HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND BUSINESS ETHICS
A new dimension towards an integrated work structure in a liberalised market...
Abstract                                               1.    Introduction

This paper looks at recruitment management     ...
2.    Corporate Strategy                                integrated with the organisational business
                      ...
is done through recruitment and selection                       4.2 Recruitment       Management
activity, which ensures t...
organisation.                                            to accidents, have poorer attendants, lower
                     ...
part-time, work at home and evening is                   c)      Overtime and compressed work time
required, to fit with a...
provision and collection, productivity and                external market especially in a particular
growth in an organisa...
6.4 Corporate Responsibility                    and can cause a great concern when a
                                     ...
REFERENCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY

Appleby, R. C. (1994),                               Modern business administration, 6th ed. ...
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  1. 1. HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND BUSINESS ETHICS A new dimension towards an integrated work structure in a liberalised market T.Mbewa/KCCT/June 2002 11
  2. 2. Abstract 1. Introduction This paper looks at recruitment management The 21st century executive must adapt and business ethics in a liberalised strategic thinking directions and planning. competitive market in the 21st century. The Why the strategic direction and corporate survival and success of any organisation in a business strategy? In the fast changing liberalised market depends on a sound set of business world, the survival and success of beliefs and decisions aimed at certain any organisation depends on a sound set of actions. A brief look at the relationship beliefs on which it basis all its policies and between the workers and the changing actions (Sagimo, 2002). The faithful organisation strategy reveals that the two adherence to these beliefs further enhances players govern the successful competition of the success of the organisation in a the former. A successful organisation and a competitive environment. In order to meet the happy people are identified by their high challenge of the changing world, and productivity and profitability compared to that compete effectively in the liberalised market, of their competitors. an organisation must be prepared to change everything about itself, except for the set Corporate strategy on the other hand must beliefs. The recruitment of workers, their focus on business competitive advantage behaviour and the evolution of the system on based on a strategic human resource the other hand, govern the interaction of management framework. Strategies for competitors. The purpose of strategic recruitment must adopt the corporate management and ethical issues in this strategic approach. This paper further looks scenario is for the organisation to have at the internal and external challenges which courage to base its actions on the rules that threatens the existence of the organisation. govern the interaction of competitors and Notably is the fact that in the past, monopoly thereby beat both competition and evolution. had no competition and as such the Since most people say that, “experience is organisation had no problem copying with the best teacher”, it is preferable to learn from unexpected change. In the present other peoples’ experience and mistakes. In millennium however, monopoly can only order to lead in a competitive and liberalised imply a huge advantage to a system that is market therefore, it is important to pit others’ able to take advantage of shaping change experience and mistakes against our hope better than their rivals. One of the tools and deal with reality as it is, not as we wish it required to adequately face the competitive to be. This is the more reason to adapt an all- market, is recruitment and selection of skilled embracing corporate business out-look that workforce and adherence to business ethics. includes the strategic human resources Recruitment and selection is seen as a approach at its centre. marketing tool which may have a positive or negative effect on the achievement of business. The manner in which a potential candidate is treated in an organisation can mar or enhance the image and profitability of the firm. Workers should be treated well since unethical practises by the organisations to employees or the surrounding community may easily influence its collapse. Finally, the paper makes the conclusion that, the feasibility of integrating recruitment policies with business strategy will depend on which strategy the organisation adopts and that there is nothing in business which can make adjustment towards ethical behaviour impossible. 11
  3. 3. 2. Corporate Strategy integrated with the organisational business strategies of which the human resource is Corporate strategy is a management activity, central. Recruitment procedure that may have which involves directing the organisation a negative effect on productivity should be towards agreed goal (Wright, 1997). It is avoided at all cost. focused on business lifecycles, competitive advantage and strategic management styles 3. Organisational Change and with a strategic human resource management Challenges framework. Corporate strategies include among others, strategies for recruitment and selection, which will reflect the proposed Leaders in a business organisation are corporate strategic approach. The notion of usually busy dealing with the pace of change strategic recruitment and selection is a and intensity of competition while trying to system of linking recruitment and selection to transform their