The Ethics In Which We Work Human Resources The ethics in which we work Through out the course of this class my thoughts and views on the aspect alone of the human resources department has changed. I once thought this was a department that had little to no foothold in the dynamics of a corporation. However it is now evident to me that with out the HR department the entire functionality of any organization would crumble to ruins. For this research paper the assignment was to investigate and research one aspect of human resources; find out how it is operated and how it can be improved upon. I plan to discuss the issue and topic of ethics, and its relation to human resources.
I chose this topic because during this trying time that our nation has encountered, I feel ethics needs to be at its strongest standpoint ever. First I will define what is meant by ethics. Ethics is a set of rules or values, often set by society. These are the fibers, which set the standards for our culture, and the paths that form the means to our ends. Even though the atmosphere at the workplace should begin to code the ethical standards and practices, it is the role of HR to spell out these rules in black and white.
These can be found in the employee handbook. I decided to peruse through our handbook at work, and not to my surprise the ethical message was either too short or tangled up in legal jargon. That is exactly what the problem is. Society is so far torn from its values that we need, and I say that emphatically, we need something to spell out our moral and ethical codes for us. I spoke with the human resources generalist for our facility; I asked her what she thought about the moral codes of the work place today. I asked her to try her hardest not to confuse the question with a sexual harassment situation.
She had the following to say: What values? I had to laugh at this point; just knowing her cynical outlook on things the rest of this interview was bound to be interesting. The rest of the verbatim continued as follows: I remember when values were important, when a handshake meant something. The values not only of Grimes, but in the business arena as a whole has gone to hell in a hand-basket. I asked her what HR is going to do about this, and if it is fixable; her only reply was a nod of the head, and her phone rang. Back to business.
I decided to look for a book on ethics to see if the search for hope was futile. The book was called Business Ethics in our Century. It was quite the philosophical piece of literature on the topic. Early on in the book the authors posed a rather interesting question. What would you do if you and another person were interviewing for the same job, and a rumor was going around suggesting the other person was racist, and guilty of sexual harassment, however you knew these allegations to be false? At first I overlooked this question, simply dismissing it for the topic sentence into another section.
But after reading more my ethical understanding of how to operate in a business arena became clear to me. At this point I did not pay attention to the fact that work life and home life needed to wield different ethical swords. The societies are very different. So to answer the question about the interview I have written an answer. If I were an ethical egoist, my primary concern would be the betterment of myself through actions that seem to be the only obligation I ought to have.
When viewing the meaning behind ethics basically saying that there are certain standards and values that must be maintained in the business world, and a certain level of morals must be attained and attributed. In a situation regarding myself and another prospective for the same position, and the situation pertained to the validity of a rumor stating that my opposition was racist and sexist at a former job. I would simply reply, with my ethical egotistical attitude. Sir, whether or not my opposition did or did not commit such acts, I honestly don’t know. Now I know that might sound a little harsh but follow if you will, focus on the events surrounding the year 1960 in regards to the debates between Richard Nixon and John F.
Kennedy. During the debates Not once did Kennedy ever refer to his opponent by his name, and never once did he use Nixon’s past as a ladder for his own gain. Kennedy obviously had a philosophy that had a viewpoint of, If I care what my opponent has done, and if I focus on his past then all I am doing is bringing his name up and allowing the voters to hear his name more. So being the ethical egoist that he was, even though this could be considered rude not to even mention Nixon, he was only concerned about his own self-interest. So instead of confirming or denying the rumor, even though I know it is false, I would focus on my attributes and what I can do for the company.
I would make the employer understand through my credentials that I was the best person for that position by focusing on my background, and not giving much thought to the background of the other person. However if I were a follower of the deontologist rule, I would have no choice but to deny the rumors. If I knew the alleged to be false then it would be my moral duty to not only deny, but also possibly go as far as disproving the rumors. On the other hand I would still want the job and as humans would have it the moral fibers by which we are coded are only as strong as we let them be, and thus even though I deny the rumors I still want the job. Since a belief of mine, being a follower of Kant is always act as to treat others as and end and never only as a means. Even though it is my categorical imperative to clear up the false rumors about the racist and sexist slanders accused against the applicant, there is no rule stating that I can not bring up an equally job rendering fact that bares truth and validity.
For example I could show proof that the other person had always been late, or I could explain the temper that the other person would often display. Between the two of these ideals, I would much more be apt to follow the attitudes of the ethical egoists. In neither case did I state that my opposition committed the sexist and racist acts, but through ethical egoist beliefs the only concern I have is the betterment of myself and I do not feel compelled to defend the rumors. So I feel I would have a better chance to get the position if I stayed away from the views of Kant. Milton Friedman, a Nobel Prize winning economist believes that there is also a social responsibility expected of business. Friedman believes the management’s only duty is to make shareholder wealth.
The important things he wanted managers to remember is that there are certain limitations, like obeying the law. In Friedman’s eye’s if you were a manager who did anything other than cause a rise in company’s profit then you are not being fair to the investors who place their money in the stock of the company and depend on the profit maximizing, or you are being unfair toward society as a whole. The text offers an opposing view to the canonical views of Friedman’s social responsibility of business followings. It states, The very phrase social responsibility of business, which is what the debate is supposed to be about, is an oxymoron, since only human beings can have moral responsibilities. Corporations may consist of the interactions of human beings in various roles, but they are not human beings themselves.
In referring to the argument whether or not delegating moral responsibility to a corporation alone is sufficient enough to refute Friedman’s beliefs, then yes I think it is enough I understand that shareholders place money in corporations and expect a profit, in this case it is the responsibility of the managing staff (not necessarily moral) but more or less the duty of the manager to increase profit. In referring to the argument whether or not delegating moral responsibility to a corporation alone is sufficient enough to refute Friedman’s beliefs, then yes I think it is enough I understand that shareholders place money in corporations and expect a profit, in this case it is the responsibility (not necessarily moral responsibility) but more or less the duty of the manager to increase profit. Mark Pastin and Michael Hooker present an ethical analysis of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or (FCPA). They use two perspectives described as end-point assessment and rule assessment. Through end-point assessment the FCPA has caused a loss in business for U.S. manufacturing, and has caused a rather insignificant effect on improving commercial moral value.
Through the rule assessment viewpoint of the FCPA, Pastin and Hooker gives way to saying that the rules forbidding bribery are malleable. They say the fact that the FCPA causes a loss in business is what in turn bends the rules and causes bribery. Robert E. Fredrick a critic of Pastin and Hooker argues that the legislative body responsible for passing FCPA laws are not bending towards bribery, but are morally neutral. He feels the FCPA laws should be changed and that the prima facie rule is wrong and should not bend. Simply, Fredrick wants to state that there is not an immoral legislation at hand, and there is a difference between bribery and extortion.
Ok so maybe I got into the book just a little, but once I started with the project of researching ethics in the work place I wanted to know all I could find out about it. It was more than evident to me that values and morals were fighting a losing battle against mergers and dollar signs. But I knew there had to be a way to combine the two. However after doing my research I have come to this conclusion. Between 800 and 900 years ago, human beings sought honor. Knights lived for nothing but honor and were guided by their values alone.
As time pressed forward and technology increased; values dwindled. People began to associate values as kindness, and kindness as weakness. Weakness has always been in opposition to power, and in the world today power equals money. I feel the only way to apply a more friendly code of ethics, without dulling our level of aggression in today’s business world is to train. By this I mean hold mandatory classes on ethics, teach your employees how to have these two streams of life coexist.
Good strong morals and ethics are important as well as aggressive business tactics. If a company were to combine the two together, think of the possibilities. They are virtually limitless. Business.