Recruitment discrimination: how organizations use social power to circumvent laws and regulations. By: Hennekam, Sophie; Peterson, Jonathan; Tahssain-Gay, Loubna; Dumazert, Jean-Pierre. International Journal of Human Resource Management. May2021, Vol. 32 Issue 10, p2213-2241. 29p.

This study focuses on the relationships between social power and recruitment discrimination in organizations. We examine how individuals in different hierarchical positions in organizations in France intentionally discriminate in their recruitment practices through various means of circumventing internal and external anti-discrimination policies. Social power theory is used as a theoretical framework. Twenty-eight semi-structured in-depth interviews with individuals involved in recruitment in France were conducted, transcribed and analyzed. The findings reveal two distinct strategies used to intentionally discriminate in recruitment. One strategy concentrates on outsourcing recruitment actions. In doing so, organizations can effectively divert the responsibility of upholding anti-discrimination rules and regulations to an outside party. In this strategy, the use of unwritten codes and external pressure (or the threat thereof) are employed so that the outside recruitment agency understands that it is to follow the client’s wishes over the law, which relates to coercive power. The second strategy focuses on conducting covertly controlled in-house recruitment through the use of differential and legitimate power to overrule decisions, make use of vague and complex laws, or use costs and administrative difficulties as potential business reasons which may permit discrimination. We add to a growing body of research on recruitment discrimination and power.