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School of Business | Department of Management and International Business | International Business | 2013
Thesis number: 13295
The rationales of practices in executive search - A discourse analytic perspective
Author: Peltonen, Lauri
Title: The rationales of practices in executive search - A discourse analytic perspective
Year: 2013  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management and International Business
Academic subject: International Business
Index terms: kansainväliset yhtiöt; international companies; johtajat; managers; rekrytointi; recruiting; konsultointi; consulting; henkilöstöhallinto; personnel management; kansainvälinen; international; Saksa; Germany
Pages: 119
Key terms: executive search; executive recruitment; practices; rationalisation; critical discourse analysis; Germany; international human resource management
The purpose of this study is to examine how executive search consultants make sense of the features and motives of their work practices. The study focuses on assessing the meanings attributed to the practices in the consultants' discourse.

The research material comprises of the interview accounts of five executive search consultants, primarily active in the German and the Nordic labour markets, on their work in executive recruitment. A critical discourse analytic methodology is applied to the accounts in order to connect linguistic analysis with theory on social practices.

As a result of the analysis, four distinctive discourses, signifying specific ways of talking and reasoning about practices, were identified as characteristic for the executive search consultants included in the research sample. The consultants' efforts in mediating between their clients and prospective job candidates, realising established executive search processes, offering critical and principled recruitment advisory, and providing strategic input on recruitment practices could be indicated as general themes on the features of practices in the respective discourses. In addition, the discourses, denoted as "entrepreneurial", "functional", "professional" and "conceptual" with the aim of reflecting their typical characteristics, point towards that the consultants attribute a variety of motives to their work practices, among others including fairly pragmatic, technical, ethical and theoretical considerations respectively.

The discourses were generally found to be complementary to one another, representing a range of ways for making sense of the features and motives of practices in executive search. However, some contradictions between them were also noted. This could be seen to reflect both diversity and tensions in the ways in which the executive search consultants relate to their work practices.
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