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EDI 2023 (City, University of London) - Call for Conference Papers

  • 1.  EDI 2023 (City, University of London) - Call for Conference Papers

    Posted 25 days ago

    Dis(abled) Employees and the Hybrid Workspace

    Dr. Shreyashi Chakraborty, University of Greenwich (UK); Dr. Amit Jain, S. P. Jain Institute of Management and Research (India)

    The hybrid workplace has been a point of discussion even before the outbreak of COVID-19 (Felstead, 2012; Halford, 2005). COVID-19 has accelerated the uptake of hybrid workplaces by employers and the continuity of work through remote work arrangements during the lockdown (Chung et al., 2020) supports the hybrid model of work in the near future. COVID-19 pandemic has also exacerbated the existing inequalities in society at large (United Nations, 2020) with a disproportionately negative impact on vulnerable and marginalized workers. Hence, the new zeal of a hybrid workplace will have many implications for HR professionals (Verma et al., 2022) who are entrusted with various roles of a change agent, employee champion, and strategic partner (Ulrich, 2021). One of the challenges that employers and HR professionals are likely to encounter in the hybrid world is ensuring fairness in different systems, processes, and policies (Mortensen and Haas 2021) for diverse employee groups.

    Employees from diverse backgrounds will not only have different experiences in hybrid workplaces (Arora & Kumari, 2022) but would also have different expectations. Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) (Shore et al., 2009) are a vulnerable group in society who had limited or hindered access to specialized social or medical services or support systems during the pandemic and had to reorganize their lives to learn and master new rules and norms (Yarskaya-Smirnova & Sorokina, 2021). The nuanced understanding of the life situations of PwDs beyond the office workspace, which has the potential to impact the well-being and performance of the employee, makes the task of redesigning or reengineering organizational characteristics and the environment with the objective of enhancing psychological safety and inclusion in the hybrid space (Edmondson and Mortensen 2021) more daunting for HR professionals.

           The understanding of diversity within PwDs (Woodhams & Danieli, 2000) is critical for designing and implementing inclusive hybrid workplaces. For example, a (dis)abled researcher was able to participate in virtual fieldwork during the COVID-19 pandemic (Bhakta, 2022). Prior to the pandemic, she was always physically separated from other researchers during fieldwork. On the other hand, PwDs struggled without ergonomic equipment or assistive technology in their home environment (Dirks & Kurth, 2022). People with mental health disabilities were more likely to be away from work or worked for reduced hours during the COVID-19 pandemic (Bryan et al., 2022). Interestingly the usage, experience, and perceived usefulness of the internet during and post-COVID-19 is different across different forms of disability (Park, 2022). Such differences would not only engender different experiences, and perceptions for PwDs but also would entail significant efforts from employers and HR to improve the effectiveness of hybrid workplaces.

    Technology plays a significant role while implementing remote or hybrid work. Information and communication technology plays a significant role in the educational inclusion of PwDs (Medina-Garcia et al., 2021). The usage of the internet and adoption of technology amongst PwDs has been stable before and during the pandemic but there has been a substantial increase when it comes to people without disabilities (Park, 2022). Interestingly, online classrooms became arenas where professor- PwD student expectations and relationships were modified with less rigid expectations not necessarily hinging on what an ideal student should look like (Parsloe & Smith, 2022). Such changes in relationships and expectations could also be occurring in workplaces between managers and PwD employees facilitated by technology.

    The stream invites submissions that provide theoretical, empirical, or methodological contribution which enhances our understanding of how hybrid or future workplaces could be developed or designed to deliver inclusion and equality for PwDs. Some of the questions that could be explored through this stream would be

    1.     What are the different hybrid or remote workplace experiences of employees with different types of disabilities during and post-COVID-19 pandemic?

    2.     What is the role or contribution of different support systems (not restricted to organizational support mechanisms) for PwDs in designing and implementing hybrid workplaces?

    3.     What all factors does HR need to consider while designing and implementing hybrid workplaces with the inclusion of PwDs as one of the objectives?

    4.     How are the relationships evolving with managers, co-workers, and organizational leaders for PwDs in hybrid or remote workplaces?

