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Ethical Issues In Human Resource Management

2855 words - 11 pages

Human resource management (HRM) is the science of managing people systematically in organizations. The unique individual actor in the organization - a given executive, manager, line worker - is not the focus of HRM, per se. Rather, human resources practices and policies concerning recurring cycles of staffing, reward and compensation, and performance management inform how any person or group of people is introduced into the organization, managed while there, and exited from the organization. When these three overarching aspects of human resource management are designed effectively, the organization benefits from a management system that enhances the sustained competitive advantage of the organization. A critical part of designing these aspects effectively requires consideration of ethical concerns at each stage.Staffing is comprised of systems designed to recruit and select employees to undertake required roles in the organization. The purpose of recruiting is to provide the organization with a group of candidates large enough for the organization to select the qualified employees that it needs. Needs are formalized by (1) job or position descriptions, which are written statements of content and organizational level of the job; and (2) hiring specification, which details background, experience, and skills requirements.Selection is the mutual process in which the organization decides whether to make an offer of employment and, if offered, the candidate decides whether or not to accept. Typically, selection procedures follow several steps. The applicant completes a formal job application, participates in a screening interview, takes tests, submits to a background check, participates in a more in‐depth interview, and receives a job offer. Of course, different employers may only use a subset of these steps.Ethical dilemmas emerge at a number of junctures within the staffing process. Within recruiting, organizations distribute descriptions and specifications to labor pools - the sites within the population in which the organization believes it is likely to find qualified candidates. However, the determination of what pools are tapped is often subjective and systematically biased. For example, when an organization finds a rich pool that yields a number of successful hires, the organization will tend to return to that pool, to the exclusion of other options. The result of this seemingly rational pattern has been that other rich pools are overlooked (Williams, Labig, and Stone, 1993). This is bad practice from a human resource perspective: organizations do not want to miss opportunities to find highly qualified employees, especially when there are labor market shortages. But the problem is compounded when underutilized pools correlate with race, ethnicity, gender, or other demographic characteristics of individuals that are unrelated to job performance (Hardin, Reding, and Stocks, 2002).This dilemma reaches even greater proportions as more global...

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