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Call for papers. HRM and employability: An international perspective


Special issue of International Human Resource Management Journal  "HRM and employability: An international perspective" coordinated by Jasmijn van Harten, Nele De Cuyper, David Guest, Mel Fugate, Eva Knies & Anneleen Forrier. 

Rationale and aims

Employability concerns the individual’s chances in the internal and/or external labor market (Forrier, Verbruggen, & De Cuyper, 2015), It is emerging as an important policy issue in HRM against the background of ongoing developments such as technological changes, ageing populations, and an increasingly competitive organizational environment. This has led to a sharp growth in employability studies in recent years and from an increasingly international scholarship. Although employability is regarded as a management and political concern (Froehlich, Beausaert, & Segers, 2015), surprisingly few studies have addressed the role and impact of employer policies and practices and the national context. In addition, employability outcomes should be probed in greater detail: this probing could address different levels of analysis, for example individual well-being, organizational effectiveness or even societal well-being (cf. Beer, Boselie, & Brewster, 2015). Such research would elucidate whether employability, and HRM investments in employability, is beneficial to all parties involved or whether there are unintended outcomes. This has been subject of academic and practitioner debates, as reflected in the so-called employability management paradox that questions whether managerial benefits of investing in employability outweigh the costs (De Cuyper & De Witte, 2011).

This Special Issue is therefore intended to be a catalyst for attracting and advancing research on the impact of HRM on workers’ employability and subsequent outcomes. 

The following general and specific research questions are examples (and not to exclude others) that could be examined by Special Issue contributions:

• To what extent and in what ways does HRM impact workers’ employability and subsequent outcomes? And what do employers hope to achieve by utilizing HR practices to enhance employability, are there potential unintended consequences? Do HR investments in employability pay off in terms of its impact on organizational and individual outcomes?
• What HR practices and/or combinations of practices have an effect on workers’ employability? To what extent does this depend on the understanding of employability and what is the most useful way of conceptualizing and operationalizing employability?
• How significant is the role of line managers in affecting workers’ employability?
• To what extent is it feasible to use HRM to develop organization-specific employability as opposed to general employability?
• What sort of HR policies and practices might inhibit employability (for example policies with respect to flexible employment and towards older workers)?
• What factors tied to the individual worker affect the relationships between HRM, workers’ employability and subsequent outcomes? Under what circumstances should employers adopt a general or targeted approach to employability?
• What meso-level circumstances play a role in the impact of HRM on workers’ employability and subsequent outcomes?
• How do macro-level national economic circumstances and associated national policies affect related HR practices in organizations and their impact on employability and how does this vary across countries?

Submission guidelines

Manuscripts should be submitted online using the International Journal of Human Resource Management ScholarOne Manuscripts site ( no later than 1st August 2018. The format of papers must follow the guidelines of the IJHRM: All submissions will go through the IJHRM regular double-blind review process and follow the standard norms and processes.

More information HERE