Managing in Crisis - Crisis in Managing: Exploring the Future of Human Resource Management



Is human resource management in crisis? What do we understand crisis to mean and imply? What are the central features of organisational management practices within the context of crisis and their consequences? These unresolved questions present us with the challenge of re-thinking the relevance of human resource management in conceptual and practical terms. The complexity of organisations calls for diverse interpretive routes that critically approach the scope and meaning of crisis (i.e., in discipline, in practice, in professional terms) and scrutinise the actions taken by organisations in the management of people and the organisation of work.

Conceptually, the orientation these constructs take in theorization and research needs further expansion. For instance, the multiplicity of perspectives in relation to the meaning and purpose of human resource management continues to be a subject of debate (cf. Watson, 2010; Delbridge, 2011; Thompson, 2011); however, it seems to focus mainly on a war of paradigmatic proportions. In the end, the key question of whether human resource management is in crisis, posed by Sparrow and Marchington (1998) almost 15 years ago remains relevant in light of new theoretical developments and significant contextual changes, such as the global financial crisis.

In practical terms, current times are characterized by a fundamental uncertainty where organisations in all sectors (private, public and voluntary) face crises (i.e., financial, material, moral, etc.). An emerging body of research has explored organizational responses (cf. IJHRM special issue edited by Zagelmeyer and Gollan, 2012). However, we need further insight into what organizations, managers and individuals understand these crises to mean and how they deal with them in both rhetorical and practical terms. Unpacking these discussions at different analytical levels (macro, meso and micro) would help us to understand more comprehensively the way in which individuals, groups and organisations make sense of, negotiate and manage the different crises they face, and the implications they have for human resource management, work and employment practices.

This workshop aims to explore the various ways in which the term ‘crisis’ has significance for contemporary human resource management, work and employment. First, through examining how crisis as a concept has been conceptualized and used in the context of human resource management, employment regimes and more broadly the regulation of work within the context of increasingly globalized work environments.

Papers might therefore address (but are not limited to) the following issues:

1.Is human resource management in crisis? Is the HR function in crisis?
2.Rethinking “best practice” in times of crisis.
3.Changing forms of human resource management, work and employment practices emerging from organizational responses to crisis.
4.Implications of crisis in managing careers at individual and organizational levels.
5.Ethics, governance, sustainability and human resource management.
6.Union responses to the global economic crisis and its consequences for workers.
7.Employee engagement, voice and participation in times of crisis.
8.Performance management and motivation in recessionary environments.
9.The crisis in context –rhetorical use of crisis in organizational management practices, management of inequalities, insecurity, and regulation across contexts, human resource management responses such as downsizing and rationalization.



This event will take place on the 9th and 10th April 2013


Who Should Attend

We invite contributions from a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives that address any of the areas above or that address the workshop theme more generally. Papers from doctoral and early career researchers are especially welcome.

Please submit a full paper or an extended abstract of around 2,000 words to .


Benefits of Attendance

  • Showcase your research and develop research ideas through discussion and feedback from experienced colleagues 
  •  An opportunity for networking and engagement with researchers in the field 



Newcastle University Business School
5 Barrack Road
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear


Paper Submission Details

Please submit a full paper or an extended abstract of around 2,000 words to .

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 31st January 2013
Notification of acceptance: 28th of February 2013



The keynote speakers are:

Professor Helen Francis, Edinburgh Napier University Business School

'Breaking the Mould in HRM: Building Constructive Tension'

Professor Paul Sparrow, Lancaster University Management School

‘Do We Need HR? Re-balancing The HR Looking In and Looking Out Agendas’

Professor Paul Thompson, University of Strathclyde Business School

'HRM - a failed project?'



For information about accommodation options please click on the following link:

Please ensure that you quote Newcastle University to receive a preferred rate.



When thinking about booking travel, please take into account the timings for the Conference:

9th April: 10.00 Registration
                 10.30 Programme starts
                 17.30 Finish
                 19.00 Dinner

10th April: 9.00 Programme starts
                   15.00 - 15.30 Programme ends

You can view the full programme here.



Please submit a full paper or an extended abstract of around 2,000 words to

For queries regarding submissions please contact:

Professor Stephen Procter -
Dr Jenny K Rodriguez -
Dr Tracy Scurry -


Event Price

The price of this event for BAM Members is: £100

The event is only available to BAM members. If you are not a BAM member please click here to see all the membership benefits, or click here to join now.


Book Now

If you are a BAM member, then please ensure that you are logged in (using the login box at the top of the screen) then click the following link to register.



Cancelation Policy - Should you wish to cancel your place, you will receive a full refund if your cancelation is made 4 weeks prior to the event. After this, full payment will be required.  BAM reserves the right to cancel the event if there are not enough people to justify running the workshops.


9th April 2013   through   10th April 2013
Newcastle University Business School
5 Barrack Road
Newcastle Upon Tyne
United Kingdom
Tyne and Wear

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BAM HRM SIG Event - Managing in Crisis/Crisis in Managing: Exploring the Future of Human Resource Management £ 100.00
Event Information
Product Code 40353
Event Provider British Academy of Management
Date / Time 9th and 10th April 2013
Venue Newcastle University Business School, 5 Barrack Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, NE1 4SE
Event Type Research Seminar
Target Audience All Levels
Price £100 for BAM Members (only)
Booking Deadline 8 April 2013
Link to Booking Form
Contact For more information on this event please contact Miriam Karim in the BAM Office on +44(0)2073837770, or at
Delegate List Available? Yes
Conference Information
Call for papers deadline 31 January 2013
Conference Name
Conference Proceedings

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