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Ethical Perspectives in

Employment Relations and


Human Resources Management

•Introduction to Session
•Module Overview and Objectives

Copyright 2000 - South-Western College Publishing


Module 27 - 1
Ethical Perspectives: Relation to
the Frame
• HR Transaction Roles & Ethical Perspectives
– Fairness of selection and promotion criteria
and processes
– Discipline and just cause standards
• HR Translation Roles & Ethical Perspectives
– HR functions regarding drug use or affirmative
action
– Employee rights of privacy vs. employer needs
– Cross-cultural differences’ impact

Copyright 2000 - South-Western College Publishing


Module 27 - 2
Ethical Perspectives: Relation to
the Frame (cont.)
• HR Transition Roles & Ethical Perspectives
– Selection of caring supervisors
– Use of leave policies responsive to work-family
conflicts
– Reduction of pay differentials
• HR Transformational Roles & Ethical
Perspectives
– New standards of ethical best practices
– Use of employee involvement and team
systems
– Collaborative and cooperative labor relations
Copyright 2000 - South-Western College Publishing
Module 27 - 3
Ethics, Morals & Philosophy
• Ethics: a branch of philosophy dealing with
“the good”

• Morals: individual or culture-bound values


that may or may not have foundation in ethics
or philosophy

Copyright 2000 - South-Western College Publishing


Module 27 - 4
Some Contrasts Between Ethics
and Morals
• Ethics require scrutiny and careful objective
evaluation
• Morals can be arbitrary, contradictory or
inconsistent
• Something can be ethical and moral OR
• Something can be ethical and immoral OR
• Something can be moral and unethical

Copyright 2000 - South-Western College Publishing


Module 27 - 5
Some Contrasts Between Law and
Ethics
• Something can be ethical and legal

• Something can be ethical and illegal

• Something can be unethical and legal

• Something can be unethical and illegal

Copyright 2000 - South-Western College Publishing


Module 27 - 6
Political Correctness and
Good Manners
• Political correctness includes being sensitive
to others and avoiding derogatory language

• Some argue that political correctness can be


overused, but political correctness can assure
ethical behavior

• By exercising Good Manners, Etiquette, and


Civility, professional and social commerce
can be lubricated
Copyright 2000 - South-Western College Publishing
Module 27 - 7
Judeo-Christian and Non-Western
Traditions
• Judaism, Christianity, and Islam emphasize
similarities in ethical perspectives relating to
work

• Global companies must learn differences of


business ethics under Asian and African
religious and philosophical traditions

• Ethical behavior may or may not be


consistent,however, with religious teachings
Copyright 2000 - South-Western College Publishing
Module 27 - 8
Gender Differences and Ethics
• Many ethical traditions historically treated
men’s and women’s workplace contributions
differently and unequally

• Contemporary thinking is moving toward


reducing most gender-based workplace
differentials

Copyright 2000 - South-Western College Publishing


Module 27 - 9
Conflicts at Work Regarding
What Is or Is Not Ethical
• Workplace conflicts can involve competing
core values, perceived inconsistencies
between actions and values, or varied
perceptions of reality
• Inter-group conflicts may occur between
– Employees and their employer, OR
– Labor union leaders and managers
• Intra-group conflicts may occur within groups
such as
– Union members disagreeing on contract goals OR
– Varied management departments’ strategic plans
Copyright 2000 - South-Western College Publishing
Module 27 - 10
Strategic Issues in Workplace
Ethics
• Overview of varied examples where work
conflict can occur regarding what is ethical,
moral, legal, or good manners
• Workplace ethics can involve contrasting
rights of individuals, groups (such as of
employees), or the employer
• Ethics at work can involve contrasts in rights
of life and safety, privacy and freedom, and
property and pursuit of happiness

Copyright 2000 - South-Western College Publishing


Module 27 - 11
Selection and Promotion of
Employees and Supervisors
• Job description criteria and measurement
fairness

• Pre-selection of eventual winners

• Caring person values and skills

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Module 27 - 12
Rights to Collect Information vs.
Rights of Privacy
• Monitoring for drug and alcohol use
• Collecting data on work lives and
performance
• Screening for dexterity, communication skills,
and personality traits
• Computer performance monitoring, electronic
eavesdropping, and video camera
surveillance

Copyright 2000 - South-Western College Publishing


Module 27 - 13
Income Differentials Within
Workplaces and Society
• Compensation and pay structures within the
firm

• Gender-related pay differentials

• CEO compensation in relation to others in the


firm; and to minimum wages and living wage
ordinances

Copyright 2000 - South-Western College Publishing


Module 27 - 14
Punishments, Progressivity, and
Just Cause in Discipline Cases
• Procedural justice and progressive, corrective
discipline systems

• Just cause standards in union and non-union


settings

• Employment-at-will versus wrongful


discharge exceptions

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Module 27 - 15
Occupational Health and Safety
• Worker’s compensation acts and disputed
claims

• OSHA’s general duty clause

• Cost benefit analysis in standard setting and


enforcement

• Reproductive hazards: health versus non-


discrimination
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Module 27 - 16
Employee Involvement and
Quality of Worklife Enhancement
• Varied programs seek to enhance employees’
worklife quality and increase their
involvement in decision-making

• Ethical conflicts can occur over the sharing of


productivity improvements and the impact on
employee numbers

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Module 27 - 17
Labor--Management Relations
• Rights of employees to unionize vs. employer
rights to operate union-free
• Union rights to collect dues and service fees
and limitations to do so under:
– Right-to-work state laws and
– Employee Beck rights and
– Union’s duty of fair representation
• Union and employee rights, and limitations, to
strike
• Collective bargaining processes under:
– Traditional labor-management negotiations and
– Interest-based (win-win styles of) bargaining
Copyright 2000 - South-Western College Publishing
Module 27 - 18
Affirmative Action Programs vs.
Seniority and Other Systems
• Preferences under Affirmative Action
programs

• Collective bargaining’s traditional Seniority


Principle

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Module 27 - 19
Workforce Reductions vs. Job
Creation Efforts
• Labor-management conflict over workforce
redundancies
• Causes of plant closings and conflicting ethical
claims of stakeholders including employers,
employees, and communities
• Impact of privatization of public sector
workplaces
• Various responses to downsizing pressures have
included:
– Humane downsizing policies
– Labor-management-community job creation efforts, and
– Employee Stock Ownership Plans
Copyright 2000 - South-Western College Publishing
Module 27 - 20