Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 111, Issue 1, pp 1-12

First online:

Frontiers, Intersections and Engagements of Ethics and HRM

  • Gavin JackAffiliated withLa Trobe University
  • , Michelle GreenwoodAffiliated withMonash University Email author 
  • , Jan SchapperAffiliated withLa Trobe University


This essay, and the special issue it introduces, sets out to reignite ethical interrogations of the theory and practice of Human Resource Management (HRM). To cultivate greater levels of boundary-spanning debate about the ethics of HRM, we develop a framework of four tenors for scholarly work: the ethical-declarative, the ethical-subjunctive, the ethical-ethnographic, the ethical-systemic. Each of these tenors denotes particular grounds for ethical critique and encourages scholars to consider the subjects and objects of their enquiry, the disciplinary scope of their work and the limits to subsequent claims about ethics and HRM. We provisionally locate each of the papers comprising the special issue with regard to one, or more, of these tenors.