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 explore 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.