An Institutional Approach to Ethical Human Resource Management Practice: Comparing Brazil, Colombia and the UK

  • Beatriz Maria Braga
  • Eduardo de Camargo Oliva
  • Edson Keyso de Miranda Kubo
  • Steve McKennaEmail author
  • Julia Richardson
  • Terry Wales
Original Paper


The impact of contextual influences on human resource management and management more generally has been the focus of much scholarly interest. However, we still know very little about how context impacts on the practice of ethical HRM specifically. Therefore, drawing on 59 in-depth interviews with HR practitioners in Brazil, Colombia and the UK, this paper theorizes how they perceive the ethical dimensions of their roles within their respective national contexts and how the way they act in relation to them is informed, shaped and directed by the institutional context. In doing so it provides an important insight into three key themes: first, the views of HRM practitioners and managers about ethical HRM and how they articulate what it means to be ethical; second, how they respond to perceived ethical dilemmas; and third, how their responses are influenced by institutional forces and associated beliefs, values and scripts. In addition to providing an ‘emic’ perspective of this increasingly important topic and theorizing the experience and practice of ethical HRM, the paper answers calls for more international comparisons of ethical HRM practice in contemporary organizations.


Comparative ethical HRM Institutional theory Qualitative methods 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10551_2019_4257_MOESM1_ESM.docx (23 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 22 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beatriz Maria Braga
    • 1
  • Eduardo de Camargo Oliva
    • 2
  • Edson Keyso de Miranda Kubo
    • 2
  • Steve McKenna
    • 3
    Email author
  • Julia Richardson
    • 3
  • Terry Wales
    • 4
  1. 1.Fundação Getulio Vargas – Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo (FGV-EAESP)Bela VistaBrazil
  2. 2.Universidade Municipal de São Caetano do Sul (USCS)São Caetano do SulBrazil
  3. 3.Curtin Business SchoolPerthAustralia
  4. 4.University Campus SuffolkSuffolkUK

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