A STUDY OF ETHICS IN HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

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CASIRJ Volume 5 Issue 6 [Year - 2014] ISSN 2319 – 9202
International Research Journal of Commerce Arts and Science
http://www.casirj.com Page 129
A STUDY OF ETHICS IN HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
Jyoti Arora
Research scholar, Delhi
Email: jyooti.aroraa@gmail.com
Co-Author: Khushboo Taliwal
Assistant Professor, Delhi University
Email: khushboo_taliwal@yahoo.co.in
ABSTRACT
Human resource management is an important part of the organization in functioning its business.
The scope of HRM has increase with the opening up of the economies, it is now considered to be
a vital part of the business strategy. The human resources are taken to be strategic importance.
With the changing scope and increasing responsibilities it is needed to find how the HR practices
and policies are ethical and socially responsible. The paper seeks to present the role of human
resource management, with globalization how the strategies of HRM changes and the ethical
aspect of HRM.
KEYWORDS: Human Resource Management, Ethics
INTRODUCTION
The management of human resource comprises of all the policies and practices that will cover
the human capital of the organization. It is basically the productive use of the people of the
organization to attain the goal of the organization and the individual need of the employee. HRM
includes recruitment, screening, rewarding, training and appraising of the human resources of the
organization. Increasing globalization has change the function of Human resources managers
from this traditional function towards the strategic management of the human resource, focusing
on competences and knowledge management .Due to increasing competition the human resource
function has gained wide vital emphasis owing to which the HRM strategy now become the
important part of business strategy. With the increasing importance of human resource
management the question that arises how ethically does the organization managing the human
resource; how the company is balancing the profit goal and valuing the human investment.
CASIRJ Volume 5 Issue 6 [Year - 2014] ISSN 2319 – 9202
International Research Journal of Commerce Arts and Science
http://www.casirj.com Page 130
OBJECTIVE
The paper examine the ethical aspect of the human resources management and how the
organization take the ethical activities towards its employee that strengthen the employee
motivation level and get recognition for their work. The study uses secondary data collected
from various books, reports, published national and international journals and from internet.
HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND ETHICS
Ethics is defined as the principles that tell what is right and what things are worth doing. It refer
to moral beliefs, value driven standard governing the behavior and the ethical theories. Ethical
theories help in understanding the decision making and in developing analytical and reasoning
skills. Organizational ethics is the set of boarder moral principles which are designed to respond
to the particular cases. In every case the level of moral reasoning depends on the choice of action
that is recommended and also depends on the value position of people. Due to many
accountability failures in the corporate world there is an increasing pressure to behave socially
responsible. It has been observed that individual employees face ethical dilemma with regard to
the individual values and organizational value system. Ethical dilemmas are the situation in
which two or more values are in conflict.
The importance of ethics in Human Resources Management is due to globalization which has
affected the organizational policies to work at the world economy; the growing competition
which force the company to find the competitive advantage and increase the profitability. With
increasing scope of the companies to do business at the international level, there is the increasing
need to address the ethical dealing of the human resources. The company now considers the
human resources as strategic importance‟s and has considered being of competitive advantage.
EMPLOYMENT ETHICS
It has been noticed that with the globalization of economies there is a shift in the employment
contracts. The human resources strategies have to be made keeping in view the host country
economic condition; rules and regulation. The company has to adapt the human resource policies
and practices with the local requirement. This has lead to the more power in the hand of human
resource managers over the employment matters, as employment relations are becoming more
enterprises focused, standardization of employment matters and a decline in union
representation. The employment contracts are more transactional that is, expectations between
employers and employees that are focused on a specific economic exchange with little flexibility
and narrowly defined terms, rather than relational, that is, expectations between employers and
employees that tend to focus on open-ended relationships with emotional involvement as well as
economic exchange. As a result the HRM has become more accountable towards ethical dealing
at the workplace. So, HRM plays an important role in communicating the organization culture
CASIRJ Volume 5 Issue 6 [Year - 2014] ISSN 2319 – 9202
International Research Journal of Commerce Arts and Science
http://www.casirj.com Page 131
and values. Ethical training is needed for all employees and it should continue throughout the
employee tenure.
