Ethics of Care Versus Ethics of Justice: Ethical Dilemmas Faced by HR Managers

  • Mahima Mishra Assistant Professor, Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune
  • Astha Awasthi Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune
Keywords: Ethics, Spirituality


This case study focuses on the business and Human Resource relevance of the dilemma posed by the two conflicting schools of ethical judgment – ethics of care versus ethics of justice. The different points of view have been explored and their relevance based on a hypothetical scenario in a Chemical Plant. The long
debated philosophical theories given by Immanuel Kant the German philosophers in the 17th century and John Rawls, an American moral and political philosopher have been debated in the case. Through this case, ethical dilemma faced by an HR manager when confronted with the need to care for development and welfare of the employees while catering to his/her duties towards the company has been highlighted. The most important task of HR manager is to extract and ensure maximum productivity from the employees with highest quality. However, while ensuring ethical practices in the organization; sometimes the duty takes a backseat. This puts a great dilemma before manager while taking a decision where all stakeholders employer as well as employee are looked after.
Continuing on the ethical dilemma, the different point of views has been analyzed from where such a problem can be approached. While these may not be comprehensive, they do cover the majority of perspectives. Leaving the case open ended, researcher has kept the various options open to the HR manager,
from the following angles – deontology v/s teleology, practicality v/s emotionality, uniformity v/s specificity, ethics of obligations v/s ethics of rights, loopholes v/s letter of the law, duty towards people v/s duty towards company.