Towards a sustainable HRM in Latin America? Union-management relationship in Chile


Employee Relations
Autores COES:
Otros Autores: Caballero, A., Martin, A.

The purpose of this paper is to discuss why and how the notion of sustainability has been integrated to the practices of HRM in Chile. Especially, it examines how the union?management relationship shapes and is shaped by the adoption of a sustainable approach. By doing so, it contributes to a broader debate about HRM in Latin America. Design/methodology/approach The paper draws on a case study conducted between 2016 and 2018 in two large companies. In each of these companies, besides the analysis of internal and administrative documentation, human resource managers, line managers and union officers were interviewed. Findings In this paper, two main findings are discussed. First, the sustainable HRM idea installed in Chile has not involved a total renunciation of some old ideological frames, but rather an adjustment of these. The old paternalist managerialism is shaping a path to a new HRM model, willing to yield part of its control to workers, but not less unitarist in its foundations. Second, the sustainable HRM concept adoption by the studied companies is not primarily motivated by economic goals as it may have occurred in other contexts, but by the need of a solution to labour conflicts in a context of union action renewal. Practical implications This research could be used to teach about leadership, strategy and sustainability, highlighting the importance of understanding the contested nature of the employment relations within these processes of changing. To accomplish this, HR practitioners need to get more involved with pluralistic perspectives in labour relations and thus achieve effective sustainable practices in the workplace. It is also relevant that unions recognise and strengthen their ability to influence these policies. Originality/value This paper sheds lights on how the concept of sustainable HRM has been introduced in Latin America, which has been slightly discussed in mainstream scientific literature. It also provides empirical evidence about unexplored and recent changes in HRM and proposes new perspectives for the study of this topic in the region, considering variables as the managerial ideologies, current labour disputes and the relevance of trade union voice.

Como citar: Caballero, Angel & Crocco, Francisca & Martin, Angel. (2019). Towards a sustainable HRM in Latin America? Union-management relationship in Chile. Employee Relations: The International Journal. ahead-of-print. 10.1108/ER-01-2019-0036.