Ethical values of executive search consultants

Journal of Business Ethics 29 (3):213 - 226 (2001)
Abstract
The present research was designed to investigate the absolute and relative levels of ethical convictions of executive search consultants, or "headhunters", in regard of their search practices. Executive search consultants were defined as trained specialists who helped client organizations identify and evaluate the suitability of job candidates for top, senior, and middle-level management and executive positions. Despite frequent reports of unethical search practices in the media, results based on a sample of 184 headhunters and non-headhunter executives showed that headhunters were inclined to adhere stringently to a selected set of ethical values, both in absolute terms and in comparison with the expectations of non-headhunter executives. The differences had implications not only for the integrity and continued existence of the headhunting profession, but also for the ethical development of new executive search consultants. Future research directions were suggested.
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