Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Christina Stamper

Second Advisor

Paula Eckert


The purpose of this study was to investigate the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the human resource management practices of the American auto industry. The information used in this study was based on interviews with twelve employees from four different companies. For the sake on anonymity, the four companies were referred to as Auto, Dealer, Financial, and Marketing. The interview questions covered topics related to the potential changes made to human resource management practices such as workplace location, communications, talent acquisition and retention, employee training and development, employee engagement, workplace safety, labor relations, benefits and compensation, and organizational culture. It was found that many companies made comparable changes across these areas. Office based positions, communications, recruiting, and training practices were largely moved online. Changes to workplace safety universally involved the implementation of CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19. Culture often struggled but was also adapted to become more flexible and employee focused. All employees expressed satisfaction with the way that these companies adapted to the changes brought about by the pandemic. A company’s ability to effectively navigate the changing environment was dependent on their size and access to resources, as well as their ability to remove physical/in-person requirements from the tasks necessary to the company’s operations. Though Auto and Financial thrived due to their size and ability to move their operations online, companies that require some level of in-person interaction, such as Marketing, were less able to make positive permanent long-term changes. Companies like Dealer, that have heavy in-person requirements and a relatively small pool of resources, struggled throughout the pandemic but were able to survive without sustaining damage. Although there were many challenges and negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the companies analyzed were overall able to navigate the changing environment through adaptations and innovations.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Connor Bradley Thesis Defense.pdf (442 kB)
Defense Presentation