organisation so as to win. A the overall organisational strategy and aiming successful organisation and a happy people to match the flow of personnel to emerging are identified by their higher performance and business strategies as a key integrated task. profitability compared to their competitors. The exercise involves wide scale use of both They grow faster than their competitors and internal and external labour markets, that is, are recognised as leaders in some part of from within the organisation and outside it, their industries. Every team and organisation too. however, is faced with two major immediate challenges: For an effective contribution to the achievement of corporate objectives, human • How to deal with a hostile environment resource policies need to fit together. In so as to keep at the top. particular, recruitment and selection strategies should have strategic links with • How to organise its members to do the human resource planning. For example, hunt and to share the results with them recruitment advertisements that sell a in such a way as to be happy to dynamic state of the art of the organisation continue the partnership. can lead to disappointment if they are followed by lack of administration, poor The first challenge deals with external selection practices and lengthy delays to competition and poses the problem of respond. Recruits attracted to organisations strategy and how to deal with external and selling care, commitment and partnership will internal environment. The second deals with be disappointed by selection procedures, the internal performance and poses the which fail to sell the same message and thus problem of integration. Here survival is create a negative impact on the business. dependent on how to devise solutions for the two problems in the external and internal Recruitment methods may be designed to world. As the size of a successful ensure that people understand the true organisation grows, new tools are invented, nature of the job for which they are applying. sophisticated methods of protection are For instance some organisations indicate to developed, and a new challenge emerges on the applicant that they must learn several how to cope with the changes. In the past, jobs, change shifts, work overtime, make and monopoly had done it all. But according to take constructive criticisms and submit Davidson (1995) monopoly can only imply a constant suggestions in improving efficiency. huge advantage to a group that is able to In some cases, selection processes may also take advantage of shaping change better differ in that teams may play a significant role than their rivals. in the selection of new team members or more radically, family members of applicants In order for an organisation to meet the may be evaluated as part of the selection challenges of both the external and internal process to ensure total commitment to the environment, human resource requirements organisation. In perfection, human resource must be properly planned and executed. This policies should be coherent and totally 12
  4. 4. is done through recruitment and selection 4.2 Recruitment Management activity, which ensures the achievement of Ethics and Marketing Function the organisation’s anticipated needs for reducing or increasing staff. Recruitment activities in an organisation represent the marketing activities of the human resource department and the 4. Recruitment, Selection and organisation at large. The recruitment should Corporate Strategy be conducted in a manner that enhances positive reputation of the organisation. Recruitment and selection activities are Negative marketing in recruitment may aimed at attracting the right persons in include non-response to applicant’s sufficient numbers into the organisation in a application, keeping applicant waiting for an cost effective and timely manner. It ensures interview for too long, and lack of feedback to that the organisation has the required skills the interview results at the end of the and the supporting procedures to enable it to exercise, to indicate whether one is meet its need for sufficient and suitable staff successful or not. to face the competitive market through its business strategy. Negative response to some of these recruitment issues may raise the question of In this millennium, the most appropriate ethics. For instance, it is questionable recruitment and selection technique are those whether it is ethical to invite people on a full which balance the requirements of day’s interview when they have no chance of organisations with those of the employees. being recruited at all. The case at hand is the The approach adopted will however be notion by the interviewee that an internal determined partly by the external candidate has already been selected for the environment and the labour market forces. job. On the other hand, a person may have already been identified from the external There are a number of issues pertinent to market for the job, and yet continue to carry recruitment and selection policy and the exercise a modality. In this case, while practices. There is a need for business the recruitment policy may be seen to be fair, strategy, recruitment and selection policies to it is unethical, as it has no respect for be compatible with corporate goals and other individuals. This may mar the image of the human resources initiatives. Coupled with organisation both internally and externally. this, consideration must also be given to ethical issues in recruitment and selection, When advertisements fall short of certain especially in equality of opportunity, information, it infringes on the respect for the conformance and control. individuals. Kitson (1996) notes that, when information given is incomplete, the potential candidate is left wondering whether they can 4.1 Recruitment Policies apply for the job or not. In the process of seeking further clarification, they