Quotation Biron, Michal, De Cieri, Helen, Fulmer, Ingrid, Lin, Veronica Cai-Hui, Mayrhofer, Wolfgang, Nyfoundi, Margarita, Sanders, Karin, Shipton, Helen, Sun, James Jian Min. 2021. Structuring for innovative responses to human resource challenges: A skunk works approach. Human Resource Management Review. 31 (2), 1-16.




Increasingly, organizations find that they need to be more flexible and innovative in responding to unexpected and emergent human resource (HR) issues affecting their members, such as outbreaks of infectious diseases (e.g., COVID-19) forcing massive transition to remote work, changes in industry landscape altering learning and development, and politically-driven global mobility regulations restricting people flow. Organizations have long utilized informal structures known as “skunk works”, flexible groups empowered to work rapidly with minimal management constraints, to address technological challenges. In this article, we aim to better understand when and how organizations similarly employ skunk works-like structures to help them deal with rapidly evolving HR-related challenges. We discuss three examples of organizations that have utilized this approach. We then integrate the learning insights from these examples to develop a framework supported by a set of research questions to guide future scholarship into HR skunk works. We emphasize that there are both benefits and drawbacks of innovative organizational structures for addressing HR challenges alongside regular, established ways of working.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Human Resource Management Review
Citation Index SSCI
WU-Journal-Rating new MAN-A, STRAT-B, WH-B
Language English
Title Structuring for innovative responses to human resource challenges: A skunk works approach
Volume 31
Number 2
Year 2021
Page from 1
Page to 16
URL https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1053482220300413
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hrmr.2020.100768
Open Access N
Open Access Link https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053482220300413?via%3Dihub#!


Mayrhofer, Wolfgang (Details)
Biron, Michal (University of Haifa, Israel)
De Cieri, Helen (Monash University, Australia)
Fulmer, Ingrid (Rutgers University, United States/USA)
Lin, Veronica Cai-Hui (University of Queensland, Australia)
Nyfoundi, Margarita (University of Birmingham, United Kingdom)
Sanders, Karin (UNSW Business School, Australia)
Shipton, Helen (Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom)
Sun, James Jian Min (Renmin University, China)
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