Special Issue "Implications of the “Digital Era” for HRM: A New Paradigm, or Perhaps Not"

A special issue of Merits (ISSN 2673-8104).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2023) | Viewed by 4318

Special Issue Editors

Department of Management, ISEG—Advance/CSG—Lisbon School of Economics and Management, University of Lisbon, 1249-078 Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: HRM; OB; sustainability
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Multidisciplinary Institute for Enterprise (IME), Faculty of Economic and Management, Department of Business Administration, University of Salamanca, 37009 Salamanca, Spain
Interests: human resource management; innovation; sustainability; organizational behavior; entrepreneurship; well-being
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In a period in which ideas and messages about a new Economic Era based on digitization proliferate, we propose a reflection. Are we really in a new Era?

In a limited analysis of article titles, it is possible to observe the high number of publications that seek to be the bearers of this “good news”, its implications for management and in particular for human resources management (HRM). We believe that this is still a debate that remains to be fully discussed and where academia, due to its methods, its philosophical positions, and its capacity for reflection, still has some relevant contributions to make both to the industry and to academia itself.

Consulting only two definitions 11 years apart: (1) a Digital Era means the achievement of Digital Maturity, which comes from the digital transformation and its implications, which have revolutionized the way we communicate, work and perceive the world around us, covering all the sectors of activity (Matt, Hess and Benlian, 2015). Or, according to the earlier definition, (2) a Digital Era is “Characterized by technology which increases the speed and breadth of knowledge turnover within the economy and society” (Shepherd, 2004, p. 1). Both of these definitions point to a disruption in the way management is conceived, planned and executed. 

We are pleased to invite you to address the digital transformation that has changed the direction of companies, namely in their positioning in relation to competitors, as well as in the way managers make their decisions (Matt, Hess and Benlian, 2015; Morakanyane, Grace and Reilly, 2017). For some companies, this means changing their business models by redefining their boundaries through digitalization, transforming multinational operations into global ones, through digital technology associated with integrated information (Westerman, Bonnet and Mcafee, 2014). To remain competitive, companies feel the need to implement new tools and approaches that would allow them to be faster in responding to changes and stimuli from the environment (Morakanyane, Grace and Reilly, 2017).

However, there are questions that seem to remain unanswered: Are management analysis and intervention tools still valid in this context? Is the role and importance of HRM managers still the same in the digital reality? Does the concept of organization and market still apply in the same way?

This Special Issue aims to expand our understanding of a major challenge for HRM, which is to identify the appropriate technologies and how to combine them with human capabilities to ensure optimal levels of efficiency and effectiveness (Wilson and Daugherty, 2018). In the near future, the proper use of the “digital” will dictate the success of managers and, therefore, of organizations and markets (Brynjlfsson and McAfee, 2017).

Considering the above-mentioned challenges, a motivating question for debate arises: what implications does the digital transformation have for HRM?

This call for papers invites researchers, regardless of methodological, ontological or philosophical options, to contribute to the debate on the implications of the “Digitization Era” for HRM. Works that advocate an optimistic position, as well as those that do not, are welcome. Theoretically well-founded work and rigorous methodological analysis are required in order to make a solid contribution to the debate.

For this Special Issue, both original research articles and reviews are welcome. Research areas may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Commitment in the digital era;
  • Emotional salary in the digital era;
  • Artificial intelligence-based HRM;
  • Remote work–life balance;
  • Remote workplace happiness;
  • Reshaped motivation;
  • Digital sources of satisfaction;
  • The impact of digital disruption on careers;
  • HRM and social media;
  • HRM and technostress;
  • HRM and industry 4.0;
  • HRM and metaverse.


Matt, C., Hess, T., & Benlian, A. (2015). Digital transformation strategies. Business & information systems engineering, 57(5), 339-343.

McAfee, A., & Brynjolfsson, E. (2017). Machine, platform, crowd: Harnessing our digital future. WW Norton & Company.

