HRM Strategies in Response to the First Covid Lockdown: A Typology of French Workplaces

Philippe Askenazy, Clément Brébion, Pierre Courtioux, Christine Erhel, Malo Mofakhami

Research output: Working paperResearchpeer-review

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The working paper shows the interest of crossing the literature on crisis management and on firm flexibility to analyse changes in working conditions and human resource management, facing unexpected crises such as the Covid pandemic. Based on a survey conducted by the French Ministry of Labour in April 2020 at the workplace level, which was matched with other datasets on pre-existing economic and employment situation, it proposes a typology of workplace strategies in terms of work organisation and human resources in response to the first lockdown in France. It shows that it is possible to identify five main types of workplace strategy: the teleworking strategy, used massively to persevere in keeping up activity; a temporary exit strategy, using the short-time work programmes supported by public policies; an innovation strategy, concerning workplaces which had or have chosen to maintain their activity on site; a retrenchment strategy leading to a decrease in employment level; a mixed strategy that combined internal or spatial flexibility partial retrenchment using short-time work and related public support as resources. These five strategies could be linked to various resources that may be used to respond to a crisis: some of them were pre-existing at the workplace level and depend mainly work relations (teleworking agreement, wage level, risk exposure and health and safety committee); others relate to labour market institutions (legislation on short-time contracts and temps, etc.) and to labour market policy (short-time programmes and their support, etc.).
Original languageFrench
Place of PublicationNoisy-le-Grand Cedex
Number of pages41
ISBN (Electronic)9782111672178
Publication statusPublished - 2023
SeriesDocument de travail


  • Health crisis
  • Human resources management
  • Working conditions
  • Labour market policies
  • Firms' streategies
  • Crise sanitaire
  • Gestion de ressources humaines
  • Conditions de travail
  • Politiques de l'emploi
  • Stratégies d'entreprise

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