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Relational human resource management in health-care institutions: Meet new professor Qian Zhang

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Qian Zhang joined the Telfer School of Management as an assistant professor in July 2022. She earned a PhD in industrial relations and human resources from the University of Toronto. We interviewed her to learn more about her research interest in human resources management (HRM).

Why did you choose to study strategic human resources management? Any personal motivation?

My research interests in this field started with the interviews I conducted during my PhD program to exploreQian Zhang how young health-care organizations can improve their performance through human resource management. I was impressed by how leaders of these organizations emphasize the role of HRM in helping them achieve their strategic objectives.  For instance, private hospitals use specific types of HR practices for survival and growth. Thus, I hope to further understand the theoretical and practical importance of strategic HRM.

How does your PhD training inform your current research?

During my PhD training, I witnessed how COVID-19 influenced businesses and how organizations had to quickly redesign their HR practices and systems accordingly, to obtain resilience and survive. My PhD training allowed me to learn advanced theories in HR and apply them in my current research programs. My research investigates and explores how HR can help different organizations achieve their strategic goals.

Do you have any new publications in the pipeline that you’d like to share with us?

One of my most recent publications is a forthcoming book chapter entitled “Managing interprofessional teamwork: Strategic relational human resource management and the power of relational coordination.”  This line of research spotlights how organizations can benefit from adopting a relational view in managing their employees. When we notice the trend of work interdependence and collaboration becomes more and more prevalent, the impact of relational human resource management will show up. Organizations, teams, and individual employees are essentially interrelated in today’s business world. Relational human resource management is designed to enhance their connection and smooth the collaboration among them.

How can your research influence business communities in Canada?

Relational human resource management with a strategic focus is designed to facilitate organizations achieving their business goals. Its contributions will be more prevalent in business communities where co-operation and collaboration matter. For instance, health-care institutions can benefit from implementing relational human resource management for enhanced efficiency and quality of health-care service delivery. In addition, when firms pursue development and involvement in relevant business ecosystems, relational human resource management can also help them get connected.  

About the Author

Zoï Coucopoulos a occupé le poste de coordonnatrice des initiatives stratégiques, où elle soutenait la croissance de la qualité et de l'intensité de la recherche de l’École de gestion Telfer en aidant les chercheurs et les groupes de recherche à élaborer des programmes de recherche interdisciplinaires et des activités de sensibilisation. De plus, elle travaillait à faciliter le développement de groupes de recherche stratégiques et à aider les membres du corps professoral et les étudiantes et étudiants diplômés à contribuer au développement d'une culture solide basée sur la recherche.</br></br>Zoï Coucopoulos previously held the position of Coordinator of Strategic Initiatives, where she supported the growth of the Telfer School of Management’s research quality and intensity by assisting researchers and research groups in developing interdisciplinary research programs and outreach activities. She also facilitated the development of strategic research groups and helped faculty members and research-based graduate students contribute to the development of a strong research culture.