APPROACHES OF HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
1. Critical Approach:
Its takes HRM as rhetorical and shrewd tool of management to control the workers. The practices
of HRM are designed which doesn‟t lead to the development of the employees but which make
the employees to sacrifices the individual goals for the need of organization. There is lack of
theoretical framework in HRM. The is lack of premise on issue of inequality, conflict,
domination and subordination and manipulation within both traditional and progressive
management and organizational theory. Critical approach assumes HRM as multifaceted,
including many multiple actors, their respective identities and goals, rather than focuses on
linking HRM and performances. The techniques of HRM focus on examining the employee in
order to measure, rank and classify, on the basis of employee skills, performances, behavior in
the workplace, judging the individual attitude towards organization. These practices are designed
to include specific habits, rules and behavior in the employee but all this lead to lost of individual
identity and individual needs and goals. It is the “soft” people focused HRM from “hard”
production policies and practices. The critical approaches are built on the concept of a
historically contingent, culturally embedded and socially constructed reality and take a
relativistic view of HRM practices The shortcomings of relativistic view lie in their inability to
propose a better way of doing business or of solving cultural differences
2. Ethical Approach:
The ethical HRM is develop on fairness in employee policies and practices which must take
equity, reciprocity and impartiality into consideration. Treating employees fairly will give a
powerful signal that employees are valued important stakeholder in the organization. The focus
of ethical concern within the field of HRM has tended towards the equity and fairness
implications of employment practices The questions of how employees should be treated, how
they should be paid, how they should be trained, under what conditions they should be expected
to work, how hard they should work, how they should be disciplined, and how their employment
should be terminated, are fundamental to HRM.
Various researches show that hiring employee on the bases of ability results has increased the
performance. Hiring and retaining knowledge workers on the basis of cognitive ability provide a
measurable payoff to the organization. Total quality management and just in time philosophies
point that employee knowledge as critical in the timely identification and response to customer
issue, that is, employee can be considered as agents of change and not just repositories of
knowledge. Employee should be considered as a part of long-term organizational strategy with
cost/benefit implication similar to the decision to start up a new facility. Employees represent
capacity to be built up. It is optimal to view acquiring employees as an investment rather than as
a cost. Treating employees fairly translates into better financial performance. But focusing on
CASIRJ Volume 5 Issue 6 [Year - 2014] ISSN 2319 – 9202
International Research Journal of Commerce Arts and Science
http://www.casirj.com Page 132
short-term profits send a message to employees that the organization views them as
commodities. Positive employees‟ relation is an intangible and enduring asset and a source of
sustainable competitive advantage. Paying employees a good wage with a focus on long-term
planning and coordination creates a more sustainable organization. Employees respond favorable
in both performance and attitude when employers commit to long- term relationship with them.
The employee empowerment should be encourage, that the opportunities exist to help determine
work roles, accomplish meaningful work and influence important decision. The empowerment of
employees can be endorsed on the basis of employee rights to self-determination and personal
growth at work. In organization employer-employee could support each other by coordinating
training programmes, participating together in professional association and building
collaborative relationship. Such efforts help serve the organization own self-interest and motivate
the employee.
The human resource management has moved well beyond the exploration of individual practices
with HRM being best understood as bundles of process and practices and in relation to
underpinning policies and philosophies. The ethical HRM depends on good employment
condition which in turn depends on good organizational strategy. Socially responsible HRM
extends the management imperative to balance the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit.
(Hart, 2005). For HRM this means championing the integration of social, environmental and
economic goals for the organization over the long term.
The ethical approach to HRM tends to focus on the micro- level, seeking to identity ethical
human resources practices or desirable employee rights and on macro level proposing that ethical
theories should serve as a basis for the totality of HRM design and decision making. At the micro
level the analysis of HRM is based on the issue of justice. Organizational justice shows
employees or group perception of fairness within the organization and behavioral reaction to
such perception. In essence, each aspect of justice raises a particular question in relation to
ethical treatment within the employment relationship. Distributive justice focuses on equity in
the distribution of resources. Procedural justice focuses on the question of fairness of decision-
making processes and Interactional justice focuses on the quality of interpersonal treatment in
processes. According to Winstanley and Woodall, procedural justice remains an abiding ethical
concern in the areas of recruitment and remuneration. Given the growth of workplace law and
litigation (especially equal employment opportunity considerations), the agenda of HRM is
increasingly becoming one of „showing justice is being done. At the societal level, wages and
working condition are conventionally changed, disputes are resolved and workers are represented
and protected. Employees must be treated with dignity, they are vital, valuable and they should
not be treated as commodities. The only HRM that is ethically permissible is employee central
HRM and this would happen when proper safeguard are implemented.