Morakanyane, R., Grace, A. A., & O'Reilly, P. (2017). Conceptualizing Digital Transformation in Business Organizations: A Systematic Review of Literature. Bled eConference, 21.

Shepherd, J. (2004). What is the digital era?. In Social and economic transformation in the digital era (pp. 1-18). IGI Global.

Westerman, G., Bonnet, D., & McAfee, A. (2014). The nine elements of digital transformation. MIT Sloan Management Review, 55(3), 1-6.

Wilson, H. J., & Daugherty, P. R. (2018). Collaborative intelligence: Humans and AI are joining forces. Harvard Business Review, 96(4), 114-123.

Prof. Dr. Carla Maria Marques Curado
Prof. Dr. Paulo Lopes Henriques
Prof. Dr. Lucía Muñoz-Pascual
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Merits is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • human resources management
  • artificial intelligence
  • remote work life balance
  • remote workplace happiness
  • digital careers
  • technostress
  • social media
  • big data
  • Industry 4.0
  • metaverse

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Digging into “Zoom Fatigue”: A Qualitative Exploration of Remote Work Challenges and Virtual Meeting Stressors
Merits 2023, 3(1), 151-166; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3010010 - 15 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2210
Purpose: With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees suddenly had to work remotely and realize all work-related social interaction in virtual formats. The sudden shift to the virtual format came with new workplace stressors. To understand the stressors of remote work and [...] Read more.
Purpose: With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees suddenly had to work remotely and realize all work-related social interaction in virtual formats. The sudden shift to the virtual format came with new workplace stressors. To understand the stressors of remote work and videoconferences, we present two qualitative studies. The aim of this study is to better understand the stress associated with remote work and videoconferencing, with an emphasis on how workers cope with the added stress. Methodology: We applied thematic analysis to open-ended survey data from employees in the US (n = 349) and in-depth telephone interviews of 50 meeting leaders from the US and Germany. Findings: We identified the work–home interface, technology, and communication issues as key challenges of remote work. Further, we found camera usage, early meeting phases, and multitasking to be central stressors of videoconferences. Finally, we identified individual- and team-level coping strategies to reduce the impacts of virtual meeting stressors on employees. Originality: Our research contributes to the emerging field studying the effects of virtual work and videoconferences on employees. We provide an overview of the challenges of remote work at the early stages of the pandemic, and we present an overview of the stressors that emerge in virtual meeting environments. We discuss insights into why videoconferences may fatigue employees. Including German and US samples, our research allows a cross-cultural comparison of videoconferencing stressors. Finally, we present actionable practical recommendations to improve videoconferences. Full article
The Ontology of Work during Pandemic Lockdown: A Semantic Network Analytical Approach
Merits 2022, 2(4), 427-444; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits2040030 - 01 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1145
Digital nomadism is emerging as a growing segment of the labor force. It is an insightful framework for understanding work during the pandemic and perhaps into the post-pandemic era because it construes work to be related to the notion of space, time and [...] Read more.
Digital nomadism is emerging as a growing segment of the labor force. It is an insightful framework for understanding work during the pandemic and perhaps into the post-pandemic era because it construes work to be related to the notion of space, time and the instrumentality of work. The present study is about how people understand, relate, and make sense of their work during the early phase of the pandemic lockdown in 2020. The study will report difficulties that arise from work digitalization during the lockdown, and the study conceived the various dimensionality of work to cope with work challenges. Semantic network analysis (SNA) was used to aid the analysis of the contents from four European countries. One hundred and sixty respondents are interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. The words and word pairs from the SNA resulted in keywords identified for the four countries. There are common word hubs between the countries, such as hubs revolving around the meaning of ‘time’ and ‘meeting’. However, there are also unique hubs such as ‘task’, ‘office’ and “colleagues”. The results provide a cross-cultural comparison of how people adopted to work change. The organization of the word pairs in the network provided the narratives. Full article
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