GLOBAL MOBILITY IN TIMES OF GLOBAL CALAMITY: Covid-19 Reactions, Responses, and Ramifications for the Future of Work

Call for papers for: Journal of Global Mobility

Paper submission deadline: March 31, 2021

Guest Editors:

Benjamin Bader, Newcastle University Business School, UK

Pia Faeth, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK

Anthony Fee, University of Technology Sydney, Australia

Margaret Shaffer, University of Oklahoma, USA

Imagine the world is facing a global crisis that is unprecedented outside of (world) war times. The European Union has introduced passport controls again and countries around the world are closing their borders to foreigners. Non-essential businesses have been shut down – first in Italy and later in numerous countries. Country after country has entered into lockdown. Non-essential workers are being ordered home, foreign staff repatriated, and major international airlines slashing up to ninety percent of their scheduled flights.
What reads like the script of the beginning of a horror movie is, in fact, a brief description of the ‘new normal’ at the end of March 2020. The cause for this previously “unthinkable” scenario is the outbreak of Covid-19, a new, severe illness that can affect people’s lungs and airways. Covid-19 is extremely contagious, with cases in many countries growing exponentially. Hundreds of thousands of fatalities are expected unless human contact and movement are heavily restricted. Health systems are reaching their limits (and beyond) and the dramatic measures above are in place in order to slow down the spread of the virus. Scientists estimate that the majority of the world’s population will be infected before a cure or vaccine can be developed. Just like the communities in which they operate, multinational corporations are in crisis mode, as they struggle to retain the global supply chains that are needed to meet the basic requirements of the population, such as food, energy, medication, and hospital/health care supplies, while ensuring the wellbeing of their staff. From a business academic perspective, it seems that the whole inhabited world is currently a hostile environment.
Since its inceptions, the Journal of Global Mobility (JGM) has been an academic platform to present and discuss recent developments in global mobility literature, with its aim to ‘keep a finger on the pulse’ as reflected in a number of timely Special Issues. Indeed, global mobility scholars have been at the forefront of business and management researcher on global calamities, such as the Covid-19 pandemic. Recent articles have explored the risks that crisis situations and hazardous environments present to global mobility practices and to expatriate staff from a range of perspectives (McNulty, Lauring, Jonasson, & Selmer, 2019). These include the impact of dangerous situations on expatriates’ performance or turnover intentions (Bader, Reade, & Froese, 2017; Bader & Schuster, 2015), on discrimination and hostility directed at global workers (Bader, Störmer, Schuster, & Bader, 2018; Hutchings, Michailova, & Harrison, 2013; McPhail & McNulty, 2015), and on expatriates’ physical and psychological health (Bhanugopan & Fish, 2008; Faeth & Kittler, 2017), including issues such as work environment, workload, and work-life balance (Bader, Froese, & Kraeh, 2018). While much research to date has focused on expatriates working in parts of the world seen as ‘hostile’, the current crisis of Covid-19 - like other recent virus outbreaks (e.g., H1N1 in 2009, Ebola in 2014-15) or natural disasters (e.g., extreme fires in California and South-Eastern Australia in 2019-20) - stress that dangerous contexts know no borders and can affect global workers in myriad locations. Similarly, while much expatriate research has focused on man-made threats such as terrorism, crime and civil unrest (Bader, Schuster & Dickmann, 2019) little is known about the stressor-outcome relationships emerging from other forms of threat (Fee, 2017).
Building on these ideas, this Special Issue of JGM is an immediate response to the recent Covid-19 pandemic. It aims to encourage global mobility scholars to investigate the reactions and responses of global workers and organizations to Covid-19 and to consider the ramifications of pandemics like Covid-19 for the future of global work addressed in previous research (e.g., Bader, Schuster, & Bader, 2017; Bader, Schuster, & Dickmann, 2019; Fee, McGrath-Champ, & Berti, 2019, Shaffer et al., 2012, 2016).

