Managing human resources in turbulence: A neo-institutional approach

Chidozie Umeh, Joseph Maidugu, Nelarine Cornelius, mathias Ndoma-Egba

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


In the field of international human resource management (HRM), most research has focused on the formal-institutional drivers of HRM practices during times of stability. However, little research has been conducted on how broader social forces that intersect with formal institutional drivers may constrain or enable HRM interventions in terms of their acceptance, implementation, and evaluation in more turbulent conditions. This study explored how two subsidiaries of a multinational hotel in Nigeria applied a localised adaptation of HRM practices to curb the negative effects of the coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on its employees. We drew on neo-institutional theory focusing on employees’ lived experiences as influenced by HRM processes, as well as the outcomes situated in and influenced by other informal-institutional and wider social forces—with a focus on broader cultural rules and beliefs. Our findings suggest that addressing the adverse effects of turbulent conditions imposed by macro-level factors at the micro-level, while still managing a diverse workforce, requires organisations to move away from standardised mainstream HRM processes to more interactive and integrative (or ‘relational’) practices. We then discuss our findings’ implications for HRM theory, research, and practice in turbulent periods.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication38th EGOS Colloquium, Vienna 2022
Subtitle of host publicationSub-theme 16:Organizational Anomalies, New HR Practices and Strategies in Challenging Times
EditorsAizhan Tursunbayeva, Anouck Adrot, Stan Karanasios
PublisherEuropean Group for Organisatuional Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 22 Jun 2022

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