Ethics and HRM: The Contribution of Stakeholder Theory

Abstract

The development of an ethical perspective of HRM that is both employee centered and explicitly normative and, as such, distinct from dominant and criticalperspectives of HRM has progressed in recent years. Reliance on the traditional “threesome” of rights/justice theories, deontology and consequentialism, however, has limited debate to micro-level issues and the search for a “solution.” By understanding the employment relationship as a stakeholder relationship, we open the ethical analysis of HRM to the pluralism and pragmatism that stakeholder theory has to offer. In doing this, we can address both the broader need for HRM to offer a more comprehensive account of our humanity and the specific requisite for HRM to treat employees as moral persons with “names and faces.”

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2012-09-18

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Robert Edward Freeman
University of Virginia

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