A Practical Paradigm Shift in Human Resource Management





human resource management, paradigm shift, crisis management, people-centeredness, COVID-19, Central and Eastern Europe


Objective: The paradigm shift taking place in the science of human resource management has resulted in numerous changes in the theory. This process was significantly accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This study shows how new knowledge appears in everyday practice in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (Austria, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia).

Research Design & Methods: Statistical processing of the data collected in a questionnaire survey shows how conservative crisis management is complemented by measures based on the new approaches organisations are using. In addition to the comparison between individual countries, the study also focuses on the size of the company as a factor determining crisis management decisions. It also examines the validity of general principles such as equal opportunity and difference management, both of which are people-centric principles.

Findings: The results of the survey show that the companies already understand modern theoretical knowledge. Despite this, among the practical measures, conservative responses such as layoffs or wage freezes are still used predominantly. The study draws attention to the need to speed up practical changes and implement the theory in practice.

Implications/Recommendations: The modern understanding and interpretation of HR is not alien or remote from the organisations that responded to our survey. Nonetheless, their imple­mentation of modern HR concepts has been relatively slow.

Contribution: We set out to create an international database that can serve as a basis for future research. We also show that the effect of the HR paradigm shift can already be demonstrated in practice, even if the uptake has been slow. Although the attachment to the past is strong, forward-‑looking crisis management measures that replace previous restrictive solutions are becoming more and more widespread. We hope our study helps modern crisis management in HR take stronger root.


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