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      International HRM insights for navigating the COVID-19 pandemic: Implications for future research and practice

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          Abstract

          We show the relevance of extant international business (IB) research, and more specifically work on international human resources management (IHRM), to address COVID-19 pandemic challenges. Decision-makers in multinational enterprises have undertaken various types of actions to alleviate the impacts of the pandemic. In most cases these actions relate in some way to managing distance and to rethinking boundaries, whether at the macro- or firm-levels. Managing distance and rethinking boundaries have been the primary focus of much IB research since the IB field was established as a legitimate area of academic inquiry. The pandemic has led to increased cross-border distance problems (e.g., as the result of travel bans and reduced international mobility), and often also to new intra-firm distancing challenges imposed upon previously co-located employees. Prior IHRM research has highlighted the difficulties presented by distance, in terms of employee selection, training, support, health and safety, as well as leadership and virtual collaboration. Much of this thinking is applicable to solve pandemic-related distance challenges. The present, extreme cases of requisite physical distancing need not imply equivalent increases in psychological distance, and also offer firms some insight into the unanticipated benefits of a virtual workforce – a type of workforce that, quite possibly, will influence the ‘new normal’ of the post-COVID world. Extant IHRM research does offer actionable insight for today, but outstanding knowledge gaps remain. Looking ahead, we offer three domains for future IHRM research: managing under uncertainty, facilitating international and even global work, and redefining organizational performance.

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          Most cited references61

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          Bridging Space Over Time: Global Virtual Team Dynamics and Effectiveness

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            Towards a renaissance in international business research? Big questions, grand challenges, and the future of IB scholarship

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              Dimensions, Determinants, and Differences in the Expatriate Adjustment Process

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                p.caligiuri@northeastern.edu
                helen.decieri@monash.edu
                dm.si@cbs.dk
                alain.verbeke@haskayne.ucalgary.ca
                a.zimmermann@lboro.ac.uk
                Journal
                J Int Bus Stud
                J Int Bus Stud
                Journal of International Business Studies
                Palgrave Macmillan UK (London )
                0047-2506
                1478-6990
                2 June 2020
                : 1-17
                Affiliations
                [1 ]GRID grid.261112.7, ISNI 0000 0001 2173 3359, D’Amore-McKim School of Business, , Northeastern University, ; 312C Hayden Hall, 360 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02124 USA
                [2 ]GRID grid.1002.3, ISNI 0000 0004 1936 7857, Monash Business School, , Monash University, ; 900 Dandenong Road, Caulfield East, VIC 3145 Australia
                [3 ]GRID grid.4655.2, ISNI 0000 0004 0417 0154, Copenhagen Business School, ; Kilevej 14, Copenhagen, 2000 Denmark
                [4 ]GRID grid.22072.35, ISNI 0000 0004 1936 7697, Haskayne School of Business, , University of Calgary, ; 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4 Canada
                [5 ]GRID grid.9435.b, ISNI 0000 0004 0457 9566, Henley Business School, , University of Reading, ; Reading, UK
                [6 ]GRID grid.8767.e, ISNI 0000 0001 2290 8069, Solvay Business School, , Vrije Universiteit Brussel, ; Brussels, Belgium
                [7 ]GRID grid.6571.5, ISNI 0000 0004 1936 8542, School of Business and Economics, , Loughborough University, ; Ashby Road, Loughborough, LE11 3TU UK
                Article
                335
                10.1057/s41267-020-00335-9
                7266413
                32836500
                e333a0a4-f745-4435-9e0d-319de726ce2a
                © Academy of International Business 2020

                This article is made available via the PMC Open Access Subset for unrestricted research re-use and secondary analysis in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for the duration of the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic.

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