GLIMS Journal of Management Review
and Transformation
issue front

Angela Chen1 and Tine Köhler1

First Published 29 Mar 2022.
Article Information Volume 1, Issue 2 September 2022
Corresponding Author:

Angela Chen, Department of Management and Marketing, The University of Melbourne, 198 Berkeley Street, Level 10, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia.

Department of Management and Marketing, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia

Creative Commons Non Commercial CC BY-NC: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-Commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed.


This article develops a taxonomy to capture how the COVID-19 pandemic has created particular forms of employee suffering. During the pandemic, employee suffering is initiated by personal or work conditions (or both) that trigger pain and concurrently lead the employee to question their self-worth, identity, and personhood. The article introduces readers to three dimensions of suffering that helps to categorize and distinguish between different forms of suffering: the source of the suffering, the location of the suffering, and employees’ perceived control over the suffering. Building on this taxonomy, we develop suggestions for ways in which managers can use compassion to alleviate employee suffering. We further discuss how organizational structures can enhance or impede compassionate responses. Overall, this article provides managers with a useful theory-based tool to facilitate appropriate responses to employee suffering during the pandemic.


Compassion, alleviating suffering, management strategies, COVID-19, threat to self, identity, taxonomy


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