CONCLUSION
The Human resource of an organization is consider to be of competitive advantage because of
their value contribution in the production procedures, they are not easily imitated and are not
technologically substitutable; all these make the HRM as Strategic human resource management.
CASIRJ Volume 5 Issue 6 [Year - 2014] ISSN 2319 – 9202
International Research Journal of Commerce Arts and Science
http://www.casirj.com Page 133
With the increasing role of human resource towards the achievement of organizational goal there
is increasing concern for the ethical HRM. The traditional rights and responsibility of employee
and employer which includes the right to fair pay, the right to a safe work environment and the
right to freedom of speech and action; related issue of justice and fairness is also important. An
ethical HRM decision reflects fundamental human rights, issue of equity and fairness and
positive outcomes for those concerned. Ethical HRM implies that organization not only act in the
interest of employee but also involve employees in the decisions. The organization should treat
employee as an end and see employee as a full moral person. Employee should be considered to
be an important stakeholder as they invest experience, skills and personal relationship in the
organization.
REFERENCES
1. Wendy S. Becker,‟‟ Ethics in Human Resources: An Exercise Involving New
Employees‟‟ Journal of Human Resources Education, Volume 4, No. 4, Fall 2010.
2. P. Anitha Kumari , V. Sita ,” ROLE OF COMPETENCIES IN HUMAN RESOURCE
MANAGEMENTA STUDY IN INDIAN ORGANIZATIONS”, OIDA International
Journal of Sustainable Development.
3. Muthuswamy Ramesh, Dr.R. Hiremani Naik,” Impact of External Environment Factors on
Human Resource Management Function, a Generic Model study with reference to Multi-
National Companies in India”, International Journal of Research in Business and
Technology, Volume 4 No.1 February 2014.
4. Michelle Greenwood and R. Edward Freeman,” Ethics and HRM: The Contribution of
Stakeholder Theory”, Business & Professional Ethics Journal, vol. 30, nos. 3–4.
5. Wendy S. Becker,” Are you Leading a Socially Responsible and Sustainable
Human Resource Function?”, Published in People & Strategy, April, 2011.
6. Kevin P. Hwang and Ming-Kuen Wang,” The impact of ethical issues on
privatization: Employee perceptions of HRM systems, job satisfaction and
organizational loyalty in the Taiwan telecommunications industry”, African
Journal of Business Management Vol. 7(6), pp. 381-400, 14 February, 2013.

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A STUDY OF ETHICS IN HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

  • 1. CASIRJ Volume 5 Issue 6 [Year - 2014] ISSN 2319 – 9202 International Research Journal of Commerce Arts and Science http://www.casirj.com Page 129 A STUDY OF ETHICS IN HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT Jyoti Arora Research scholar, Delhi Email: jyooti.aroraa@gmail.com Co-Author: Khushboo Taliwal Assistant Professor, Delhi University Email: khushboo_taliwal@yahoo.co.in ABSTRACT Human resource management is an important part of the organization in functioning its business. The scope of HRM has increase with the opening up of the economies, it is now considered to be a vital part of the business strategy. The human resources are taken to be strategic importance. With the changing scope and increasing responsibilities it is needed to find how the HR practices and policies are ethical and socially responsible. The paper seeks to present the role of human resource management, with globalization how the strategies of HRM changes and the ethical aspect of HRM. KEYWORDS: Human Resource Management, Ethics INTRODUCTION The management of human resource comprises of all the policies and practices that will cover the human capital of the organization. It is basically the productive use of the people of the organization to attain the goal of the organization and the individual need of the employee. HRM includes recruitment, screening, rewarding, training and appraising of the human resources of the organization. Increasing globalization has change the function of Human resources managers from this traditional function towards the strategic management of the human resource, focusing on competences and knowledge management .Due to increasing competition the human resource function has gained wide vital emphasis owing to which the HRM strategy now become the important part of business strategy. With the increasing importance of human resource management the question that arises how ethically does the organization managing the human resource; how the company is balancing the profit goal and valuing the human investment.
