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Special Issue on sustainable career and innovation during manufacturing transformation

Special issue call for papers from Career Development International

Special Issue Call for Papers – Special Issue on sustainable career and innovation during manufacturing transformation

Special issue call for papers from Career Development International
Guest Editors
Tachia CHIN, Professor, School of Management, Hangzhou Dianzi University, Hangzhou, China, [email protected]

Weiwei WU, Professor, School of Management, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China,
 [email protected]

Hao JIAO, Professor, Business School, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China, [email protected]

Faced with increasing technology advancement, digitalization and automation, the global manufacturing industry is under severe pressure to innovate.  In concert with this industrial upgrading, the manufacturing processes as well as corresponding job and task design are likely to be altered to adapt to the changes in production modes.  As the use of smart machines and robots with artificial intelligence (AI) becomes prevalent, there are fewer job openings for humans (Wu et al., 2017; Hao et al., 2016; Chin and Liu, 2015).  Worse yet, the jobs left for humans often have enlarged responsibilities and higher levels of skill variety.

In fact, the job and skill requirements in global manufacturing have become more complex, as the relocation of production bases and the implementation of high-tech automation push firms to recruit for multinational and knowledgeable workers rather than workers with less education. Hence, in many emerging and developing countries with huge population and a large labor-intensive manufacturing sector, such as China, Vietnam, India and South Africa, more and more production workers who used to engage in simple and repetitive tasks are encountering difficulties in terms of developing a sustainable career paths as their jobs are increasing automated. For example, nowadays some workers need to operate computerized production equipment and electronic devices, while others need to be licensed, such as the ISO auditor certification to execute quality testing as prescribed in international trade regulations.  In the past, workers were not expected to have such higher level of skills.

In summary, in the current transition period of global manufacturing, production employees must continually update their knowledge and abilities to perform new, more complex jobs.   Some proactive workers may even actively engage in a form of crafting behavior—to re-organize and shape their prescribed jobs by changing the scope, tasks, or working relationships so that the jobs can better fit their motives, strengths and passions (Akkermans and Tim, 2017; Jawahar et al., 2012).  Furthermore, since required job characteristics are changing and evolving, the related term of person-job fit should be re-conceptualized accordingly.  In order to prove their own value under such a tough situation of diminishing job opportunities, it is vital for manufacturing employees to release their creative potential and to thrive on innovation, whereby they can more easily adjust their task boundaries with new, dynamic working processes towards creating a sustainable career.

Based on the foregoing discussion, it is imperative to probe into how production workers view their careers as well as develop a sustainable career path during the global manufacturing transformation.  However, there is a scarcity of research examining these important issues, as this is a relatively recent phenomenon. 

The primary purpose of this special issue, therefore, is to gain a better understanding of the career-related challenges facing production workers in this critical transition period from more comprehensive, systematic and cross-disciplinary perspectives. Suggested themes might relate to, but are certainly not limited to, the following questions:

•    What external and internal factors may help manufacturing workers achieve a sustainable career when firms are eager to use smart machines and robots to replace human beings?
•    How have the required work-related competencies and career development paths of production workers changed and how do these workers react to such changes during the process of global industrial upgrading?
•    What kinds of innovations are occurring in manufacturing? How does these affect manufacturing transformation and what implications they have for objective career success (e.g., salary, promotion) and subjective career success (e.g., career satisfaction, wellbeing, and meaningfulness) of production workers?
•    What are the changes in terms of performance indicators for manufacturing employees?   These indicators may concern task performance, organizational citizenship behaviour and counterproductive behaviour but also indicators of job performance that are less common in the realm of career research.
•    What work attitudes and behaviour of production workers may help career development during manufacturing transformation?

We welcome conceptual, theoretical, qualitative or quantitative papers. Contributions should report original research that is not under consideration at any other journal.  This call for papers is open and competitive, and all submitted papers will be subjected to anonymous review by referees with expertise in the field.
Review process for the selection and rejection of papers:
Submitted papers will be subject to a double-blind review process and will be evaluated by the Guest Editors and expert reviewers. Authors should prepare their manuscripts for blind review.
Authors are encouraged to submit a structured abstract (objective, method, results, and conclusion) by April, 30 to receive feedback from the Guest Editors and will be invited to participate in a SI conference hosted in Bejing Normal University in June, 2018. The deadline for submissions of full papers is 1st September, 2018

Please submit enquiries to Tachia CHIN at [email protected], Weiwei WU at [email protected], and Hao JIAO at [email protected].

Submissions should be made through ScholarOne Manuscripts:
Specific details on the format for submitted manuscripts can be found at the journal’s website
Please direct any general questions about the journal or any administrative matters to the Editor, Professor Jim Jawahar ([email protected])


Akkermans, J. and Tim, M. (2017), "Crafting your career: How career competencies relate to career success via job crafting", Applied Psychology, Vol. 66 No. 1, pp. 168-195.
Chin, T., and Liu, R-h. (2017), "Critical management issues in China’s socio-economic transformation: Multiple scientific perspectives to strategy and innovation", Chinese Management Studies, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp.12-18.
Chin, T., & Liu, R-h. (2015). Understanding labor conflicts in Chinese manufacturing: A yin-yang harmony perspective. International Journal of Conflict Management, 26(3), 288-315.
Jawahar, I, M., Kisamore, J., Stone, H. T., Rahn, D. (2012), "Differential Effect of Inter-Role Conflict on Proactive Individual’s Experience of Burnout", Journal of Business and Psychology, Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 243-254.
Jiao, H., Zhou, J., Gao, T., and Liu, X.  (2016). The More Interactions the Better? The Moderating Effect of the Interaction between Local Producers and Users of Knowledge on the relationship between R&D Investment and Regional Innovation Systems”, Technological Forecasting and Social Change. Vol. 110 pp. 13-20.
Jiao, H., Yang, D., Gao, M., Xie, P., and Wu, Y. (2016), “Entrepreneurial ability and technological innovation: evidence from public listed companies in an emerging economy”, Technological Forecasting and Social Change. Vol. 112 pp. 164-170.
Rowley, C. & Redding, G. (2012) ‘Building Human and Social Capital in Pacific Asia’, Asia Pacific Business Review, 18(3): 295-302.
The effect of technology management capability on new product development in service-
oriented manufacturing: A social capital perspective
The effect of technology management capability on new product development in service-
oriented manufacturing: A social capital perspective
Wu et al. (2017), “The effect of technology management capability on new product development in service-oriented manufacturing: A social capital perspective”, Asia Pacific Business Review.
Wu, WW, Yu, B, Wu, C. (2012). ‘How China's equipment manufacturing firms achieve successful independent innovation: The double helix mode of technological capability and technology management’, Chinese Management Studies. 6(1):160-183.