Brazilian management gurus as reflexive soft-HRM practitioners: an empirical study

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This article is an empirical study of Brazilian management gurus, that is, Portuguese-speaking gurus who practise almost wholly in Brazil. It is based on secondary, and primary elite interview data, and finds that Brazilian gurus are reflexive, national-culturally congruent, soft-HRM practitioners, a collective institution working with companies on the implementation of soft-HRM initiatives. Identifying Brazilian gurus in this way is our first contribution. Our second contribution is to provide an empirical account of the very existence and work of these particular national gurus, distinguished from international gurus (like Tom Peters), and not otherwise mentioned in the literature on gurus or soft-HRM. Our third contribution is to present gurus' own understandings of their practice in this soft-HRM role. This they relate to the Brazilian cultural context, and distinguish from that of business schools and motivational speakers. They also identify personally unique characteristics. Our final contribution, taking these three together, is to explore their implications for understandings of HRM, in Brazil and internationally, particularly in relation to the role management gurus.

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