In the modern world, thebusiness sector is becoming more increasingly complex and therefore in recenttimes, it has become essential for Human Resource (HR) to implement and developa culture of ethics and trust within the workforce. HR is an important factorin achieving such behaviours by ensuring that the employer and employee areaware of their responsibilities. HR also have an effect on motivation ofemployees, the reputation of the organisation viewed by the public and alsomust have a recruitment process which employs the best talent and are able toretain such skills. Enforcing these procedures is needed in order to sustain performanceand create benefits for the organisation as well as the employees. The concept of ethics isabout establishing the right from the wrong with relation to how humans behavetowards each other. This can only be achieved with a leader who has an ethicalapproach to grey area situations.
A leader holds characteristics of power, influenceand responsibility. The leader and follower relationship can be understoodfurther by understanding ethics. Ethical issues are mainly linked toleadership, such as authenticity, self discipline and moral obligations. Forexample, with regards to the Enron scandal, the top executives were accused forfraud in 2001 as they were overstating their accounts for their own selfinterests. The way in which a leaderbehaves has an effect on the way employees will behave.
Leaders are seen asrole models by employees as they set the standards and expectations. Thus,their failures in relation to morals have a much more weighted effect upontheir colleagues, especially those who are not leaders. Leaders are oftenexpected to hold an increased level of ethics. However, the issue with thismethod of thinking is that employees may feel that it is acceptable for them tonot have the same level of standard. Followers standards are just as important,if not more important than leaders. The way in which leaders are able toinfluence their followers, followers also have the ability to influence theirleader. Many researchers andscholars agree that the executive management’s practices and morals are vitalfor setting an ethical culture within the organisation (Clinard 1983). Hence,in order to create this type of culture it must begin with leader’s practiceswith regards to how they aim to meet their objectives and also how they dealwith any issues in relation to organisation procedures.
Acts that are carriedout by senior management must follow the procedures and policies that HR hasintegrated in to the workplace. Leaders who are inconsistent with proceduresare one of the main reasons as to why unethical practices occur in anorganisation (Srole, 1956). HR can not only enforceprocedures into the workplace but they may find that adjustments to the socialisationand procedures will be needed as they may be outdated. HR could impose missionstatements that focus on health and safety, providing excellent customerservice, being responsible with the local community and natural resources of theenvironment. This will enable the employees to understand that the organisationhas many other targets and achievements other than economic goals and want tobehave in an ethical manner. In order to communicate thesevalues, HR could introduce training programs which can aid employees to sharetheir views on topics such as, conduct codes, any ethical concerns they mayhave, techniques in resolving issues related to ethics and also methods on howbehaving ethically can be incorporated into the daily routine of theorganisation (Trevino 1990). However, these training programsare costly to the business as training will not only use up financial resourcesbut also human resources.
Therefore it is important that HR are alwaysfollowing and monitoring the values and procedures which have been taught anddiscussed in the training programmes. HR must not only train their employeeseffectively but also their management team. HR should be held responsible forensuring that superiors are aware of methods of employee motivation and how toachieve it. A way in this can be achieved is by rewarding employees who displayethical behaviour in the workplace. However, a much more effective way would beto adopt and follow the Job Characteristic Model (Hackman & Oldham 1976). The Job CharacteristicsTheory (Hackman & Oldham 1976) tells us how certain characteristics of ajob role can affect the performance of an individual. The theory states thatthere are five characteristics and three psychological states that will lead toincreased performance and motivation. Hackman & Oldham’s (1976) firstcharacteristic is skill variety.
This involves the variety of skills that isneeded in order to complete the task as appose to completing a task that ishighly repetitive. The second characteristic istask identity. This characteristic entails employees knowing a clear outcomeand has a clear breakdown of the beginning, middle and end of their job. The thirdcharacteristic is task significance. This relates to how meaningful employeesfind their task and will their role have an impact on the organisation and thelives of others. The fourth characteristic is autonomy. Autonomy is the amountof independence and freedom employees have in figuring out on how to accomplishtheir task.
The final characteristic is job feedback, which involves employees receivingfeedback on how they have performed and if they have completed their task effectivelyor not. Hackman & Oldham (1976) identifythree psychological states; experience of meaningfulness, experience responsibilityand knowledge of results. In order for employees to find their role meaningful,they must feel that that their task is valuable to the organisation.
The experienceof responsibility means that employees have a sense of accountability for thework that they have done. Lastly, for the employee to have knowledge of theresults, they must know how they effectively they are completing their job. Accordingto this theory, an individual must experience all of the states in order toachieve the overall outcome. If one of the states are missing, motivation willbe decreased.