Recontextualising service work and HRM in the digital economy: An integrated framework for theory and practice

Rory Donnelly*, Jennifer Johns

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
76 Downloads (Pure)


Continuing advances in digital technology are producing widespread changes in work and its management, particularly where service work is performed away from an employer’s premises, referred to as remote working. Whilst such changes can offer remote workers greater temporal and locational flexibilities, there is growing concern that their work is being insidiously commodified in line with Labour Process Theory to enhance the position of firms in Global Value Chains (GVCs). Integrating insights from these frameworks and relevant fields of scholarship, we examine how the nature and location of remote work and its HRM are being recontextualised. Our systematic analysis of peer-reviewed published empirical findings demonstrates the need to broaden the existing firm-centric focus of the GVC literature to encompass workers and their HRM, particularly as there are increasing numbers of workers operating outside firms using digital technology. It also reveals that the digitisation of the labour process is generating a spectrum of nuanced and unfolding implications for remote workers and their HRM, and a complexity of spatial reconfigurations, which provoke debate and agendas for future research and HRM practice.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Early online date13 Mar 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Mar 2020

Structured keywords

  • MGMT theme Global Political Economy
  • MGMT International Business Management and Strategy
  • MGMT theme Work Futures


  • digital technology
  • remote working
  • flexibility
  • global value chains
  • labour process theory
  • geography


Dive into the research topics of 'Recontextualising service work and HRM in the digital economy: An integrated framework for theory and practice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this