Philosophy of Management

Volume 13, Issue 1, 2014

Care, Mufti, and the Instrumental Turn

Thomas Klikauer
Pages 73-95

Human Resource Management and Kohlberg’s Scale of Moral Development

Human Resource Management is in a contentious relationship with moral philosophy. To understand this relationship, one can approach it from the standpoint of Human Resource Management (HRM) or philosophy. This article presents the latter. One of the most important 20th century discussions on the development of moral behaviour came from Laurence Kohlberg. His model of universal moral stages provides a framework inside which virtually all forms of morality take place. These stages are used to characterise the morality of HRM. In order to avoid portraying them as moral philosophy the paper assesses HRM’s morality by using these seven stages as an ordering framework. To achieve this, a normative and a supportive empirical study have been conducted: the normative study found that HRM appears to be located at stages two and four; this is supported by empirical data because most respondents (76%, n=204) saw HRM’s morality as a reflection of these three stages. These stages represent: seeking personal benefits, corporate conformity, and supporting corporate policies.