waste time, Recruitment policies constitute the code of money and effort in search for such conduct, which the organisation is prepared information. If adequate information is given to follow in its search for the right recruits in on the other hand, then one can make a the market place. Some policies make such decision on whether to apply for the job or not requirements, as the need to advertise and and will save resources which are involved in seek candidates on the basis of their ability to seeking clarification. A good recruitment perform the job required. Further to that, the practice is ethical in dealing with potential and organisation will not discriminate unfairly actual applicants and makes the organisation against possible candidates on any grounds more efficient in its recruitment management. such as disabilities, age, gender and ethnicity Further, it helps to minimise errors that might since every decision and issue can pose mar the organisation’s reputation both ethical questions at any time. internally and externally as it ensures a rational and logical approach to the recruitment of employees throughout the 13
  5. 5. organisation. to accidents, have poorer attendants, lower productivity and are unwilling to learn new skills and ideas. Some codes of ethics in 4.3 Skill deficiency in recruitment human resource management in certain and its ethical effect on countries such as Britain provide guideline on Business equal opportunities to overcome discrimination in age and disabilities. In the Pre-employment screening offers an case for age, it is recommended that as a opportunity for employers to identify job general rule, age should not be used as a applicants who have the quality to take up the primary discriminator in recruitment job but have some skill deficiency that may decisions, where productivity and profitability require remedial training. Unfortunately at this is the order of the day. stage interviewers often assume that certain candidates automatically master all the Studies on the performance of older people at necessary skills required to perform the job at work, shows that they have fewer accidents hand. at work, are dedicated and have less absenteeism (Arthur, 1991). Further, there is On shortage of qualified skilled labour, both no data to indicate that one age group is internally and externally, it is necessary that superior to another in business productivity. employers become more innovative in their As for unwillingness to change, older workers recruitment efforts by reaching all the citizens have experienced and observed a great deal without discrimination. In most cases, of social and technological change and are however, such recruits are unskilled and therefore more familiar with the necessity of require training in one way or the other. In change. It is further observed that they this millennium, jobs demand new and more exhibit less stress on the job, are always complex skills. Even clerical work need available and willing to work, enjoy their jobs computer skills as the current job situations more than the average employees, and as a require independent thinking and ability to product of the earlier loyalty, they actually access situations and take action promptly. stay on a job longer than the younger On the other hand, “can lack of certain skills, generation. They rate higher in work in particular literacy affect business performance and lower in turnover than productivity? Some questions however, may temporary and younger employees. be raised as to whether it is ethical to still go ahead and recruit the illiterates?” The impact of illiteracy on business is reading, which 5. Qualified Workers And Work Options according to Arthur (1991), accounts for substantial loss of business, lowers As businesses strive to recruit qualified productivity, competitiveness and reduces workers and accommodate changing working promotion of the company. A worker, who ethics, it is now evident that alternatives to cannot read instructions adequately, tradition work schedule must be considered in endangers the lives of other workers and order to maintain effective levels of survival of the company at large. productivity in a competitive environment. Employees at all levels require flexible 4.4 Employment Preference scheduling to fit in with other aspects of their lives. In this millennium, the emerging economic situation is such that employees Tradition views that certain jobs are only are likely not to depend on one salary. The appropriate for certain category of people, employer who prepares for these changes men or women old or young. In the present will have many productive recruitment millennium however this is no longer practical opportunities. With several different work and is self-defeating from the standpoint of arrangements, the workforce may consist of productivity and profitability order. Some workers from the lowest cadre to the highest companies do not hire old workers or retirees level of management in the organisational set because they claim that they are more prone up. Alternative work options which include 14
