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ETHICS IN HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT (HRM)
MEANING OF HRM
HRM can be understood in simple terms as employing people, developing their resources,
utilising, maintaining and compensating their services in tune with the job and organizational
requirements with the view to contribute to the goals of the organization, individuals and the
HRM is the process of planning, organizing, directing and controlling human activities to
achieve the organizational goal and individual goals.
MEANING OF ETHICS
Ethics are those values, which has been imbibed within an individual on reinforced externally
that help him to distinguish between right and wrong and to act accordingly. There can be
several sources of ethics like religion, organizational culture, legal obligations etc.
ETHICS IN HRM
Ethics in HRM indicates the treatment of employees with ordinary decency and distributive
justice. The ethical business contributes to the business goals as the employees will feel
motivated and they will work with efficiency and effectiveness. Ethics in HRM basically
deals with the affirmative moral obligations of the employer towards employees to maintain
equality and equity justice.
Areas of HRM ethics
Basic human rights, civil and employment fight. (E.g. Job security, feedback from
Safety in the workplace;
Justifiable treatment to employees. (E.g. Equity and equal opportunity);
Respect, fairness and honesty based process in the workplace.
Role of HR in Promoting Ethics
1. Improve recruitment and selection tests
Follow the recruitment policy that is identification of the recruitment needs,
monetary aspects, criteria of selection and preference etc.;
Follow the situational factors such as economic factors, social factors,
technological factors etc.;
Selection must be in planned manner;
Avoid illegal questions.
2. Conduct ethics trainingIt is a short term process of training given to the HR of the organization to do their
work in adherence to the ethical code of conduct. The main advantages are increased
productivity, higher employee morale, less supervision, less wastage, etc.
3. Ensure that there are no pitfalls in performance appraisalPerformance appraisal should be factual and there should not be any partiality or bias in the
attitude towards the employees.
4. Rewards and disciplinary system
5. Improve and facilitate two way communication
6. Avoid any kind of discrimination among the employees based on certain factors like
caste, colour, culture, religion, appearances etc.
7. Equal opportunities must be given to every employee for his advancement and
8. Measures should be taken for employee safety while working in the organization.
Unethical Practices of HRM
1. EMPLOYERSCreating split in union leaders;
Biased attitude in selection, transfer, promotion etc.;
Off-shoring and exploiting ‘cheap’ labour markets;
Reneging on company pension agreements;
Longer and inflexible working hours;
Putting on more stress on employees for increasing the productivity;
The use of disputed and dubious practices in hiring and firing of personnel.
The perception of consumers’ about the company is based upon the ethics of the company.
Eventually, based upon the perception about the company, the investors will affect its’ share
price. Similarly, it has been suggested that poor standards of conduct emanating from the top
management affect employee motivation and commitment to organisational goals.
2. EMPLOYEESSome of the common problems areFalse claim of personal details like age, qualifications etc.
Producing false certificates.
Taking decisions as per their convenience.
3. GOVERNMENTAnnouncing the vacancies and not taking any action further.
Functioning of government offices is not transparent and reliable.
Selection committees will be excessively cautious of reservation quotas and
possible court cases rather than gaining through the responsibilities.
FAIRNESS AND JUSTICE
As an HR Manager you are ethically responsible for promoting and fostering fairness and
justice for all employees and their organizations. Following points must be considered to
promote the fairness and justice in an organization:
1. The organization must realize the intrinsic value of its employees.
2. Treat people with dignity, respect and compassion to foster a trusting work environment
free of harassment, intimidation and unlawful discrimination.
3. Giving opportunities to the employees equally to develop their competency skills.
4. Bring in the feeling of owning the organization, within employees so that the employees
would be committed towards the organization.
5. Laying down such policies and procedure which will ensure equitable treatment for all.
6. The individual goals on an employee must be streamlined with the organizational goals.
Individual goal of an employee should not obstruct him to achieve the organizational goals.
7. The organization must be fair and honest to its staff. Decisions taken by the management
must be ethical and legal.
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Sternberg,E.(2000).Just business: Business ethics in action.
Oxford University Press.Great Britain