Ethical Dilemmas Faced by Human Resource Professionals: Exploring Courses of Action
Abstract Although the topic concerning the role that the HR area and professionals have to play in ethical issues is gaining prominence in the international literature, there are still few studies on this topic in Brazil (Santos, Mendonça, & Demo, 2015). From a qualitative research conducted with 23 HR managers of national and international companies, this study investigated HR professionals’ perceptions about their role in the ethical issues concerning people management, the dilemmas they deal with and their conduct when confronted with these dilemmas. As for findings, most respondents understand their role to be business partners, and that people have value mainly because they contribute to organizational performance. Furthermore, HR professionals believe that they play an important role in reconciling the often conflicting goals of organizations and employees. They reported that they feel pressured by ethical dilemmas that relate to the information to which they have access, to the performance of their HR functions and to their specialist/consultant role. In addition, they feel they are the guardians of ethics in organizations and, because of this, they must set the example for the other areas. Results show the specific aspects related to HR professionals’ decision making, in that different factors determine their courses of action.