, Volume 111, Issue 1, pp 1-12
Date: 21 Aug 2012

Frontiers, Intersections and Engagements of Ethics and HRM


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.

This paper is the culmination of a larger project on Ethics and HRM led by Michelle Greenwood, Jan Schapper and Gavin Jack, and supported by the European Academy of Business and Society (EABIS) and the Monash University Faculty of Business and Economics. We wish to thank participants in the Ethics and HRM Workshop (London, April 2011) and the Academy of Management Symposium (San Antonio, August 2011) and, in particular, Andreas Scherer, Hugh Willmott and the two blind reviewers of this essay.