Future Research

The ethical issues facing organizations in recruitment and selection are under-researched. That is surprising considering its importance for society, organizations and individuals alike. The recent growing interest in the ethical dimensions of organizations’ actions has not yet impacted the recruitment and selection process and there are thus significant gaps in knowledge and practice. The literature found is mostly practitioner-oriented and based on reflection rather than empirical data or research.

In this chapter we have noted the limited number of empirical research studies on values-based recruitment and selection, and those that do exist are almost exclusively in the field of healthcare. A preliminary literature review shows that researchers are becoming more aware of the importance of values for organizational actions as part of the way individuals perform their duties. Further research could usefully explore the application of values within sectors outside of healthcare.

Ethics in the organizations’ relationship with applicants is the focus of some, but scarce, empirical research in the third section of the chapter. The papers here are however mainly theoretical and prescriptive. Research is needed to explore the relevance of fairness and justice, from organizational perspectives, as well as from both successful and unsuccessful candidates. Further, empirical research is also needed to understand the mechanisms that organizations can be put in place to promote and develop an ethical relationship with applicants.

Ethics in executive search and headhunting has also been subject to little empirical research. Most literature is practitioner-oriented and refers to codes of conduct applicable to the field. Prescriptive literature offers advice on what should be done, but these views are based on the authors’ opinions and are not informed by systematic evidence from candidates. Ethical research in other areas, such as executive education, can become a source of inspiration for new studies (e.g., Floyd et al., 2013).

We found no research literature focused on the ethical aspects of the use of social networks for recruitment and selection purposes. The main publications we did find focus on descriptive aspects of these tools and on the advantages and risks of using them. In some articles we can infer the ethical aspects, in others a short reference is made (Blacksmith & Poeppelman, 2014), but evidence is sparse. Therefore, this subject is a promising avenue for future research.

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