  • 2. CASIRJ Volume 5 Issue 6 [Year - 2014] ISSN 2319 – 9202 International Research Journal of Commerce Arts and Science http://www.casirj.com Page 130 OBJECTIVE The paper examine the ethical aspect of the human resources management and how the organization take the ethical activities towards its employee that strengthen the employee motivation level and get recognition for their work. The study uses secondary data collected from various books, reports, published national and international journals and from internet. HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND ETHICS Ethics is defined as the principles that tell what is right and what things are worth doing. It refer to moral beliefs, value driven standard governing the behavior and the ethical theories. Ethical theories help in understanding the decision making and in developing analytical and reasoning skills. Organizational ethics is the set of boarder moral principles which are designed to respond to the particular cases. In every case the level of moral reasoning depends on the choice of action that is recommended and also depends on the value position of people. Due to many accountability failures in the corporate world there is an increasing pressure to behave socially responsible. It has been observed that individual employees face ethical dilemma with regard to the individual values and organizational value system. Ethical dilemmas are the situation in which two or more values are in conflict. The importance of ethics in Human Resources Management is due to globalization which has affected the organizational policies to work at the world economy; the growing competition which force the company to find the competitive advantage and increase the profitability. With increasing scope of the companies to do business at the international level, there is the increasing need to address the ethical dealing of the human resources. The company now considers the human resources as strategic importance‟s and has considered being of competitive advantage. EMPLOYMENT ETHICS It has been noticed that with the globalization of economies there is a shift in the employment contracts. The human resources strategies have to be made keeping in view the host country economic condition; rules and regulation. The company has to adapt the human resource policies and practices with the local requirement. This has lead to the more power in the hand of human resource managers over the employment matters, as employment relations are becoming more enterprises focused, standardization of employment matters and a decline in union representation. The employment contracts are more transactional that is, expectations between employers and employees that are focused on a specific economic exchange with little flexibility and narrowly defined terms, rather than relational, that is, expectations between employers and employees that tend to focus on open-ended relationships with emotional involvement as well as economic exchange. As a result the HRM has become more accountable towards ethical dealing at the workplace. So, HRM plays an important role in communicating the organization culture
  • 3. CASIRJ Volume 5 Issue 6 [Year - 2014] ISSN 2319 – 9202 International Research Journal of Commerce Arts and Science http://www.casirj.com Page 131 and values. Ethical training is needed for all employees and it should continue throughout the employee tenure. APPROACHES OF HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT 1. Critical Approach: Its takes HRM as rhetorical and shrewd tool of management to control the workers. The practices of HRM are designed which doesn‟t lead to the development of the employees but which make the employees to sacrifices the individual goals for the need of organization. There is lack of theoretical framework in HRM. The is lack of premise on issue of inequality, conflict, domination and subordination and manipulation within both traditional and progressive management and organizational theory. Critical approach assumes HRM as multifaceted, including many multiple actors, their respective identities and goals, rather than focuses on linking HRM and performances. The techniques of HRM focus on examining the employee in order to measure, rank and classify, on the basis of employee skills, performances, behavior in the workplace, judging the individual attitude towards organization. These practices are designed to include specific habits, rules and behavior in the employee but all this lead to lost of individual identity and individual needs and goals. It is the “soft” people focused HRM from “hard” production policies and practices. The critical approaches are built on the concept of a historically contingent, culturally embedded and socially constructed reality and take a relativistic view of HRM practices The shortcomings of relativistic view lie in their inability to propose a better way of doing business or of solving cultural differences 2. Ethical Approach: The ethical HRM is develop on fairness in employee policies and practices which must take equity, reciprocity and impartiality into consideration. Treating employees fairly will give a powerful signal that employees are valued important stakeholder in the organization. The focus of ethical concern within the field of HRM has tended towards the equity and fairness implications of employment practices The questions of how employees should be treated, how they should be paid, how they should be trained, under what conditions they should be expected to work, how hard they should work, how they should be disciplined, and how their employment should be terminated, are fundamental to HRM. Various researches show that hiring employee on the bases of ability results has increased the performance. Hiring and retaining knowledge workers on the basis of cognitive ability provide a measurable payoff to the organization. Total quality management and just in time philosophies point that employee knowledge as critical in the timely identification and response to customer issue, that is, employee can be considered as agents of change and not just repositories of knowledge. Employee should be considered as a part of long-term organizational strategy with cost/benefit implication similar to the decision to start up a new facility. Employees represent capacity to be built up. It is optimal to view acquiring employees as an investment rather than as a cost. Treating employees fairly translates into better financial performance. But focusing on
