Exploring mental illness in the workplace: The role of HR professionals and processes

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International Journal of Human Resource Management


In this overview, we introduce a special issue featuring six articles on various aspects related to the role of Human Resource Management in managing mental illness at work. This introduction article starts with an overview of what we know and do not know about mental illness in the context of work and why more insights related to mental illness at work are much needed. The special issue features a unique set of articles that employ different methodologies and approaches to studying mental illness at work. Theoretical perspectives presented include tension-centred theory, ethical HRM, diversity theory, person-job fit, and critical disability studies. The articles outline and discuss HRM policies, practices and strategies used to manage individuals with mental illness, the experiences of individuals with mental illness in the context of work, and includes a review on disclosure of mental illness in the workplace. Recommendations for continued research are presented and a range of theoretical lenses and perspectives are discussed as possible foundations for future inquiry focusing on context, sampling, and methods, as well as further empirical investigations of the full range of stakeholders’ perspectives (i.e. individuals with mental illness; co-workers and peers; and organizational-level factors such as policies, and leaders and HR managers’ perspectives). This special issue aims to enhance our knowledge of the role HRM can play and aspires to spark interest from both scholars and practitioners as an increasing number of individuals are navigating the workplace while managing mental health conditions.

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