Analyze Of Utilitarian Theory To Gain Knowledge On HRM And CPM

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Question :

Analyze the utilitarian theory to develop an understanding of the principles of ethics and to gain knowledge of the basics of Human Resource Management (HRM) and contemporary people management (CPM). 

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Answer :

200826-Contemporary People Management

Human happiness in CPM and in HRM


The purpose of this essay is to analyze the utilitarian theory to develop an understanding of the principles of ethics and to gain knowledge of the basics of Human Resource Management (HRM) and contemporary people management (CPM). According to Sheldon (2004), utilitarianism can be described as a theory linked to the activities that maximize the utility. Based on humanity as well as HRM/CPM, the author has discussed the two individual concepts of the theory. Besides, the particular essay has also discussed how CPM and HRM contribute to the organizations, society and human beings, and create an impact on the ethics. The essay is aimed at analyzing the ethics of human resource management and conventional people management. The human resource managers have a key purpose in the organizations to manage employee performance in line with the organizational strategic objectives of the business (Noe et al. 2006). On the contrary, contemporary people management refers to the process of managing groups of people in an organization. It can be assessed that contemporary people management is a subset of human resource management. In most of the cases, contemporary people management and human resource management encounter a number of ethical challenges related to employee benefits, employee remuneration, health and safety, recognition, and reward. In this assessment, the researcher has developed a discussion on the relationship between utilitarianism, happiness principles and HRM/CPM. 


Promoting happiness is the key principle of Utilitarianism. An appropriate and proportionate action always fosters happiness, whereas an action becomes ineffective when it fails to promote happiness. Utilitarianism refers to the theory aiming at enhancing the benefit or utility of human beings. In the 18th and 19th century, John Stuart and Jeremy Bentham developed the theory, which has a key purpose of fostering happiness, not only restricted for the performer but also for others as well (Bohlander, Snell and Sherman 2007). The Utilitarianism theory contrasts to the much ethical theory since it believes that the people possess an aim of maximizing the utility. Therefore, people are able to execute such activities focused on maximizing utility although it is conducted with the wrong purpose. Even though the utility has been defined in different ways, the most accepted definition is regarding its focus on the well-being of either organizations or human beings. 

The action carried out by the individuals for creating happiness does not involve any pain and suffering. The theory further discusses that alongside quantitative terms, qualitative terms also measure the utility. According to Foster (2014), the judgment of the action relies only on the effects of the actions, not on performance. According to the utility theory, morality is purposed to augment the number of good things and reduce the number of bad things. Good things are pleasure and happiness, while the bad things refer to pain and unhappiness. The particular theory does not reflect on the moral code and ethics since it largely relies on the traditions, religions, customs and orders. The utility theory is largely based on the consequences. The result or consequences of moral conduct, laws, policies and actions professed by an individual or an organization decide good, bad, right and wrong. 

The theory is based on a key principle of performing actions to achieve the best results. The Utilitarianism is based on the “Happiness Principle” (Greenwood 2002). The actions are considered to be moral if they successfully foster happiness and enhances the wellbeing or utility, while it is considered immoral if their failure to promote the same. Unless it gives way the right consequences, it is not essential for the actions to be unethical or ethical. Since the principles of happiness do not comply with the ethical system, it is considered good in general, but it possesses many flaws. The happiness principle theory does not focus on the third party, which encounters adverse impacts. It aims at maximizing the self-welfare as well as happiness although it creates adverse impacts on others in a pessimistic way (Klikauer 2018). The happiness principle also does not focus on the future when it comes to measuring morality and happiness. It also does not consider the regulations developed and implemented by the government. Therefore, it can be assessed that even though the utilitarianism and the happiness principle theory are considered as the best influential and moral theory, they possess a number of controversies and flaws due to the fact that they do not comply with the issues and ethics. 

The key purpose of human resource management is to manage people in the organization. Besides managing employees and their needs, the HRM also needs to focus on managing work. The major responsibilities of human resource management can be classified into three parts, including staffing, employee compensation and benefit and designing work. The HR manager also plays an imperative role in enhancing the productivity of the business through the effective management of employees within the workplace. Selecting right candidates for the right place at the right time is another significant responsibility of an HR manager. The human resource managers have others responsibilities in the organization, such as providing training and development to the employees to enhance their performance level, evaluating employee performance and giving rewards and benefit based on their performance. Managing effective communication with the employees is the most important responsibility for an HR manager since it enables them in resolving employees’ queries, disputes and conflict situation. According to Costea, Amiridis and Crump (2012), human resource management is a significant asset of the company that certainly plays several roles in an organization to achieve the goals and objectives of the business. 

Contemporary people management (CPM), on the other hand, refers to the process of managing a group of people in the organization. CPM can be described as the extended function of Human Resource Management that mainly aims to enhance the communications skills within the workplace through people management. According to De Gama et al. (2012), CPM is the process of managing the new HR practices that certainly potential to augment value to the organization. The key idea surrounding the CPM process is that the management of people within the organization by dealing with the contemporary challenges encountered by the employees and managers. The HRM takes the responsibility of upholding the ethics as well as humanity in the organization by maintaining moral conduct and following the ethical principles. One of the key functions of the HR managers is to communicate the organizational strategies and objectives to the employees. 

Utilitarianism and ethics influence the contemporary people management and human resource management process. In the context of the Human Resource Management, both the utility and ethical theory relate to the outcomes and consequences of employees within an organization (Greenwood and Freeman 2011). Maximizing the profitability of the organization and achieving the targeted business objectives is one of the key purposes of the human resource manager. The HR managers utilize effective strategies in order to ensure welfare for organizations as well as employees. The rules and regulations that an employee needs to follow are largely based on the utility. Since utility is dissimilar with respect to the employee perspective and managerial perspective, employees often go through stress and anxiety. The HR managers have different approaches to deal with ethical principles. 

The HR managers are aimed and responsible towards enhancing employees’ happiness to enable them to to achieve the corporate objectives effectively. In some way, it focuses on ensuring the welfare of the entire organization. According to the analyzing conducted by Rhodes and Harvey (2012), business ethics refer to the principles, which define the moral code of conduct classifying the right and wrong actions in an organization. The key role of an HR manager is to maintain ethics within the workplace by upholding justice and equality between managers and employees. 

The utilitarianism theory involves hard and soft HRM ethics in its concept of ethical principle. With the hard human resource management concept, the HR managers utilize employees to fulfil organizational needs and objectives. On the other hand, soft human resource management uses employees as a subject in the organization. The HR manager is focused on managing employee rights, empowerment and participation in the organization. They also manage the organizational functions for achieving corporate objectives. 


From the analyses conducted throughout this essay, it can be assessed that the key objective of the utilitarianism theory is to foster pleasure and happiness through the right activities. The activities promoted for the pleasure and happiness are always considered as the right action, whereas the reverse occurs in case of wrong actions. Attaining the corporate objectives through the effective management of employees is the aim of the HRM in any organization. It can be assessed that the major responsibility that HRM needs to take is to ensure whether or not ethics are maintained within the organization. The HR managers contribute to the happiness of employees through the recognition of their performance followed by giving them proper reward and benefits. The utilitarian theory considers both hard and soft HRM practices in the context of ethical principles. The key flaws of the utilitarian theory and principle are that they never consider different ethical principles within its concept.