Submissions to this Special Issue need not focus exclusively on the Covid-19 pandemic, and we encourage authors to consider some of the issues raised by this pandemic in a broader context. While we are open to ideas about topics from prospective authors, an illustrative list of topics and related research questions that may be of particular interest to this Special Issue include:
•    The impact of threats and crises like those presented by Covid-19 on a range of expatriate types. For instance, how might the experiences of ‘low-status’ expatriates, who may be particularly vulnerable due to fewer resources, economic insecurity, and employment in high-risk vocations, differ from those of more priveleged expatriates? (Al Ariss, Vassilopoulou, Özbilgin, & Game, 2013; Haak-Saheem, Brewster & Lauring, 2019). Similarly, while much global mobility literature focuses on organization-assigned expatriates, how do the experiences of self-initiated expatriates, who are less (formally) supported by a home-office and so are more reliant on host-country protocols, differ?  
•    The implications of events like the current pandemic on different stakeholders involved in global mobility. What impositions, for instance, might be imposed on host-country nationals who work with international staff, expatriates’ colleagues and supervisors in the home- and host-country, and/or expatriate spouses and families? (Faeth & Kittler, 2020; Fee, 2020).
•    The processes and/or consequences of repatriating globally mobile staff under crisis conditions. For instance, how have organizations ensured the integration of repatriated staff into ‘domestic’ work settings with limited preparation and planning? What human resource or other characteristics might make organizations more agile in their responses under these situations? How will organizations and individuals manage the work-family interface for different global workers, such as (former) ‘business travellers’, who now may be asked to work from home and to communicate with colleagues around the world in different time zones?
•    Cross-national or cross-sector comparisons of organizational responses to crises events. For instance, how do governments differ in their evaluation of risk and/or management of international civil servants such as diplomatic staff during crisis events? And how do organizations respond to crises like this (cf. Oh & Oetzel, 2011, for an overview on disaster response)?
•    The experiences of expatriates like health care workers, who may be required to deploy internationally during the crisis when many other global workers are being repatriated. How do these individuals make sense of their international assignments? What do organizations do to select, prepare and support these workers? In what coping strategies do these employees engage and how is this different from other workers?
•    The boundaries of duty of care for organizations with a global workforce. For instance, in a crisis situation like the current Covid-19 pandemic, are organizations obligated to assist with home working arrangements? What (form of) support should be provided to local staff compared to foreign staff?
•    The potential for the current crisis to cause organizations to re-conceptualize global work. By way of example, how might organizations re-consider the nature of risks faced by staff in light of the breadth and speed of the current pandemic? How might organizations re-evaluate the use of technology-mediated assignments or consider new approaches to localizing foreign offices that may limit their reliance on international travel?
•    How do organizations, global workers, and families deal with mobility restrictions? For instance, how did the deal with the transition from minor to severe restrictions and back, like from closing/opening schools and businesses and (re)imposing measures of social distance? What other impacts are related to dealing with these restrictions?

These and other aspects are pressing and important topics in global mobility research. For potential inclusion in this Special Issue, we are seeking original quantitative and qualitative empirical research, theory development, case studies, and critical literature reviews from multiple disciplines (e.g., sociology, psychology, occupational health, migration, legal, risk and safety management, etc.). We particularly seek multi-level approaches to accommodate individual, organizational, and societal perspectives. We also encourage authors to consider how they may take advantage of innovative data collection techniques and secondary data to shed new insights into issues of global mobility during calamities via, for instance, drawing on relevant media reports, social media and/or online forums.


Submission Process and Timeline

To be considered for the Special Issue, manuscripts must be submitted no later than March 31, 2021, 5:00pm Central European Time. Papers may be submitted prior to this deadline as well. Submitted papers will undergo a double-blind peer review process and will be evaluated by at least two reviewers and a special issue editor. The final acceptance is dependent on the review team’s judgments of the paper’s contribution on four key dimensions:
(1)    Theoretical contribution: Does the article offer novel and innovative insights or meaningfully extend existing theory in the field of global mobility?
(2)    Empirical contribution: Does the article offer novel findings and are the study design, data analysis, and results rigorous and appropriate in testing the hypotheses or research questions?
(3)    Practical contribution: Does the article contribute to the improved management of global mobility?
(4)    Contribution to the special issue topic.

Authors should prepare their manuscripts for blind review according to the Journal of Global Mobility author guidelines, here. Please remove any information that may potentially reveal the identity of the authors to the reviewers. Manuscripts should be submitted electronically at: For enquiries regarding the special issue please contact Benjamin Bader at [log in to unmask].

Important dates
Paper submission deadline: March 31, 2021
Acceptance notification: December 2021
Publication: March 2022