  • 4. CASIRJ Volume 5 Issue 6 [Year - 2014] ISSN 2319 – 9202 International Research Journal of Commerce Arts and Science http://www.casirj.com Page 132 short-term profits send a message to employees that the organization views them as commodities. Positive employees‟ relation is an intangible and enduring asset and a source of sustainable competitive advantage. Paying employees a good wage with a focus on long-term planning and coordination creates a more sustainable organization. Employees respond favorable in both performance and attitude when employers commit to long- term relationship with them. The employee empowerment should be encourage, that the opportunities exist to help determine work roles, accomplish meaningful work and influence important decision. The empowerment of employees can be endorsed on the basis of employee rights to self-determination and personal growth at work. In organization employer-employee could support each other by coordinating training programmes, participating together in professional association and building collaborative relationship. Such efforts help serve the organization own self-interest and motivate the employee. The human resource management has moved well beyond the exploration of individual practices with HRM being best understood as bundles of process and practices and in relation to underpinning policies and philosophies. The ethical HRM depends on good employment condition which in turn depends on good organizational strategy. Socially responsible HRM extends the management imperative to balance the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit. (Hart, 2005). For HRM this means championing the integration of social, environmental and economic goals for the organization over the long term. The ethical approach to HRM tends to focus on the micro- level, seeking to identity ethical human resources practices or desirable employee rights and on macro level proposing that ethical theories should serve as a basis for the totality of HRM design and decision making. At the micro level the analysis of HRM is based on the issue of justice. Organizational justice shows employees or group perception of fairness within the organization and behavioral reaction to such perception. In essence, each aspect of justice raises a particular question in relation to ethical treatment within the employment relationship. Distributive justice focuses on equity in the distribution of resources. Procedural justice focuses on the question of fairness of decision- making processes and Interactional justice focuses on the quality of interpersonal treatment in processes. According to Winstanley and Woodall, procedural justice remains an abiding ethical concern in the areas of recruitment and remuneration. Given the growth of workplace law and litigation (especially equal employment opportunity considerations), the agenda of HRM is increasingly becoming one of „showing justice is being done. At the societal level, wages and working condition are conventionally changed, disputes are resolved and workers are represented and protected. Employees must be treated with dignity, they are vital, valuable and they should not be treated as commodities. The only HRM that is ethically permissible is employee central HRM and this would happen when proper safeguard are implemented. CONCLUSION The Human resource of an organization is consider to be of competitive advantage because of their value contribution in the production procedures, they are not easily imitated and are not technologically substitutable; all these make the HRM as Strategic human resource management.
  • 5. CASIRJ Volume 5 Issue 6 [Year - 2014] ISSN 2319 – 9202 International Research Journal of Commerce Arts and Science http://www.casirj.com Page 133 With the increasing role of human resource towards the achievement of organizational goal there is increasing concern for the ethical HRM. The traditional rights and responsibility of employee and employer which includes the right to fair pay, the right to a safe work environment and the right to freedom of speech and action; related issue of justice and fairness is also important. An ethical HRM decision reflects fundamental human rights, issue of equity and fairness and positive outcomes for those concerned. Ethical HRM implies that organization not only act in the interest of employee but also involve employees in the decisions. The organization should treat employee as an end and see employee as a full moral person. Employee should be considered to be an important stakeholder as they invest experience, skills and personal relationship in the organization. REFERENCES 1. Wendy S. Becker,‟‟ Ethics in Human Resources: An Exercise Involving New Employees‟‟ Journal of Human Resources Education, Volume 4, No. 4, Fall 2010. 2. P. Anitha Kumari , V. Sita ,” ROLE OF COMPETENCIES IN HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENTA STUDY IN INDIAN ORGANIZATIONS”, OIDA International Journal of Sustainable Development. 3. Muthuswamy Ramesh, Dr.R. Hiremani Naik,” Impact of External Environment Factors on Human Resource Management Function, a Generic Model study with reference to Multi- National Companies in India”, International Journal of Research in Business and Technology, Volume 4 No.1 February 2014. 4. Michelle Greenwood and R. Edward Freeman,” Ethics and HRM: The Contribution of Stakeholder Theory”, Business & Professional Ethics Journal, vol. 30, nos. 3–4. 5. Wendy S. Becker,” Are you Leading a Socially Responsible and Sustainable Human Resource Function?”, Published in People & Strategy, April, 2011. 6. Kevin P. Hwang and Ming-Kuen Wang,” The impact of ethical issues on privatization: Employee perceptions of HRM systems, job satisfaction and organizational loyalty in the Taiwan telecommunications industry”, African Journal of Business Management Vol. 7(6), pp. 381-400, 14 February, 2013.