HRM role in promoting ethics and fair treatment

The Manager’s role

Managers have to think through way to send the right signals to their employees.

Techniques include:

Clarify Expectation: First they make clear their expectations with respect to the values they want subordinates to follow. One way to do this is to publish a corporate ethics code. For example the Johnson & Johnson code says we believe our first responsibility is to the doctors, nurses and patients to mothers and fathers and all other who uses our products and services.

Use signs and symbols: Symbolism what the manager actually does and thus the signals he or she sends ultimately does the most to create and sustain the company’s culture. Managers need to walk the talk. They cannot expect to say don’t fudge the financials and then do so themselves.

Provide physical support: The physical manifestation of the manager’s values – the firm’s incentive plan, appraisal system and disciplinary procedures for instance — send strong signals regarding what employees should and should not do. Does the firm reward ethical behavior or penalize it?

Use stories: Stories can illustrate important company values. IBM has such stories like the one about how IBM salespeople drove through storms to get parts to customers.

Organic Rites and Ceremonies: At JC Penney new management employees are inducted into the Penney Partnerships. Each inductive receives an HCSC lapel pin. The letters stand for JC Penney’s core values of honor, confident service and cooperation.

Ethic programs are not just important for large companies. The When you’re on Your Own feature illustrates this.

We’ve seen that employees can take various steps to ensure ethical behavior by their employees. Many steps are within the realm of human resources management policies and practices. We’ll consider some specific examples.

HRM – Related Ethics Activities

Selection One writer says the simplest way to tune up an organization, ethically speaking is to hire more ethical people. This can start before the applicant even applies, by creating recruitment materials with explicit references to the firm’s emphasis on ethics. (The US Data trust site in Figure is an example). Employers can then use tools such as honesty tests and meticulous background checks to screen out undesirables. Also, ask behavioral questions such as Have you ever observed someone stretching the rules at works? What did you do about it? And, Have you ever had to go against company guidelines or procedures in order to get something done?

The apparent fairness of the selection process is important. For example, It prospective employees perceive that the hiring process does not treat people fairly, they may assume that ethical behavior is not important in the company and that official pronouncements about the importance of ethics can be discounted. The manager can do several things on ensure that others view firm’s assessment methods as fair:

The employee will tend to view the formal procedure (such as the selection interview) as fair to the extent that it tests job related criteria provides an opportunity to demonstrate competence providers a way of redressing an error, and is used consistently with all applicants (or employees).

The person’s interpersonal treatment reflects such things as the propriety of the questions, the politeness and respect of the person doing the assessing, and the degree to which there was an opportunity for two way communication.

Candidates appreciate employers’ providing explanations Individuals se system as fair to the extent that the employer provides useful knowledge both about the employee’s or candidate’s own performance and about employer’s assessment procedures.

Applicants or employees tend to view some selection tools are fairer than other. For example, to the extent that work sample test are clearly job related give applicants an opportunity to perform, and provide specific feedback applicants tend to view them as fair Subjects in several studies preferred honesty tests or urinalysis to personality assessment tests, probably because of the lack of obvious job relevance of personality assessment.

Effective interviews that provide for two way communication, let the applicant displays skills offer feedback and have high face validity (in terms of measuring what they’re purported to measure) are also viewed as fair.


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