Al Ariss, A., Vassilopoulou, J., Özbilgin, M. F., & Game, A. (2013). Understanding career experiences of skilled minority ethnic workers in France and Germany. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 24(6), 1236-1256.
Bader, A. K., Froese, F. J., Kraeh, A. (2018). Clash of cultures? German expatriates' work-life boundary adjustment in South Korea. European Management Review. 15(3), 357-374.
Bader, A. K., Reade, C., Froese, F. J. (2017). Terrorism and expatriate withdrawal cognitions: the differential role of perceived work and non-work constraints. The International Journal of Human Resource Management. 30(11), 1769-1793.
Bader, B. and Schuster, T. (2015), 'Expatriate Social Networks in Terrorism-Endangered Countries: An Empirical Analysis in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia', Journal of International Management, 21(1), 63-77.
Bader, B., Schuster, T., & Bader, A. K. (2017). Expatriate Management: Transatlantic Dialogues. (B. Bader, T. Schuster, & A. K. Bader, Eds.). London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Bader, B., Störmer, S., Bader, A. K., & Schuster, T. (2018). Institutional Discrimination of Women and Workplace Harassment of Female Expatriates: Evidence from 25 Host Countries. Journal of Global Mobility: The Home of Expatriate Research, Online first.
Bader, B., Schuster, T. & Dickmann, M. (2019). Managing people in HEs: lessons learned and new grounds in HR research. The International Journal of Human Resource Management.
Bhanugopan, R., & Fish, A. (2008). The impact of business crime on expatriate quality of work-life in Papua New Guinea. Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 46(1), 68–84.
Faeth, P. & Kittler, M. (2020). Expatriate management in hostile environments from a multi-stakeholder perspective – a systematic review. Journal of Global Mobility: The Home of Expatriate Management Research, in press.
Faeth, P. & Kittler, M. (2017). How do you fear? Examining expatriates’ perception of danger and its consequences. Journal of Global Mobility: The Home of Expatriate Management Research, 5 (4), pp. 391-417.
Fee, A. (2020). How host-country nationals manage the demands of hosting expatriates: An exploratory field study. Journal of Global Mobility: The Home of Expatriate Management Research, in press.
Fee, A., (2017). Expatriates’ safety and security during crisis. In Research Handbook of Expatriates (Y. McNulty & J. Selmer, Eds.). Cheltenham and Northampton: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Fee, A., Mcgrath-Champ, S., & Berti, M. (2019). Protecting expatriates in hostile environments: institutional forces influencing the safety and security practices of internationally active organizations. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 30(11), 1709-1736.
Haak-Saheem, W., Brewster, C. and Lauring, J. (2019). Low-status expatriates. Journal of Global Mobility: The Home of Expatriate Management Research, 7 (4), pp. 321-324.
Hutchings, K., Michailova, S., & Harrison, E. C. (2013). Neither Ghettoed Nor Cosmopolitan: A Study of Western Women’s Perceptions of Gender and Cultural Stereotyping in the UAE. Management International Review, 53(2), 291–318.
McPhail, R. & McNulty, Y. (2015). 'Oh, the places you won't go as an LGBT expat!' A study of HRM's duty of care to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender expatriates in dangerous locations. European Journal of International Management, 9(6): 737-765.
McNulty, Y., Lauring, J., Jonasson, C. & Selmer, J. (2019). Highway to Hell? Managing expatriates in crisis. Journal of Global Mobility, 7(2), 157-180.
Oh, C. H., & Oetzel, J. (2011). Multinationals’ response to major disasters: How does subsidiary investment vary in response to the type of disaster and the quality of country governance? Strategic Management Journal, 32(6), 658–681.
Shaffer, M. A., Kraimer, M. L., Chen, Y.-P., & Bolino, M. C. (2012). Choices, Challenges, and Career Consequences of Global Work Experiences: A Review and Future Agenda. Journal of Management, 38(4), 1282–1327.
Shaffer, M. A., Reiche, B. S., Dimitrova, M., Lazarova, M., Westman, M., Chen, S., & Wurtz, O. (2016). Work and family role adjustment of different types of global professionals: Scale development and validation. Journal of International Business Studies, 47(2), 113-139.

Stay safe and healthy.

Best regards,


Professor Jan Selmer, Ph.D.
Founding Editor-in-Chief

Journal of Global Mobility (JGM)

Department of Management, Aarhus University

Latest Book: McNulty, Y. & Selmer J. (Eds.) (2017), Research Handbook of Expatriates. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar. Electronic version

New Article:   Stoermer, S., Lauring, J. & Selmer, J. (2020), “Job Characteristics and Perceived Cultural Novelty: Exploring the Consequences for Expatriate Academics' Job Satisfaction", International Journal of Human Resource Managament. Download
New Article:  Stoermer, S., Lauring, J. & Selmer, J. (2019), “Does Angry Temperament Undermine the Beneficial Effects of Expatriates’ Proactive Personality?, European Management Review. Download.
New Article: McNulty, Y., Lauring, J., Jonasson, C., & Selmer, J. (2019), “Highway to Hell? Fit-Dependent Expatriate Crisis Events and How to Deal with Them”, Journal of Global Mobility. Download

New Article: Lauring, J., Selmer, J. & Kubovcikova, A. (2019), "Personality in Context: Effective Traits for Expatriate Managers at Different Levels", International Journal of Human Resource Managament. Download

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