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Being Subtle and Flexible: LGBT Support in a Multinational Context

  • 1.  Being Subtle and Flexible: LGBT Support in a Multinational Context

    Posted 2 days ago

    A recent study published in Human Resource Management (HRM) examined how subsidiaries of multinational enterprises (MNEs) manage the tension between a host country context characterised by religious dogma and unsupportive laws, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) policies mandated by their headquarters. The study is different from the previous LGBT-related research that focused on contexts with supportive laws, discourses and policies. Based on interviews the authors conducted over a number of years as part of a qualitative case study of twelve Western European and US MNEs operating in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, the study found that the companies that actively supported LGBT employees' inclusion in the workplace used subtle practices to do so while showing sensitivity to local cultures and legislation. The study introduces the concept of covert allyship, which refers subtle forms of support that institutions and leaders give to universally protected yet locally disadvantaged groups that cannot be overtly supported due to contextual barriers such as unprotective or discriminatory local laws, and hostile discourses and practices. The study contributes to international human resource management and allyship literatures. It provides implications for human resource management in MNEs by showings that MNEs can draw on various practices to advocate and transfer LGBT policies to their subsidiaries despite adversarial conditions.

    To find out more:

    Read the full article here 

    Read a Press Release about the article here

    Watch the interview with the authors here 



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    Jelena Petrovic
    Knowledge Transfer Editor, Human Resource Management
    Associate Professor, University of Southa​mpton, UK
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