  6. 6. part-time, work at home and evening is c) Overtime and compressed work time required, to fit with all categories of workers. Compressed workweek allows employees to work the required forty Most employers have come to realise that hours in less than five days. Overtime there is a great deal of competition for good on the other hand allows one to work people, and as such, certain companies more hours than the scheduled time. officially endorse reduced work schedules Both of these alternatives have been since such schedules help workers balance found troublesome to employee’s social family and job responsibilities in their lives and family programs. They have environment. There are many different work long-term effects on health and can schedules, which can be applied to meet the adversely affect productivity. challenges of the liberalised market. During recruitment and selection, such schedules must be clearly stated to the applicants if they d) Work at home are to be part of work arrangement in their Working at home arrangement includes new job. A few of these work alternatives are employees who are electronically linked discussed below. to their offices and those who do paperwork. But organising workers at a) Job Sharing home is likely to be difficult and time consuming. Job Sharing is an arrangement in which employees divide the responsibilities of The new workforce brings with it new one full time job to positions that cannot attitudes and job requirements which be separated into two definite part-time necessitates organisations to become jobs. It is seen as solution to some familiar with the needs of the worker. employees such as parents, students, They must be prepared to offer retirees and retrenchees. In this way, appropriate work assignments, employers benefit from broader range environments, and benefits in order to of skills and productivity. It eliminates attract and retain qualified employees. the need for employees to take care of During recruitment, issues pertaining to personal business while on duty, work arrangements must be clearly facilitates continuation of the job even if explained to the applicants, since one partner terminates the service. It ethical issues can be raised later on, however, has its disadvantages in especially in such areas as health in productivity such as client’s complaints compressed workweek and overtime. are not dealt with by one person consistently. 6. Business Ethics b) Flexible work schedule Applyby (1994) defines ethics as a set of In flexible work schedule, each worker moral principles that govern the action of an puts in the same number of hours each individual or group. A code of ethics is day with identical core hours and therefore a statement of policies and varying starting and quitting times. It principles that guides the behaviour of all allows employees to balance work persons. Business ethics are concerned demand with those at home and further with truth and justice and include aspects cope with commuting problems and which society expects, such as fair traffic jams. With the extended hours of competition, social responsibilities and coverage of services to the employer, it corporate behaviour. Ethics is relevant in reduces overtime, absenteeism and business. Many ethical requirements have turnover, improves work performance been incorporated into legislation that is and boosts employee’s morale at work. binding in commercial firms. Morality routinely affects strategic decisions in such areas as recruitment, safety, advertising, debt 15
  7. 7. provision and collection, productivity and external market especially in a particular growth in an organisation. geographical location, skills and knowledge. Further, are the ethical challenges in the Business ethics poses general questions situations where recruitment is undertaken to which are answered by the help of theories of remove full time jobs in the name of flexibility right or wrong (Asch, 1989). The theories and rationality. may be found in religious code of conduct or moral philosophy, which analyses general concepts used in ethical argument. Some of 6.2 Management Decision-Making and the well-known moral philosophy is the theory Business Ethics of justice for those who are against meddling with the market forces and distribution justice There are certain factors affecting a manager in such matters as discrimination in involved in making decisions on business recruitment of certain types of workers in the ethical problems. Some of these are society. government regulations and laws, organisation code of ethics, needs of the Business ethics depend on the values of organisation, managers’ personal standards, individuals and the culture created by the social and political pressures. Organisations individual ethics of senior management and should be aware and respond to the social code of conduct. The actual value system is issues affecting the running of their the moral climate expected by staff in their businesses. Appleby (1994) advises that, daily business lives, which will determine the companies should act early in the life cycle of behaviour of the organisation as a whole in any social issue so that they can enjoy the order to survive in a competitive environment. largest amount of managerial discretion over Ethics tend to be culturally specific, and what the result. Discrimination in recruitment may be considered as unethical in some whether from internal or external manpower, societies may be considered as normal in can equally shake the credibility of an others. For example, child labour of 14 years organisation with the consequence of olds is normal in many parts of Asia but not affecting its business dealings outside. In this so in the Western world (Welford, 1998). case it is suggested that, if businesses have difficulty in self-regulating their activities, then 6.1 Recruitment, Retrenchment and the government should make regulation to Business Ethics assist their existence. Wright (1997) cautions that recruitment, which takes place at the same time as headcount is taking place elsewhere in the 6.3 Ethical Issues In Strategic Decision- organisation, requires sensitive handling to Making maintain respect and approval and care must be taken on ethical issues. On the other Ethical questions addressed in decision- hand, restructuring which takes place with a making must be concrete and specific. For requirement for organisations to recruit staff instance one should ask such straight from the internal market before looking questions as “Would it be fair to make a outside faces potential risk. Ethical question certain number of employees redundant that may arise is, “if those at risk are given an unexpected fall in profits in perceived not to possess the competencies economic recession?”, “Is it morally required in the changing business justifiable to pay creditors late?”, or, “Would it environment, would it be ethical to retrench be right to discharge toxic waste in a them and then recruit from the external residential area without telling the resident market?” Despite the market picture of community?” When the profound questions surplus of labour, difficulties may remain as are made explicit, it is hard to ignore state of particular skills are short in supply. In addition affairs without considering the ethical aspect to the invariable economic cycle, of the matter that will eventually affect the organisations may experience difficulties in progress of the business. attracting appropriate candidates on the 16
