Journal of Academic Ethics

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 1-15

First online:

Ethics and HRM Education

  • Harry J. Van BurenIIIAffiliated withAnderson Schools of Management, University of New Mexico Email author 
  • , Michelle GreenwoodAffiliated withDepartment of Management, Faculty of Business and Economics, Monash University

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Human resource management (HRM) education has tended to focus on specific functions and tasks within organizations, such as compensation, staffing, and evaluation. This task orientation within HRM education fails to account for the bigger questions facing human resource management and employment relationships, questions which address the roles and responsibilities of the HR function and HR practitioners. An educational focus on HRM that does not explicitly address larger ethical questions fails to equip students to address stakeholder concerns about how employees are treated or the ethical dilemmas facing employers with regard to the employment relationship, and ironically makes the HRM function less strategic to the organization. In this paper, we identify some of the key ethical issues within the employment relationship, discuss how extant HRM education often fails to address these issues or help students to become aware of them, and offer a framework for integrating ethics into HRM education.


Human resource management (HRM) HRM education HRM professionals HRM functions Strategic human resource management (SHRM) Stakeholder theory Stakeholders