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B863 - Human Resource Management > Ethics > Flashcards

Flashcards in Ethics Deck (18)
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Philosophy of consequentialism that leads to the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Mill and Bentham

Eg. Actions can be morally right even if they infringe on an individual’s rights eg. Redundancy


Ethical egoism

A consequentialist philosophy that the best action is the one that benefits oneself and maximises self-interests.

Eg. We only act altruistic if there is something in it for ourselves - a future favour so you owe me!


The Golden Rule - treat others how you would like to be treated.

In ethical reasoning we have a duty to judge actions as right or wrong irrespective of the consequences.

Kant’s arguments form the basis of Human Rights debates UN declaration of Rights after WW2. The ‘categorical imperative’ (universal moral principles to guide human behaviour); what if everyone did this?, never use humans as a means to an end and act as if part of same moral community.

Contradictions - one person’s right to smoke versus another’s right to clean environment. Utilitarianism helps to resolve these conflicts.


Ethical relativism

When in Rome

Eg. Aziz, the TA from W Yorks who lost her discrimination ET due to wearing Niqab face covering

Example of utilitarianism


Wilcox and Lowry (2012) reading on HRM and; ethics

Considers globalism

OU reader that suggests ethics is a consideration for most if not all areas of HRM:

Ethical dilemmas, relativism, frameworks etc.


Ethical absolutism

The idea that there is only one acceptable moral principle.

Criticised for oversimplifying complex issues eg. Azmi, Matthew Furlong. True in the case of NHS bullying


Ethical pluralism

Acknowledges that ethical decisions involve balancing various demands and perspectives.

Eg. Williams, the Global HR Director for Travelex. Included in the CIPD library of readings named ‘Thought Pieces’ (2015), Williams considers the cloud as the way forward for global communications in HR; improved efficiency and shared centres but keeps grievance procedures local


Safia Boot

HR professional; ambiguities in adhering to stewardship and ethics - foreign labour and their human rights and dignity versus achievement of business objectives


CIPD professional code is conduct

1 - competence & behaviour; cpd, support in new ideas, accept responsibility, and relevance, accuracy and timeliness.
2 - Ethics and integrity; build relation trust, confidence and respect, role model, be sensitive to customs, practices, culture and beliefs, champion equal ops, diversity and inclusion, and human rights and dignity. Data protection.
3 - be a rep for the profession; uphold reputation and values, wider community, lawful and take action on illegal practices, mindful of distinction between personal and professional.
4 - Stewardship; treat others fairly and ensure others do, challenge unlawful/unethical practices, do not allow professional judgment to be compromised or create bias, work towards achieving business objectives, ensure staff are competent, supervised and supported.i


Ethics and HRM

Ethical issues at work relate to trust, integrity and conflicts of interest. Appropriate policies and procedures aim to do good to prevent harm.

Kochan (2004) HRMs have a special responsibility for the well-being of employees.


Ethical issues

Performance management - judging vs developing performance
Training and development- poor training can lead to unsafe working environment, low motivation.
Reward management- unequal distribution of wealth eg CEO pay vs zero hours contracts.
Equality and diversity- bullying, harassment.
Flexible labour- poor pay/reward, lack of cpd.
Work-life balance - pressure of long working hours, presenteeiam cultures.
Downsizing - redundancy, social exclusion, economic hardship, survivors and work intensified.


Virtue ethics, Trevino and Nelson (2007)

More concerned with the actor than the action. Relate to a person’s character. Everyone has the potential for virtue and it can be learned. Philosophers and religious thinkers include virtues:
Constancy - don’t agree with that! If you can learn to be virtuous maybe you weren’t before!

HRMs may be faced with conflicting dilemmas of honesty and loyalty.


Theory of Justice, Rawls (1971)

Rawls challenges us to imagine everyone wears a hypothetical ‘veil of ignorance’ over their race, class, gender, intelligence or physical ability. This is the ‘original position‘ before any preconceived ideas. We would be forced to be impartial and fair. Justice means everyone having equal rights and a fair distributive service.


Distributive justice, Rawls (1971) and Sen (2009)

Relates to the fair distribution of resources


Procedural justice, Margolis et al. (2007)

The processes used to come to a decision and whether these are fair. Can be operationalised through employee voice, justifiable explanations and compassionate interpersonal treatment.

Particularly applicable to HRM eg. Fair recruitment and selection, performance management and termination.


Interactional justice, Barling and Phillips (1993)

Fair interpersonal relationships; honest, respectful, open

Eg. Decision to withhold financial information prior to downsizing would violate interactional justice principles.


Ethic of care, Machold et al. (2008)

Does not require impartiality but recognises and is responsive to the well-being of others. Emphasises practice and social (not cognitive) processes. The practice of care involves:
Caring about - moral awesomeness
Taking care of - sense if responsibility
Care-giving - empathy and competence
Care-receiving - responsiveness and receptiveness

Example- Harris Farm Markets Australian Greengrocer who targeted asylum seekers as employees


Guanxi ethics, Po (2009)

Central to Chinese business cultures. Acknowledges interdependence, sharing and reciprocity in Eastern collective working cultures.

Debate on ethics of gift-giving which is embodied in guanxi culture. Whilst this maybe viewed as a bribe in the West it does not here; indeed the practice discourages self-interest.