Ethical Dilemmas of a Human Resource Manager
Undeniably, human resource forms part of one of the most significant resources in an organization. Therefore, based on this claim, it can be asserted that human resource management is one of the cornerstones of an organization. In most cases, the major functions of human resource management are to recruit, manage as well as giving directions to the workforce in an organization. As such, the profession of human resource management lately has become more valuable in most organizations in generation, and more specifically in the corporate world. However, like any other professions, there are various challenges that are associated with this profession, (LaRue, 2006). One of these challenges is the dilemmas that are faced by human resource managers. For that reason, this essay will be limited to evaluation of why human resource management is considered to be one of the professions that can be practiced as well as the ethical dilemmas that are connected with this profession.
There are various reasons why human resource management is taken to be a profession. To begin with, education is one of the core attributes of HRM. For one to become successive in this area, training is very crucial. As a matter of fact, it is very challenging to handle fellow human beings and unless special kind of training or rather education is given to HR managers, it might prove difficult in achieving organizational goals as well as objectives, (Louis & Melanie, 2009). For instance, decision making determines the future of an organization; therefore, HR managers have to be trained in order to know how to make strategic issues as far as human resource is concerned. Unquestionably, most organizations encompass a diversified workforce with different attributes; not unless HR managers are given special education, it will not be easy to work with a diversified workforce. Although licensing is in this profession is not common in this profession, HR managers are usually issued with certificates that allows them to practice, just like in most professions such as accountant professionals. Additionally, there are special bodies that HR managers, more especially those from big corporate firms must join as members. An example of such body is the Human Resource Professional Association (HRPA) in Ontario, (LaRue, 2006). Continuing education is necessary in this area as the nature as well as conditions as far as the workforce is concerned keeps on changing from time to time.
Though not universal globally, there is a code of ethics or rather standards which apply in the HRM profession. The code of ethics offers or rather acts as a guideline of what is supposed to be done human resource managers. For instance, it gives an outline on how managers should behave, their responsibilities, as well as their relationship with other employees. For instance, mostly the code of conduct outlines managers should handle recruitments of new employees. It has something to do with security of information about the employees that managers have recruiting as well as those already recruited. In most cases, there are mechanisms that have been put into place in most organization to ensure that the code of conduct is followed. However, in general, responsible membership associations are responsible in ensuring that their members adhere to the standards that they have set as a guide.
Ethical Dilemmas in HRM
Arguably, ethical issues in Human Resource Management can be said to be one of the difficult issues to deal with or rather handle. As a matter of fact, many issues arise from recruitment of employees, their benefits as well as remuneration, industrial relations, as well as safety and health. As previously, there are a number of ethical dilemmas that are associated with HRM profession. Lately, three sources of ethical dilemmas in this profession have been established; policy ethics, face to face ethics, as well as functional area ethics. Notably, face to face results basically due to the fact that human elements are involved in business transactions. Policy ethical dilemma usually arise when HR managers are given the responsibility of deciding on policies within the human resource department which have an impact on the operations of an organization; while on the other hand, functional ethical dilemmas are associated with the different functions that are undertaken within an organization.
The first ethical dilemma which most human resource manager faces is recruitment of employees as well as the existing employees. Code of ethics that are applicable in each and every organization clearly outlines what should be done during the recruitment process as well as after the process, (Jean & Diana, 2006). However, HR managers in many a time faces serious dilemmas in adhering to these requirements. One of the root courses of this dilemma is the pressure that is amounted on the HR manager from the top executive, family members as well as friends to hire a person who they have recommended. Moreover, HR manager have a dilemma when they come to discover that the person they had recruited provided fake documents which lead to their recruitment into the workforce of the organization. In this case, the person in question may have already been trained and the position is decisive. It might also happen that, the person as proved to be effective on the basis of the work he/she has done within that given period, or he/she has a desired attitude blended with exceptional skills. All these cases leaves the HR manager in a fix on what is supposed to be done as far as such issue is concerned.
The second dilemma that is faced with HR managers is concerned with the privacy issues. Like in the case of the employment process, codes of ethics also state how the personal information of the various issues should be treated by the HR managers. As a matter of fact, each and every employee of a given organization deserves some degree of respect of his/her personal issues; hence, the need for protection of such information by the organization, more especially by the HR manager, (Kynn, Edward, Kathryn & Donald, 2008). Examples of employee personal data which needs protection include; religion, social beliefs, as well as political beliefs. Nevertheless, in some circumstances, it becomes mandatory for HR managers to be probing behaviors of the employees. As an illustration, in order to keep the objectives of an organization on track, scanning mails of various employees might become necessary. In this case, the manager is faced with the dilemma of whether to observe the code of ethics by respecting the privacy of the employees or ignore this call and probe into the privacy of such employees for the benefit of the organization.
The other significant ethical dilemma in the field of HRM is concerned with compensation plans and cash. Employees as well as other members within an organization should be paid according to the policies as well as the nature of their work. To be more precise, there are ethical subjects relating to annual incentive plans, executive privileges as well as salaries. Due to the recent economic crisis, HR managers in most organizations have been put under pressure to increase the band of income or rather wages, (Louis & Melanie, 2009). Moreover, pressure to pay top management more incentives so as to retain them in such organization has become common lately. Furthermore, ethical challenges arise when these managers, in conjunction with the CEO, are designing long-term incentive and compensation plans. It is a common phenomenon that while preparing payout, pressure amounts on the managers to favor the desires of top management as compared to stakeholders as well as the other employees. As such, HR managers face many challenges in observing their ethics when handling such issues.
Lastly, advancement of new technology has necessitated a number of changes within many organizations, (Carolyn, 2010). For instance, it has become necessary for the labor intensive industries to contract their employment. This is many attributed to the replacement of older production methods with modern technologies; which has led to retrenchment of a good number of employees. Besides the application of new technology, most individuals in the globe and more especially in the United States of America lost their job as a result of the recent economic crisis. During this period, most HR managers faced ethical challenges or rather dilemmas as the decisions on corporate policy matters concerning the size of the workforce of an organization falls within the area of their responsibilities. Arguably, it is not ethically right for employees to be retrenched; which explains the dilemmas faced by the HR managers when such a decision is to be made.
Human resource is one of the most important segments of an organization of whichever kind. Lately, human resource management has been taken to be a profession, which explains why higher institutions of learning the entire globe are offering trainings which will assist students to become efficient HR managers in future. Notably, there are codes of ethics which should be adhered to be human resource professionals. However, as mentioned previously, they are faced with a number of ethical dilemmas in the course of undertaking their responsibilities. Their success in this profession mostly depends on the way they handle these ethical dilemmas.
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