The Role of HR in Navigating Ethical challenges in our readings this week, we explored several topics related to building a culture of trust and transparency and in managing confidential information in the face of potential integrity violations.
- Locate and post a link to an article from the last 12 months published in The Wall Street Journal or other reputable sources about an ethical challenge a specific organization has faced.
- The article can be positive or negative, but look for issues that are related to major topics in the news such as the Me Too Movement, social justice, diversity and inclusion, and COVID-19
- Discuss what the organization did right and what they could have done better.
- What was the impact on the business? Were there any financial repercussions? Was anyone terminated as a result of their involvement in a scandal?
- What do you think the role of HR should have been in supporting C-Suite leaders in dealing with this issue?
Post your initial response by Wednesday, midnight of your time zone, and reply to at least 2 of your classmates’ initial posts by Sunday, midnight of your time zone.
1stto respond to
Hello Dr. Wallace, Dr. Cairns, and Classmates:
- Locate and post a link to an article from the last 12 months published in The Wall Street Journal or another reputable source about an ethical challenge a specific organization has faced.
In the two articles I chose (links below), the authors discuss tech companies such as Facebook, Netflix, Pinterest, and Google.
- Discuss what the organization did right and what they could have done better. Organizations like the ones mentioned in the article have been open with their employees so far, including them in town hall meetings and openly discussing what the company is doing. However, it appears that in the last years this transparency has been reduced and some employees who have become whistleblowers are working with journalists to reveal some of the secrets inside the company. (1, 2).
- What was the impact on the business? Were there any financial repercussions? Was anyone terminated as a result of their involvement in a scandal? For Facebook, there has been an impact on their credibility and their role in political manipulation (1) has been questioned by former employees. For Netflix, employees have walked out in disagreement with their content. For Google and Apple, documents have been revealed on employe practices that paint a different picture of what has been the image of transparency in their companies. The whistleblowers have either been terminated as a result of their complaints or left their companies.
- What do you think the role of HR should have been in supporting C-Suite leaders in dealing with this issue? The role of HR, but in particular with direct managers is to have a policy of candor and transparency. HR professionals need to be constantly asking the questions we read in the lecture notes, such as: Is there a risk that, if I don’t escalate the matter, the company will be put in jeopardy? (3) In the case of the companies in the articles mentioned, there was a miss from the hiring manager or the HR team to address subjects the employees were bringing up and they did not act as it was required.
1. Katherine Bindley. Oct 22, 2021. Silicon Valley Giants Built an Open Culture, and Now Workers Are Holding Them To It. The Wall Street Journal. https://www.wsj.com/articles/silicon-valley-giants-built-an-open-culture-now-workers-are-holding-them-to-it-11634904045?mod=management_lead_pos6
2. Mengqi Sun. Oct 28, 2021. More Tech Whistleblowers Are Expected, Experts Say. The Wall Street Journal. https://www.wsj.com/articles/more-tech-whistleblowers-are-expected-experts-say-11635413403
3. JWI522. Week 7. Lecture Notes.
2nd person to respond to is
For this week’s discussion, I decided to use an article by Eliot Brown called Former WeWork Executives Allege Gender, Age Discrimination. (1) The article discusses how an ex-vice president of construction and an ex-human resources executive have filed lawsuits about gender inequality (when it comes to positions and pay) and age treatment (younger employees being valued more than older ones). The article states the concerns and how they were reported and gives information on the company’s position on the issues, which is they deny these claims and plan to fight them. Spokesmen for the company have made statements about the character of one of the plaintiffs by stating how she has sued other employers for similar issues and how they see the pay gap as justifiable. They also point out facts that some could consider distractions from the main issue such a male to female employment rates which were stated as 49/50 in 2017 and have increased to 50/50. They could be considered distractions because they are not relevant to pay and age discrimination but simply demonstrate the company has a relatively equal number of men and women employed within the organization. I also found other articles that present history for the company being sued for other discrimination practices such as those previously mentioned as it pertains to pay and promotions (2), sexual harassment (1), and benefits (such as maternity leaves). These articles are negatively portraying WeWork when it comes to the aspect of workplace diversity and inclusion. The current practices being utilized seem to be outdated and not evolving with the rest of the world as it pertains to people that make up the current workforce and their needs. The organizational approach to these claims in my opinion is wrong. Instead of recognizing there might be a problem due to the increase and similarities of these lawsuits they seem to be focused on discrediting some of the plaintiffs and justifying current practices.
The impact of these lawsuits and current practices will be negative for organization success. Truth and trust within the company will lack because credibility for the company will be lost. How can employees feel valued, appreciated, and secure within their positions when the higher-ups are suing and bring attention to issues at an increasing rate. As mentioned by Carpenter, creditability plays a huge role in trust development, and without it, it can become difficult to get employees to support practices and values. Financially, I could see productivity going down as employees start to access what going on and determine if they too are being treated unfairly creating a cloud of uncertainty within the workplace. I can see employment rates start to decrease as some seek other employment. These cases are currently ongoing but if things don’t go as the organization thinks they should, I can see people getting fired and a massive restructuring of position and responsibilities happening to allow changes to occur. As Allen stated when making a decision you must consider if the decision can “stand the test of time” and the message it conveys about an organization. At the moment WeWork is not adjusting and evolving with the times and it’s starting to send the wrong message out which can do a lot of damage in this digital age. The best approach for HR in this scenario would be to investigate, re-evaluate practices, make adjustments, listen to feedback and focus on solving the problems. Be the problem solvers as McCord discussed in previous videos about HR responsibilities.
Brown, Eliot. (2019). Former WeWork Executives Allege Gender, Age Discrimination – WSJ
Alfred, Maroko & Goldberg. (2020). WeWork faces gender and racial discrimination lawsuit | Allred, Maroko & Goldberg (amglaw.com)
Allen, Bill. (2021). Decision Making. Lecture Videos Week 7. blackboard.strayer.edu
Carpenter, Jennifer. (2021). Trust and Truth. Lecture Videos Week 7. blackboard.strayer.edu