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Ethical characteristics of human resources management in Chinese enterprises: An empirical study based on content analysis of employee manuals


This paper identifies five dimensions of human resource management ethics (HRME) from the extant literature, namely ethical values, rights, fairness and justice, openness, and ethical care. Based on employee manuals of 160 companies, this paper conducts a content analysis to identify the characteristics and differences of HRME in various types of firms and different industries. Results indicate that the status quo of HRME in Chinese firms is far from being satisfactory due to the lack of ethical care, unfair and nontransparent employee appraisal procedures and outcomes. The results also show that there are significant differences in the five dimensions of HRME among state-owned enterprises, private enterprises, joint ventures, and foreign companies. It is also found that there is no significant interaction effect between enterprise ownership type and industry on HRME.


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Correspondence to Ming Feng.

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Translated from Zhongguo Ruankexue 中国软科学 (Chine Soft Science), 2009, (5):114–124

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Feng, M., Guo, Y. Ethical characteristics of human resources management in Chinese enterprises: An empirical study based on content analysis of employee manuals. Front. Bus. Res. China 4, 562–579 (2010).

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  • human resource management ethics (HRME)
  • content analysis
  • ethical characteristics