Original Research

Human resource management moral competencies

Yendor R. Felgate
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 18 | a1193 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v18i0.1193 | © 2020 Yendor R. Felgate | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 March 2019 | Published: 31 March 2020

About the author(s)

Yendor R. Felgate, Department of Philosophy, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Orientation: If Human Resource Management (HRM) has a positive role in providing direction for the permissible use of people in organisations, then such a role inevitably creates a number of ethical tensions. The HRM practitioner often encounters situations, where they require moral expertise to make decisions that are ethical.

Research Purpose: The purpose of the research is to identify and describe the moral competencies HRM can use to make normative judgements in organisations.

Motivation for the Study: The understanding of HRM moral expertise is important, given the role of HRM in organisations.

Research Design: This article uses a virtue-ethical approach to identify and describe possible HRM moral competencies and their use.

Main Findings: There is value to using a virtue-theoretic approach in HRM, because it allows for the identification of moral competencies that can be used to improve ethical decision making, when using HRM practices.

Practical/Management Implications: The article provides a practical approach to using moral expertise. Moral expertise can be used to discern concrete normative actions when using HRM practices, and so doing improve normative outcomes for employees and organisations.

Contribution/Value Add: This is the first attempt to identify and apply HRM moral competencies to HRM decision-making and practice. Furthermore, if the requirement for HRM moral expertise is known, it follows that it can provide the basis for further HRM professional development.


HRM; Virtue, Virtue as skill, HRM moral competencies; HRM decision-making; HRM practice; Performance Management


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