Dialectics and Dilemmas Arising from COVID 19 Immunity Testing: Presenting A Workforce Management Paradox

Steve Davies, Anthony Samuel, Gareth White, Helen Martin

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    Covid-19 has caused many businesses to rethink their short and potentially long-term workforce operations. The use of lateral flow serology can provide a clinically
    convenient approach for the assessment of prior infection with Covid-19. However, its widespread adoption in organisations seeking to use it to test for workforce immunity is controversial and confusing. This paper explores the paradoxical dilemmas and dialectics immunity workforce testing creates.

    This study adopts an interpretivist perspective, based upon data generated from the present CEO of a private service-based clinic. The fieldwork consisted of two semistructured interviews with the CEO. Data analysis was performed using cyclic thematic indexing whereby interview transcripts were color-coded to indicate discussions and issues that pertained to Smith and Lewis (2011) interpretation of dilemmas and dialectics.

    Providing staff with immunity tests at first glance appears sensible, decent and a caring action to take. Nevertheless, once such knowledge is personalised by the workforce they can through dialectic dialogue feel disadvantaged and harbour feelings of unfairness. Subsequently this paper suggest that immunity testing may only serve to Management raise awareness and deepen the original management dilemma of whether testing is a worthwhile activity.

    This paper aims to be amongst the first works to empirically explore the workforce management challenges that arise within small businesses within the service sector following the completion of Covid-19 immunity testing of their staff. It seeks to achieve this via utilizing the robust theoretical framework of paradox theory to examine Covid-19’s impact upon small business workforce management thinking and practice.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Work-Applied Management
    Issue number00
    Early online date18 Feb 2021
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2021


    • Covid-19
    • paradox
    • dilemma
    • dialectic
    • healthcare
    • immunity testing
    • lateral flow serology
    • management
    • leadership
    • working practices


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