    5.     What are the positive impacts of hybrid/ remote workplaces for PwDs?

    6.     What are the challenges for PwDs in a hybrid/remote environment?

    7.     What is the role of technology or what are the pitfalls of technology while designing and implementing hybrid workplaces?

    8.     Any other topic relevant to the theme of the stream

    Submissions to the stream may be in the form of extended abstracts (5-8 pages), as well as full papers, by the deadline of March 15, 2023


    Arora, S., & Kumari, N. (2022). Imagining benefits and challenges for future hybrid workplace to enable reentry for women on career break. International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations26(3), 231. https://doi.org/10.1504/IJNVO.2022.122857

    Bhakta, A. (2022). A less muddy glee? Perspectives from a disabled researcher in the era of virtual global south fieldwork. Area54(4), 531-535.

    Bryan, M., Bryce, A., Rice, N., Roberts, J., & Sechel, C. (2022). Exploring mental health disability gaps in the labour market: the UK experience during COVID-19. Labour Economics78, 102253.

    Chung, H., Seo, H., Forbes, S., & Birkett, H. (2020). Working from home during the COVID-19 lockdown: Changing preferences and the future of work. https://kar.kent.ac.uk/83896/1/Working_from_home_COVID-19_lockdown.pdf

    Dirks, S., & Kurth, F. (2022, July). Working from Home in the COVID-19 Pandemic-Which Technological and Social Factors Influence the Working Conditions and Job Satisfaction of People with Disabilities?. In Computers Helping People with Special Needs: 18th International Conference, ICCHP-AAATE 2022, Lecco, Italy, July 11–15, 2022, Proceedings, Part II (pp. 183-191). Cham: Springer International Publishing.

    Edmondson, A., & Mortensen, M. (2021). What psychological safety looks like in a hybrid workplace. Harvard Business Review, 1–9. https://hbr.org/2021/04/what-psychological-safety-looks-like-in-a-hybrid-workplace

    Felstead, A. (2012). Rapid change or slow evolution? Changing places of work and their consequences in the UK. Journal of Transport Geography, 21, 31–38. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2011.10.002

    Halford, S. (2005). Hybrid workspace: re-spatialisations of work, organisation and management. New Technology, Work and Employment, 20(1), 19–33. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-005X.2005.00141.x

    Medina-García, M., Higueras-Rodríguez, L., García-Vita, M. D. M., & Doña-Toledo, L. (2021). ICT, disability, and motivation: Validation of a measurement scale and consequence model for inclusive digital knowledge. International journal of environmental research and public health18(13), 6770.

    Mortensen, M., & Haas, M. (2021). Making the Hybrid Workplace Fair. Harvard Buisness Review. https://hbr.org/2021/02/making-the-hybrid-workplace-fair

    Park, E. Y. (2022). Effect of COVID-19 on Internet Usage of People with Disabilities: A Secondary Data Analysis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health19(13), 7813.

    Parsloe, S. M., & Smith, E. M. (2022). COVID as a catalyst: shifting experiences of disability and (mis) fitting in the college classroom. Communication Education71(3), 204-222.

    Shore, L. M., Chung-Herrera, B. G., Dean, M. A., Ehrhart, K. H., Jung, D. I., Randel, A. E., & Singh, G. (2009). Diversity in organizations: Where are we now and where are we going? Human Resource Management Review, 19(2), 117–133. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hrmr.2008.10.004

    Verma, A., Venkatesan, M., Kumar, M., & Verma, J. (2022). The future of work post Covid-19: key perceived HR implications of hybrid workplaces in India. Journal of Management Development, 42(1), 13–28. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMD-11-2021-0304

    Woodhams, C., & Danieli, A. (2000). Disability and diversity – a difference too far? Personnel Review, 29(3), 402–417. https://doi.org/10.1108/00483480010324779

    Yarskaya-Smirnova, V., & Sorokina, N. (2021). 'I'D LIKE TO GO BACK TO THE TIMES WHEN THERE WAS NO       PANDEMIC': THE TEMPORALITY OF THE COVID-19 CRISIS IN THE LIFE OF PEOPLE WITH                  DISABILITIES. Journal of Social Policy Studies, 651-668.


    Dr. Shreyashi Chakraborty

    University of Greenwich

    London (UK)


    Shreyashi Chakraborty
    University of Greenwich