AMD Special Research Theme: Individual Health, Well-Being, and Work Lives in the Age of Pandemic

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The pandemic has changed how we think about and behave at work, start and stop work, collaborate at work, and take risks at work.

Timothy Hoff, SRT Editor-in-Chief

AMD is a phenomenon-forward journal, a place where authors can empirically explore data related to novel and/or previously understood phenomenon. Such empirical explorations should be rich in contextual detail and should culminate in one or more discoveries, empirical findings not predicted well by current theory and that are likely to generate future theorizing. We are in the midst of new phenomena right now during the COVID-19 pandemic that call for such empirical explorations. Specifically, this pandemic is bringing unprecedented change that affects the health, well-being, and work lives of individuals worldwide. 

Among other things, the pandemic has changed how we think about and behave at work, start and stop work, collaborate at work, and take risks at work. At the individual level, the pandemic has necessitated adaptations to work and nonwork lives, including cognitive, attitudinal, and behavioral states. At the organizational level, the pandemic has led organizations and employers to redefine how they think about, manage, incentivize, and support their employees. For purposes of this Special Research Theme (SRT), pandemic-induced change includes, but is not limited to, shifting patterns of and new locations for work and employment; changes in the mode and frequency of access to health care; increased social isolation; the accelerated integration of work and home life; a redefinition of therapeutic foci, such as recreation, community, and entertainment; and reimagined relationships between organizations and workers, and workers with each other.

These changes will no doubt have myriad effects. There are impacts on the individuals themselves, given the various roles they inhabit, such as employee, coworker, leader, supervisor, significant other, parent, and family member. Such changes also stand to reshape how organizations and organizational leaders think about, approach, and manage the health and well-being of their workers.  

For instance, we know that one major pandemic change is the relocation of many jobs to the home setting. This raises questions related to how people navigate their workdays, how they balance family and work responsibilities, how they construct and maintain their various identities, how they stay healthy and productive, how they cope, and how their employers assist them (or not) in these regards. From the employer perspective, there are questions that revolve around the organization’s role in making a home-based workplace productive, strategically managing human capital with health and well-being in mind, and how they approach responsibilities in different areas of the employment relationship any differently. 

Here is a summary of some of the research questions that might be pursued in this SRT:

  1. How do people navigate their workdays due to pandemic-induced change? How do they balance family and work responsibilities in new work contexts? How do they construct and maintain their various identities with increased integration of work and nonwork lives?
  2. How do individuals stay healthy and productive? How do their employers assist them (or not) in this regard? What is the organization’s role in making a home-based workplace productive?
  3. What does leadership mean as it relates to caring for employees who may do all or part of their work virtually, or who must work with those who are virtual while they are not? What are the leader’s responsibilities and roles in taking care of employees, particularly in contexts where the organizational imperatives produce competing tensions with such care?
  4. How has pandemic-induced change impacted the health and well-being of specific types of employees, such as teachers, health-care workers, retail employees, or other key workers?
  5. How has the pandemic influenced the health and well-being of diverse, minority, marginalized, or other vulnerable populations?
  6. What organizational systems or structures, particularly ones created or advanced due to the pandemic, enable, hinder, or otherwise impact how health and well-being initiatives are deployed and, more importantly, whether they are effective? How are such systems and structures changing?
  7. How have organizational identities, missions, values, and cultures adapted as a result of the pandemic in ways that affect individual health and well-being? How are such changes and adaptations being institutionalized?
  8. What data are being gathered on employees as a result of the pandemic that can be leveraged to better understand and manage health and well-being?
  9. What are governments or NGOs doing as a result of the pandemic that have the impact to change knowledge around individual health and well-being, and influence how employers and employees approach their responsibilities in this regard?

While these represent some of the relevant questions around people’s health, well-being, and work lives as affected by pandemic-induced change, we welcome others that consider such outcomes from the perspective of the individual, group, organization, or industry. We also see how pandemic-related changes are reshaping how we think about health and well-being in specific fields, such as education and health care, where the challenges for administrators, managers, and employees alike are changing at a rapid pace. As such, for this SRT, interdisciplinary teams (e.g., management fields along with education, economics, health care, engineering, etc.), international and comparative data, multilevel analyses, and methodological diversity are especially welcome.  

We must learn from the pandemic and update our knowledge regarding what health and well-being, and the enabling contexts surrounding them, mean in light of such change. AMD is well suited to this goal—a better articulation of what is happening during the pandemic, how what is happening may provoke lasting change, and plausible explanations for why in either case. We hope that authors submitting to the SRT will help us understand how pandemic-induced change is reshaping our understanding of people’s work lives, their health and well-being, and the employer-employee relationship. 

Deadline: Submissions will be reviewed on a rolling basis until November 1, 2021.

Submission Guidelines: Standard guidelines apply to papers sent in under the SRT. Namely, manuscripts may be submitted as traditional papers or as Discoveries-in-Brief. In the Author Center on ScholarOne Manuscripts/AMD, if submitting a traditional paper, please select the Manuscript Type, Special Research Theme (SRT): Individual Health, Well-Being, and Work Lives in the Age of Pandemic, for your manuscript. For Discoveries-in-Brief, select the Discoveries-in-Brief Manuscript Type upon submission, but be sure to indicate the SRT in your accompanying cover letter. Discoveries-in-Brief should be crafted in more creative and engaging ways than traditional papers. When composing such manuscripts, we encourage authors to relax their use of traditional headings and traditional “academic writing.” This can be accomplished by incorporating findings throughout and putting methods in an appendix. All Discoveries-in-Brief submissions should be fewer than 20 pages and use fewer than 20 references.

Review Process: Articles will be reviewed by at least one member of the AMD Editorial Team. Articles chosen for review will be sent to two reviewers with domain expertise. Articles chosen for acceptance will be published in one or more issues depending on the rate of submissions and the timeliness of the review process. 

About AMD: AMD is a premier journal for the empirical exploration of data describing or investigating compelling phenomena. AMD is not a journal for deductive theorizing or hypothesis testing. Authors are encouraged to present findings without the need to “reverse engineer” any theoretical framework or hypotheses (HARKing). AMD publishes discoveries resulting from the data mining of both quantitative and qualitative data sources. AMD articles are phenomenon-forward rather than theory-forward. This means that AMD papers look quite different than articles sent to other empirical journals. The goal at the front end of an AMD paper should primarily be to demonstrate the novelty/interestingness of the phenomenon and why current theory fails to explain the phenomenon. It is in the discussion of an AMD paper where a plausible theoretical explanation—the theoretical contribution—is provided. The goal of every AMD paper is that the discoveries derived from the empirical exploration will open new lines of research inquiry.