Agonism and the Possibilities of Ethics for HRM

Journal of Business Ethics 111 (1):49-59 (2012)
This paper provides a critique and re-evaluation of the way that ethics is understood and promoted within mainstream Human Resource Management (HRM) discourse. We argue that the ethics located within this discourse focuses on bolstering the relevance of HRM as a key contributor to organizational strategy, enhancing an organization's sense of moral legitimacy and augmenting organizational control over employee behaviour and subjectivity. We question this discourse in that it subordinates the ethics of the employment relationship to managerial prerogative. In response, we suggest a different model of the relationship between ethics and HRM—one that finds the possibility of ethics in the contestation and destabilization of HRM. Such ethics arises through resistance to moral normalization and the constraint of freedom and difference. The contribution of our paper is in theorising the possibilities of a relationship between ethics and HRM that does not place HRM at its centre, as chief intermediary of the ethics of the employment relationship, but rather sees HRM as being a powerful player in a set of what Mouffe calls 'agonistic' socio-ethical relations
Keywords Agonism  Human Resource Management  Employee Relations  Organizational Ethics  Politics  Resistance
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10551-012-1441-0
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,280
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Emmanuel Levinas (1961/1969). Totality and Infinity. Pittsburgh, Duquesne University Press.
Chantal Mouffe (2002). The Democratic Paradox. Political Theory 30 (6):862-864.

View all 14 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Michelle Greenwood & R. Edward Freeman (2011). Ethics and HRM. Business and Professional Ethics Journal 30 (3-4):269-292.
Leo V. Ryan (2006). Current Ethical Issues in Polish HRM. Journal of Business Ethics 66 (2-3):273-290.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

6 ( #538,566 of 1,932,462 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #456,114 of 1,932,462 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.