Ethical dilemmas in HR practice

A paper from 'HR in a disordered world: IES Perspectives on HR 2015'

Carter A | HR Network Paper 111 | Institute for Employment Studies | Mar 2015

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This paper raises the question, where was HR when the all-too-many recent organisational moral scandals were developing? This raises an interesting issue of the role of HR in ethics, is it HR’s role to ensure ethical behaviour or is it the role of every employee? Should HR be the early warning system? What about when the bad behaviour is invisible? Have we become too strategic – too business focused and too little of a challenger of senior management? When it comes to ethics, we all have different perspectives and HR tends to focus on its home territory – ethical issues such as: inconsistency of treatment; favouritism; confidentiality; discrimination; safety; harassment, etc. These are all laudable and important but there are other ethical dilemmas that HR is either blind to or which it chooses to avoid. These are, however, all too visible to other stakeholders: employees; consumers; customers; citizens, for example. We raise the importance of CPD in ethics and the opportunity to debate ethical issues, including these really difficult ones.

This paper was originally published in HR in a disordered world: IES Perspectives on HR 2015