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Utilitarianism and the 'Happiness principle'

Discuss about the Human Happiness in CPM and HRM.

The assignment addresses the utilitarian theory to analyze the principles of ethics and understand the basics of contemporary people management (CPM) and human resource management (HRM). The author describes the two theoretical concepts based on humanity and CPM/HRM. It also analyzes the contribution of CPM and HRM on society, organizations and human beings and its impact on the ethics. The primary aim is to analyze the ethics of contemporary people management and human resource management. Human resource management is the management of human resources in an organization. The aim of the human resource manager in an organization is to maximize the performance of employees in accordance to the strategic objectives of an organization (Kramar, 2014). Contemporary people management is the management of group of people in an organization. Contemporary people management is the subset of human resource management. Both the human resource management and contemporary people management face some ethical issues that are related to employees, remuneration, benefits, reward and recognition and health and safety. The assignment discusses the relationship between happiness principle, utilitarianism and HRM/CPM. Utilitarianism is a theory that is related to the actions that maximizes the utility (Kramar & De Cieri, 2008).

Utilitarianism and the “Happiness principle”

The basic principle of Utilitarianism is to promote happiness. A action is said to proportionate and appropriate if its promotes happiness while it is said to wrong if reverse happens. Utilitarianism is a theory that aims at maximizing the utility or the benefit of the human beings. John Stuart and Jeremy Bentham developed the theory in 18th to 19th century. The main motive of the theory is to promote happiness not just for the performer but the other actors as well. The Utilitarianism theory is opposed to much ethical theory because according to this the main aim of people is to maximize utility (Hollander, 2016). Hence, the people can perform such actions that maximize utility even if it is done from the wrong motive. Utility is defined in various ways but the most common way to define utility is in terms of well being of either human beings or the organizations. The action that the individuals perform that creates happiness does not include suffering and pain. The theory as further extended that not only measured utility by defining it in quantitative terms but also qualitative terms. The judgment on the actions depends on the effects of the actions and not its performance (Paul, 2013). The purpose of the morality according to utility theory is to increase the amount of good things and decrease the amount of bad things. Good things here refer to happiness and pleasure while bad things refer to pain and unhappiness. The theory does not consider the ethics and moral code but is based on religion, traditions, customs and orders. The theory is based on the consequences and results. Good, bad, right and wrong is determined on the basis if effects and consequences of laws, moral conduct, actions and policies perceived by an individual or the organization.

HRM / CPM

The entire theory is based on just one principle that is performing the actions that produces the best consequences. The Utilitarianism is based on the greatest “Happiness principle”. The actions is considered to be moral if they promote happiness and maximizes utility or well being and is considered immoral if they promote reverse. It is not necessary for the actions to be ethical or unethical unless and until it yields right consequences. The happiness principle is considered as good in general but has many flaws, as it does not comply with the ethical system. The greatest happiness principle theory does not consider the third party that is being affected (Riley, 2013). The aim is to maximize self-welfare and happiness even though it is affecting others in a negative way. The happiness principle does not consider the future while measuring morality and happiness. The happiness principle does not consider law formulated by government. Hence, though the happiness principle and utilitarianism is considered as one of the best moral theory and influential theory it has many flaws and controversies, as the theory does not comply with ethics and issues (Veenhoven, 2014).

Human Resource Management is the management of the human resources in an organization. It is the management of people within an organization. The responsibility of human resource manager is to manage employees and the work in an organization. The responsibility of human resource manger is divided in three components that are staffing, employee compensation and benefit and designing work.  The main role of human resource manager is to improve the productivity of the organization by managing the employees. The responsibilities of human resource manager in an organization are to select and recruit employees for the right job at right time and place (Armstrong & Taylor, 2014). It also includes providing training and development to employees to improve their performance, provide compensation and benefits to maximize their welfare, evaluate the performance of employees and provide rewards based on the performance of employees. The human resource manager is responsible for managing the queries of employees and resolving the disputes by properly communicating the employees. Human resources is an important part often organization (Aswathappa, 2013). They are considered as an asset for the company who is responsible for managing employees so that they are able to improve the performance by recognizing their performance and providing proper training and development.

