Sub-theme 60: Renewing Talent across Un-boundaried Networks ---> CANCELLED!

Juani Swart
University of Bath, United Kingdom
Kerrie Howard
Royal Holloway, University of London, United Kingdom
Andrés Salas-Vallina
University of Valencia, Spain

Call for Papers

In this sub-theme we emphasize that the nature organization studies has evolved from a focus ‘within the organization’ to that of networks of both loosely and tightly connected networks and systems. Snell, Swart, Morris and Boon (2022) refer to this contemporary way of organizing as ecosystems. In particular, they state that the emerging ecosystem is characterized by a network of interdependent individuals and organizations, some large and some small, who interact with one another, both collaborating and competing to co-create value for a common set of stakeholders. The ecosystem therefore needs focus on a purposeful work arrangement between two or more worker communities to create value for a common set of customers (Snell and Morris, 2021). These forms of organizing have been prevalent before, but particularly, within the pandemic, wherein which, knowledge and skills moved between organizations and networks. Individuals changed jobs, took on new roles and reshaped their knowledge and expertise. This phenomenon had a profound impact on the way that we work and on the economy.
Covid-19 raised many concerns central to managing talent and capabilities in organizations. While many private organizations furloughed employees, some public sector organizations across Europe were involved in large-scale re-deployment. Human capital was redeployed from designated roles and responsibilities to new positions needed to strengthen the public sector response and delivery in the context of Covid-19 pandemic. Equally, wicked problems in public sector management, e.g. healthcare and infrastructure, as well as in development and disaster response settings around the world, have also required innovative approaches to talent management to bring appropriate skill sets to settings where practices change daily. Flexible, resilient and versatile employees might be fundamental in multidisciplinary network settings. We aim to explore questions at the heart of talent management and development, which are taken for granted in the traditional organization, but are unknown in these un-boundaried networks and settings.
The specific questions that we invite for exploration include, but is not limited to:

  • How can we understand performance in un-bounded network spaces

  • How is knowledge retained, shared and developed as individuals move within and between networks.

  • How does technology and culture impact human capital in these spaces

  • What are the different impacts of diverse multidisciplinary stakeholders, and how do these change over time, settings or sectors.

  • If human capital becomes ingrained in organisational processes and is therefore either organisation or sector-specific, is it also network specific?

  • What is the role of consultants and stakeholders that may briefly engage in the un-bounded network

  • How is commitment experienced and shaped in an un-boundaried network context?

  • If the blurring of boundaries can increase ambiguities in employment relations, does the identities of the organization, the employer, and the employee can become destabilized? Does it involve risks of disaffection?

  • How is quality of working life affected by un-boundaried settings and how can human capital be managed in this new scenario?

  • How does the motivation, purpose, and intensity of a networking behaviour impact human capital?

  • Which network combinations and under which contextual variables improve knowledge development?

  • If rationalization, efficiency and calculability is increasingly present in organizational life, do un-boundaried networks transform the dehumanized into enchanting, meaningful and empowering workplaces?

  • How are networks of networks configured and how do higher-level network configurations impact human capital?


Juani Swart is a Professor in Human Capital Management at the University of Bath, United Kingdom, and she seeks to understand the nature of contemporary work contexts. In particular, she is interested in cross-boundary working (which includes gig-working and artificial intelligence), its impact on commitment and knowledge sharing. Juani’s research is focused on human capital as a strategic resource, innovation, ambidexterity and employee attitudes and behaviours. She has published widely in many journals.
Kerrie Howard is Lecturer at the Department of Human Resource Management and Organization Studies at Royal Holloway, University of London, United Kingdom. Kerrie has a particular interest in what and how organizations contribute to society, a focus she explored in her PhD research by investigating what middle managers do with corporate social responsibility.
Andrés Salas-Vallina is an Associate Professor in Human Resource Management at the University of Valencia, Spain. His research interest include the interaction of human resource management and leadership, and how complex work context influence knowledge transfer, job attitudes and behaviours. Andrés has published his results in many journals.