Edited by Keith Townsend and Adrian Wilkinson
Chapter 15: Employment Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility
Steve Brammer INTRODUCTION The modern world of work is increasingly dynamic, competitive, complex and uncertain (Scullion et al., 2007; Schuler and Jackson, 2005). Globalization, the delocalization of production, and the broadening of the geographical scope of firms that accompanies them, as well as the increasing work intensity, the changing nature of careers, and the decline of labor unions as the traditional means of employee representation and support have all presented significant challenges for contemporary employment relations. In response to these challenges, both academic research in human resource management and the profession itself have undergone profound change in the last 20 years. Formerly, human resource departments were seen in largely administrative terms as the acquirers and policemen of firms’ personnel. More recently, the greater strategic contributions of the HRM function have come to the fore as employees have become understood as firms’ ‘human capital’ (Barney and Wright, 1998; Schuler et al., 2001). Many of the significant changes apparent in the modern workplace are associated with significant ethical issues that raise questions regarding responsible organizational conduct in respect of them (Schoemaker et al., 2006; Schumann, 2001). For example, Schumann (2001) highlights the wide range of ethical issues that relate to human resource management including violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employees receiving gifts or entertainment in violation of the organization’s policies, employees engaging in fraud, accepting kickbacks or bribes, lying to supervisors, abusing drugs...
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