  8. 8. 6.4 Corporate Responsibility and can cause a great concern when a business has various offices and branches in Corporate responsibility has its roots in some different parts of the world. For instance key philosophical debates over ethics, values, while it may be normal to make payment in equity and equality (Welford, 1998). Many of some countries to expedite business the shifts in political attitudes towards firms transactions, this may be considered reflect abuse by specific companies and unethical in other countries. Further, in other specific business leaders. Such abuses, countries it may be normal to pay some which touch on business ethics, include the workers less than others of the same repression of workers, misappropriation of qualification. It is therefore important to funds, bribery associated with deals and appoint ethics committee who sees to it that environmental mismanagement. Corporate the prescribed ethics are adhered to. decisions are linked with business ethics and the defined ethics determine corporate performance now and in the future. 7. Summary and Conclusion A company has various stakeholders: employees, customers, shareholders, In order to have a coherent business social financial institutions, suppliers, the strategy, organisations need a consistent set government and local communities. It has of business ethics. Furthermore, the responsibilities to these stakeholders and stakeholders’ accountability makes it difficult must balance their competing demands put to separate ethical consideration from other upon it by the different groups. As a result of issues such as the treatment of different age this, ethical stand of a company will be groups, the handicapped, retirees and the influenced both by internal values and protection of the surrounding communities. external pressures. Pressures have grown on companies because stakeholders have There is nothing in the nature of people or become increasingly interested in the businesses, which make adjustment towards activities of businesses. This is further ethical behaviour impossible except the enhanced by easy and faster accessibility to vested interests held by those in power, information through the improved which must be addressed. This is one of the communications technology. The company major challenges which must be overcome. must device a way on how to deal with their The feasibility of integrating policies various demands without loosing its especially recruitment policies with business credibility. strategy will depend on which perspective or strategy and strategy-making the company adopts. Strategic decision-making comprises 6.5 Ethics Committee long-term direction of the organisation and the scope of its activities in the market share In a business environment, an appointed and their locations. One of the strategies is ethics committee should enhance a proper management of the recruitment statement on code of ethics. The committee process, which must be linked with corporate should hold regular meetings, check and strategy, deployment, and effective utilisation enforce violations, review and update the of the human resources for maximum codes, to show the commitment of the productivity and sustainable growth through organisation to the principle. Ethical profitability for business survival. standards differ among nations and societies 17
  9. 9. REFERENCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY Appleby, R. C. (1994), Modern business administration, 6th ed. London: Pitman Publishing. Arthur, D. (1991), Recruiting, interviewing, selecting & orienting new employees, 2nd ed. New York: Amacon. Readings in strategic management, Hampshire: Asch, D. and C. Bowman. (1989), MacMillan. Beardwell, I. and L. Holden. (1997), Human resource management: a contemporary perspective, 2nd ed. London: Pitman. Cole, G. A. (1990), Management: theory and practice, 3rd ed. London: DP Publications. Davidson, M. (1995), The transformation of management, London: Macmillan. Kitson, A. and R. Campbell. (1996), The Ethical organisation: ethical theory and corporate behaviour, London: Macmillan. Pearce II, J. A. and R. B. Robinson. (1989), Management. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co. Sagimo, P. O. (2002), Management Dynamics: towards efficiency, effectiveness, competence and productivity, Nairobi: E.A.EDP. Sorelli, T. (1989a) Business ethics: two Readings in strategic management, London: Macmillan: introductory questions In: Asch, D. and C. 270-279. Bowman. (Eds.), Sorelli, T. (1989b) Strategy and ethics”: Readings in strategic management,. Hampshire: Pilkington PLC. In: Asch, D. and C. Bowman Macmillan: 280-289. (eds.), Welford, R. (1998) Business ethics and Concepts and Practices, 2nd ed. London: Pitman corporate responsibility. In: Hannagan, T. Publishing: 545 – 566. Management: Wright, M. and J. Storey (1997) Recruitment Human Resource Management: A Contemporary Selection: In Beardwell, I. and L. Holden, (eds.), Perspective, 2nd ed. London: Pitman Publishing: 210-274. ___________ 11

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