhang, Y. (2020): “Human Resource Management in Times of Crisis. The International Journal of Human Resource Management.
  • PAHO (2020): Checklist for the management of Human Resources for health in response to Covid-19, retrieved on November 20, 2020, from
  • Sharp, E., Cole, L., Clementi, R., & Curlewis, K. (2020): “Which medical specialties should be prioritised to fill staffing gaps caused by Covid-19 in the United Kingdom? A network analysis.” International Journal of Health Planning and Management, 35 (5), 1263–1266.
  • Soklaridis, S., Lin, E., Lalani, Y., Rodak, T., & Sockalingam, S. (2020): “Mental health interventions and supports during Covid-19 and other medical pandemics: A rapid systematic review of the evidence.” General Hospital Psychiatry, 66, 133–146.
  • The Economist.(2020, March 24): The coronavirus crisis thrusts corporate HR chiefs into the spotlight, retrieved on November 20, 2020, from
  • Tursunbayeva, A., Bunduchi, R., Franco, M., & Pagliari, C. (2017): “Human resource information systems in health care: A systematic evidence review.” Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 24 (3), 633–654.
  • Zouev, A. (2020): Covid-19 Responses, Covid and the Rule of Law: A dangerous Balancing Act. United Nations, retrieved on November 20, 2020, from
Aizhan Tursunbayeva is an Assistant Professor at the University of Naples Parthenope, Italy. Her research lies at the intersection of HRM, information systems, and healthcare. Her previous professional roles include Assistant Professor of HRM at the University of Twente (the Netherlands), Management Consultant at KPMG Advisory (Healthcare Division), and HR Manager at HSBC Bank. Aizhan has published in a range of journals including ‘Information Technology & People’, ‘Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association’, ‘Management Learning’, and ‘Personnel Review’.
Anouck Adrot is an Associate Professor in Paris-Dauphine University PSL, France. She has academic background in organization theory, improvisation, and crisis management. Anouck has approached anomalies through multiple empirical settings ranging from heat waves, crisis command chains, and high-reliability teams.
Stan Karanasios is an Associate Professor at the UA Business School, The University of Queensland, Australia. His background is in information systems and organizational transformation. Stan’s work in this area has focused on climate change and emergencies as well as how organizations and communities respond to change.