Inclusion/Exclusion in the Digitalized Workplace
Dr Andri Georgiadou (University of Nottingham, UK)
Professor Miguel Olivas-Luján (Clarion University Pennsylvania and Penn State University, USA)
Professor Dianna Stone (University of New Mexico, USA)
Professor Tanya Bondarouk (Twente University, Netherlands)
This special issue aims to foster a discussion about how inclusion can be established and promoted amidst a digital transformation of the workplace and the emergent theoretical directions, practices, and approaches that challenge this establishment. Accordingly, we seek to advance the field and provide a foundational resource for future and current scholars. The call is therefore directed to those who want to explore the digital way of managing, organizing, and leading inclusion. Our focus is also transnational and seeks to explore the complexities of inclusion/exclusion in the Digitalized Workplace beyond a Western space and lens.
Technology is having a profound effect on human resource management (HR) processes and is propelling them in some entirely new directions. For example, technology, especially the World Wide Web, has helped modify a plethora of HR processes including recruitment, performance management, human resource planning, selection, workflow, compensation, and training. Specifically, most of the large organizations now use internet-based systems of recruitment and are implementing Web-based training programs. The recent COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating their adoption. These new systems have enabled HR professionals to provide better service to their stakeholders and reduced the administrative burden in the field (Stone & Dulebohn, 2013; Gueutal & Stone, 2005).
Digitalization changes how employees interact in the workplace, what they expect from their employer and careers, as well as when and where and how work is conducted. In this sense, the development of digitalization impacts organizations internally on many levels, as it requires the adaption and development of new knowledge and new ways of working (Bondarouk & Ruël, 2009). Also, literature emphasizes the importance of investing in the development of required new skills, especially if the change involves new technology and new roles (Heracleous, 2003). Digital technology is continuously changing how organizations hire, manage and support people (Bondarouk & Ruël, 2009). As a key part of the core mission of HR managers is to support and develop the employees in line with the overall organizational strategy (Watson, 2009), we believe it is critical that scholars look further into what consequences digitalization has for ensuring inclusion in the organization.
Bell, Lee and Yeung (2006) argue that the digitalization of work and the use of technology has resulted in further implications for the role of HR, its capabilities and competencies. Furthermore, Larkin (2017, p. 58) argues “the change to the HR department that digital technology will bring will be all pervasive and omni-directional throughout every company”. Consequently, digitalization affects HRM further than just through facilitating daily administrative work. In fact, effects of e-HRM on employment relationships are tightly intertwined with the overall role of technology in organizations. Issues like justice and equality, intra and inter organizational inequality, inclusion and exclusion, determine the research agenda for HRM and technology (Bondarouk & Brewster, 2016).
But it is not just the use of technology that raises questions about our current and future work models, including how we ensure inclusion; unforeseen external circumstances (i.e. disasters, pandemics) could impose individuals, organizations and societies to practice social distancing hence forcing employees to work from home. How can this digital transformation be harnessed to safeguard and enhance inclusion amid social distancing efforts?
In general, new advanced digitalized work will provide great insights in different types of information, may empower users of technology in running different types of analysis concerning their own HRM data. But our concern is how inclusion of employees will be safeguarded, ensured and promoted, especially considering that technology itself opens several layers of sub-contexts (Orlikowski & Scott, 2008). There is a need therefore for studies to explore inclusion/exclusion as part of a digitalized HRM era. International accounts of inclusion/exclusion experiences, desires and action and the politics of resistance provide promising avenues of enquiry for HRM scholars.
In light of this, we invite theoretical, empirical and methodological contributions that explore the inclusion/exclusion experience of workers and managers, teasing out how the Digitalization of the Workplace affects inclusion and relational and organizational experiences. Contributions from different fields are welcomed. We also encourage an interdisciplinary approach, acknowledging that inclusion/exclusion has numerous intellectual roots and allies. The following issues are indicative, but not exhaustive, of our focus:
- How can HRM perspectives be integrated to create new perspectives or frameworks to enrich an understanding of inclusion in the digitalized workplace, and unify and improve heterogeneous constructs and operational definitions?
- What processes are involved in shaping the inclusion agenda in the digitalized workplace? What accounts for variance in these processes and their outcomes? What is the role in such agendas of key concepts such as psychic distance, risk, uncertainty, or transnational communities?
- How does the pursuit of shaping the inclusion agenda in the digitalized workplace vary across individuals? What new concepts, relationships or processes are important in understanding the cognitions, behaviors and/or outcomes associated with the pursuit of shaping the inclusion agenda in a digitalized world by focal categories of managers (for example, immigrant managers, minority ethnic managers, transnational managers or women managers)?
- How does the pursuit of shaping the inclusion agenda in the digitalized workplace vary across organizations? What new concepts, relationships or processes are important in understanding the cognitions, behaviors and/or outcomes associated with the pursuit of shaping the inclusion agenda in a digitalized world by focal categories of organizations (for example startups, multinational companies and their operations in emerging economies, SMEs, family businesses)?
- How do cultures and institutions, such as governments, regulations, and industries, affect market and nonmarket approaches to the pursuit of shaping the inclusion agenda in the digitalized workplace, and, in turn, how do international business activities affect cultural and institutional contexts? What institutional policies and practices impact, or are impacted by, the pursuit of shaping the inclusion agenda in the digitalized workplace?
- How does inclusion in the digitalized workplace vary across different cultural and institutional environments?
- How is inclusion ensured and safeguarded amid social distancing efforts across different cultural and institutional environments?
Full papers should be submitted between October 1, 2020 and November 15, 2020 at https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/hrmj, indicating “Inclusion/Exclusion in the Digitalized Workplace” as the Special Issue. Please note that papers may not be submitted until October 1, 2020 and HRMJ will not be able to consider late submissions. The Special Issue is to be published in 2022.
Enquiries related to the focus of papers or other queries related to the call for papers should be directed to Andri Georgiadou (firstname.lastname@example.org), Miguel Olivas-Luján (email@example.com), Dianna Stone (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Tanya Bondarouk (email@example.com).
Enquiries related to the online submission process should be directed to: HRMJ.firstname.lastname@example.org.