Contemporary people management is the management of group of people in an organization. CPM is an extended function of HRM where the main aim is to improve the communication skills in an organization by managing the people. CPM is the management of new HR practices and potential to add value to the organization. The idea addresses the management of people in an organization by managing the contemporary issues and problems that the managers and employees in an organization face. The human resource manager has the responsibility of maintaining ethics and humanity in an organization by abiding the ethical principles and maintaining the moral conduct. The human resource manager to the employees communicates the strategies and the objectives of the organization (Evertson & Weinstein, 2013).

Relationship Between Utilitarianism and HRM/CPM

Ethics and utilitarianism has a great impact on the human resource and contemporary people management. The ethical theory and the utility theory in context of Human resource management relates to the consequences, outcomes or ends of an employee in an organization. The aim of the human resource manager is to maximize the profit of an organization and achieve the goals and targets of the firm by utilizing the strategies that maximizes the welfare of both the employees and the organization. The aim of the manager in an organization is to maximize the utility and benefit in an organization (Costea et al., 2012). The rules for the workers in an organization are based on the utility. This often causes stress and anxiety for employees as the utility is different in terms of managerial perspective and employee perspective. Different human resources managers approach the ethical principles in different ways. The aim and responsibility of the manager is to maximize the happiness of employees so that they are able to achieve the target of the organization. It indirectly focuses on maximizing the welfare of the entire organization. Business ethics is the principles that define moral code of conduct that define the actions that are right and wrong in an organization. The role of human resource manager is to ensure that they are able to main ethics in an organization by maintaining quality and justice between the employees and managers (Hall et al., 2012).

The utilitarianism theory includes both the soft and hard human resource management ethics in its ethical principle concept. Hard human resource management is using the employees juts to satisfy the needs of the organization and meet the organizational goals. Soft Human resource management considers employees as a subject in themselves. The human resource manager manages the rights of employees, participation and empowerment. It focuses on managing the employees rights and also the organizational goals (Bolton & Houlihan, 2007).

Conclusion

Hence, from the above analysis it is clear that the main aim of the utilitarianism theory is to promote happiness and pleasure by taking up the right action. The actions that promote happiness and pleasure are considered, as right actions while reverse are true in case of wrong actions. Human resource manager aims at fulfilling the goals of the organization by effectively managing the employees. The responsibility of the HRM is to maintain ethics at organization. The HRM can contribute to the happiness of employees by recognizing their performance and rewarding them accordingly. The aim of employees is to maximize its welfare by maximizing its income while the aim of the managers is to maximize the profit. The human resource manager can maximize the benefit and welfare of both the employees and managers in an organization.  The utilitarian theory accepts both the soft and hard HRM practices while considering the ethical principles. The flaws of the utilitarian principle and theory are that it does not consider various ethical principles in its concept. 

References

Armstrong, M., & Taylor, S. (2014). Armstrong's handbook of human resource management practice. Kogan Page Publishers.

Aswathappa, K. (2013). Human resource management: Text and cases. Tata McGraw-Hill Education.

Bolton, S. C., & Houlihan, M. (Eds.). (2007). Searching for the human in human resource management: Theory, practice and workplace contexts. Palgrave Macmillan.

Costea, B., Amiridis, K., & Crump, N. (2012). Graduate employability and the principle of potentiality: An aspect of the ethics of HRM. Journal of business ethics, 111(1), 25-36.

Evertson, C. M., & Weinstein, C. S. (Eds.). (2013). Handbook of classroom management: Research, practice, and contemporary issues. Routledge.

Hall, D., Pilbeam, S., & Corbridge, M. (Eds.). (2012). Contemporary themes in strategic people management: a case-based approach. Palgrave Macmillan.

Hollander, S. (2016). Ethical Utilitarianism and The Theory of Moral Sentiments: Adam Smith in Relation to Hume and Bentham. Eastern Economic Journal, 42(4), 557-580.

Kramar, R. (2014). Beyond strategic human resource management: is sustainable human resource management the next approach?. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 25(8), 1069-1089.

Kramar, R., & De Cieri, H. (2008). Human resource management in Australia: strategy people performance.

Paul, B. (2013). A critical analysis of mills utilitarianism. Docs. school Publications.

Riley, J. (2013). Greatest Happiness Principle. The International Encyclopedia of Ethics.

Veenhoven, R. (2014). Greatest Happiness for the Greatest Number. InEncyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research (pp. 2612-2613). Springer Netherlands.

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