Human Resource Management and Ethics
The area of human resource management is an evolving area. There was a time when HR managers were not directly involved in business decision making. However, with time, there has been a change in the basic role of HR function. Therefore, it is important that HR managers must exhibit high ethical standards. In fact, HR managers have a key role to take entire organization towards the future goal. Any organization can have an ethical culture in place only when HR managers and leaders are ethical. This essay would focus on the broad area of human resource management and ethics (Wang & Noe, 2014). The specific area that would address in this essay is the integration or linking between HRM and ethics of senior management of multinational organizations. Everyone takes notice when a corporation gets caught acting unethically to increase profits. But the inverse is also true. No one notices when companies act justly and perpetuate a culture of carrying over greed. The truth is that if moral employees and leaders stand by and allow immoral people to bypass ethical justice then evil will prevail (Schwepker & Schultz, 2015). Every leader has an opportunity to push for a better way and try to make a difference. The desire is for all parties in a business to have more involvement and representation as a whole along with being socially responsible in order to benefit everyone. The ethical implications for conscious capitalism include increased transparency and accountability (Luk, 2012). This is especially important for companies to maintain compliance with ethical standards and guidelines.
Ethics or the moral principles serve as a compass for individuals, companies, institutions, and organizations. It is important that the Human Resource managers and leaders must develop the art of ethical functioning. In fact, listening is such an important skill that both servant leaders and people need to be good at. It would be very difficult to serve those people without being able to listen and learn what their needs are. Being a good servant also understands those that are being served (Shamim & Ghazali, 2014). It would be correct to say that a true ethical culture could be established only when leaders understand their responsibility and they are willing to serve others. It would be correct to say that servant leadership is the key to establish the ethical culture in the organization. Servant leadership is described as an attitude with values and beliefs that influence the lives of other individuals, as well as, foster and create strong organizational environments that in the end by sharing knowledge and strengths it produces a domino effect of a caring world (Porter & Kramer, 2011). There are twelve principles of servant leadership, which are the following “listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, growth, building community, calling and nurturing the spirit”. The first five main beliefs (“listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion) of servant leadership cross religious and cultural lines because regardless of an individual’s religion or cultural background, these are all social skills to possess as a leader. Servant leaders pay more attention on service to their subordinates/followers, along with ethical behaviour. To build an ethical culture within a corporation that is workable for everyone is difficult (Smith, 2011).
Ethics is a set of moral principles and values that govern our interactions individually or as a group defining what is considered right or wrong. The difficulty when considering ethics is that everyone’s standard for appropriate versus inappropriate behaviour is different and finding a consensus is impossible. Ethics can also be described as the third force; not illegal behaviour or behaviour that goes against policy but behaviour that is naturally directed toward the good and can be considered for work and non-related work issues (Daft, 2013).
The area of ethics in human resource management is a tricky area. This is a very complex area for HR as it lowers the burden of proof for example if someone applies for a job with forged documents, what HR supposed to do they are not experts in forgeries and “reasonable cause to believe” (Antonakis & House, 2014). So if HR are suspicious and on what ground, they need to contact immigration or not employ the person. This can lead to more problematic issues again for HR; suspicion on facial appearance, language level or anything else that may trigger a case of discrimination. In order to have an ethical culture in the organization, it is important that managers should behave and act as leaders. In an organizational setting, leaders are managers, but not all managers are leaders. This is important to recognize in order to be effective in any organization. Plucknette (2014) describes the four differences between leaders and managers as being planning, organizing, leading and controlling. It is important to notice the component of leadership within these differences. They set managers aside from leaders in that this skill may not always be able to be learned. Some individual are natural born leaders and can be great with additional training. However, there may be instances where people are great managers and succeed more with the logistics of the job, rather than the people leadership aspect. The four key features of management that should be followed by Human Resource Managers can be discussed as:
Organizing: will follow the plan of care. For example if the leader has the innovative idea to use an air mattress for the patients who are incontinent of bowel and bladder functions, then she has to have a system to identify the patient population to identify the population at risk to develop pressure ulcers, she has to delegate the task to the admitting nurse to identify the risk patients and communicate the need for special mattress (Bock & Zmud, 2005). And she has to authorize the central supply department to issue a bed to those patients. The leaders are responsible to plan education to the nursing staff.
Leading: It is the use of influence to motivate employees. In this step the nurse leader can influence the staff through her compassion for nursing, caring attitude, and knowledge. The leaders will reward the team members for participating in implementation of new air mattress. Leaders can monitor the plan by making random rounds and sharing the rounding results with team members (Fong & Hills, 2007). The leaders play a significant role by communicating the company vision and the role of innovation to achieve organization goals. For example leaders will share the vision to improve patient outcome by preventing pressure ulcers with the use of air mattress.
Controlling: Means monitoring employees’ activities, progress toward organizational goals. The leaders will assess the data; compare the data with the previous data. The benefits will be communicated and success will be celebrated. The new innovation will be embedded as permanent.
It would be correct to say that human resource managers, manage metrics, numbers, and graphs. However, it takes a leader to align that information into action where everyone understands the purpose of the data. The question that must be answered is how will this affect me and how can I be effective. Leadership listens and guides the team towards that end goal, be personal and organizational (Paille & Chen, 2014). It is believed that if companies want to move towards being ethical they must be transparent. This allows that stakeholders will be able to truly see the company from every angle. There are no hidden agendas. This is what people need in todays society, which are plagued with corporations that are driven by profits.
As a conclusion, it can be said that ethics plays an important role in conscious capitalism. It helps leaders to lead by example to influence their followers. When an organization uphold ethics in their leadership it helps build an effective support and gain respect amongst their followers (Christensen &Mackey, 2014). A leader that is not trusted and dishonest will not be able to influence their followers because of the poor behaviour of power. This type of power is damaging to any organization whereas employees are disgruntled which bring about a disrupted workplace. In the current working environment in Australia and global, people prefer to work for an organization that practices conscious capitalism and has leaders with ethical principles. Companies that have values and are socially responsible are inspirational. They make going to work meaningful and motivate me to work harder.
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