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

Abstract

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.

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Appendices

Appendix A: Interview Guide

Questions Purpose
1. Questions and discussion about what ethical HRM is and whether ethical HRM is possible To explore how participants constructed ethical HRM and what influenced their constructions
To explore what might be core elements of an ethical HRM for practicing HR professionals
2. Questions and discussion about how they thought about and tried to practise an ethical HRM To explore the struggle of participants in balancing the influences on their decisions about issues they perceived as ethical
To investigate what enhances/constrains the capability to practise ethical HRM as they have defined it. Specifically to identify institutional factors and logics that influence practice
3. Asking participants to tell stories, events of ethical issues To explore how participants perceived an issue to be ethical
To investigate how they dealt with these issues and what influenced them in doing so

Appendix B

See Table 2.

Table 2 Regulative, normative and cultural-cognitive elements that provide guides to action in ethical HRM practice in Brazil, Colombia and the UK

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Braga, B.M., de Camargo Oliva, E., de Miranda Kubo, E.K. et al. An Institutional Approach to Ethical Human Resource Management Practice: Comparing Brazil, Colombia and the UK. J Bus Ethics 169, 57–76 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-019-04257-x

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Keywords

  • Comparative ethical HRM
  • Institutional theory
  • Qualitative methods