This paper explores the character of emotion(felt and displayed) and its value in understanding ethical dilemmas in work organisations. Specifically, we examine the emotional labour of human resource professionals (HRPs). Through in-depth interviews and diary study, we
uncover the emotional and ethical struggles of HRPs as they search for the ‘right thing to do’ in situated interaction.
Through the lens of emotion, we chart the process of how the very framing of what is deemed ‘right’ can move from the social to the moral order (Bauman, Postmodern ethics, 1993) and vice versa. Based on our findings, we contribute to understanding the linkages between emotional and ethical dilemmas, and how expectations of
multiple ‘others’ at the individual, interpersonal and organisational level shape and constrain ethical choices.