Human resource management, theology and meaningful work

Sandrine Fremeaux, Grant Michelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human resource management (HRM) has been widely considered an important way to enhance organisational performance. Many firms have adopted a range of HRM policies and practices to more clearly demonstrate the contribution of their workforces to the bottom line. The objective and practices of HRM are not without its critics, however, and while there have been a number of ethically-oriented analyses of different aspects of HRM, there remains scope for additional research. In this article, we seek to highlight the ‘human’ in HRM as this permits us to treat the human actor as an end rather than merely as a means (or resource) to some organisational goal. While this argument resonates with a Kantian logic, we go further by drawing on a theological/spiritual perspective to show how work can also be a means of being, of creating, helping and serving others. In this context, we explore the notion of meaningful work as a way of ensuring that the emphasis on ‘human’ within HRM theory can occur. We conclude that HRM is not necessarily ethically problematic if there is an appreciation for such a theologically-informed perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-43
Number of pages17
JournalInternational journal of employment studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2017


  • HRM
  • Meaningful work
  • Kant
  • Ethics
  • Theology


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