Call for papers “Human Resource Management and innovation in SMEs”


Call for papers “Human Resource Management and innovation in SMEs” Employee Relations.
Guest Editors : P. Stokes (Leicester Castle Business School), C. Defélix (Université Grenoble Alpes), Virginie Gallego-Roquelaure (Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3), L. Adla (Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3).

The literature on HRM and innovation has developed only belatedly and has recently expanded through empirical studies (Seeck & Diehl, 2017). The work carried out so far is limited to highlighting HRM’s contributions to innovation in broad terms only, leaving many issues outstanding (Shipton et al., 2017). The research community has focused on highlighting HRM practices that promote innovation, emphasizing, in particular the importance of their complementary nature in such a context (Seeck & Diehl, 2017). However, to date, the empirical studies that have been conducted so far cannot conclusively establish HRM practices do drive innovation. Indeed, the combinations of mobilized HRM practices differ from one organisation to another, but this does not for all that prevent them from innovating. In this sense, the adoption of an approach focused solely on HRM practices seems questionable and reductive.
While the literature on innovation determinants tends to view innovation as a single-stage phenomenon, some factors are likely to operate differently from one phase of innovation to another. Though they have rarely been studied to date, the HRM practices implemented during the various phases of the innovation process deserve to attract more attention from researchers (Seeck & Diehl, 2017).
The importance of this subject seems all the more significant in SME context since human resources are one of the main hindrances to innovation (Strobel & Kratzer, 2017). As a result, managers are faced with this issue: how to organize their HRM when they wish to foster innovation within their organization? By deploying innovation-oriented practices, SME managers can turn their HRM into a real leverage tool (Curado, 2018).

Indicative list of topics

– How are HRM practices mobilized during the various phases of the innovation process in SMEs?
– How can the organizational context be conducive to the relationship between HRM and innovation in SMEs? What organizational design should be implemented?
– How might HRM hinder innovation in SMEs and vice versa?
– What theories are used to articulate HRM and innovation in SMEs?
– What is middle management’ role in the relationship between HRM and innovation in SMEs?
– Who are the new mediators in the relationship between HRM and innovation in SMEs?
– How to reconcile innovation and international human resources management in SMEs?
– What is the role of the cultural dimension?
– What kind of HRM should be put in place when developing open innovation?

Submission and deadlines:

All submissions to be made via the Employee Relations Scholar One manuscript submission system – and please follow author guidelines here. The deadline for submissions is October 1st 2019.


Curado, C. (2018). Human resource management contribution to innovation in small and medium‐sized enterprises: A mixed methods approach. Creativity and Innovation Management, 27(1), 79-90.
Laursen, K., and Foss, N. J. (2014). Human resource management practices and innovation. Handbook of innovation management, 505-530.
Seeck, H., and Diehl, M. R. (2017). A literature review on HRM and innovation–taking stock and future directions. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 28(6), 913-944.
Shipton, H., Sparrow, P., Budhwar, P., and Brown, A. (2017). HRM and innovation: looking across levels. Human Resource Management Journal, 27(2), 246-263.
Strobel, N., and Kratzer, J. (2017). Obstacles to Innovation for SMEs: Evidence from Germany. International Journal of Innovation Management, 21(03), 1750030.

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