SHRM Code of Ethics

Using the SHRM code of ethics, prepare a 3-4-page plan that states your recommended course of action and analysis for an internal hiring scenario with ethical implications.

HR professionals work hard to encourage others in the organization to reflect and apply the ethics of the profession. Also, we have to be very cognizant of the rules of behavior associated with the organizations for which we work. Many organizations have their own code of conduct or guidelines of behavior. Any confusion should be dealt with promptly by working with the leadership and general counsel. We are, in the end, agents of the firm, no matter what type of organization we work in, and it is our responsibility to work diligently to support leaders in establishing a culture of trust and respect between the organization and its employees. In this assessment, the SHRM behavioral competency Ethical Practice and the HRM content knowledge area of Risk Management will be important for supporting your recommendation for a challenging hiring scenario, with potential ethical implications.

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You are an HR professional in an organization with 1,200 employee and seven sites. The company you work for is involved in engineering. It performs construction design and also engages in research and development of engineering and construction materials. As the HR director, you report directly to the company’s CEO. The company’s founder is a scientist and though present at one of the sites, he is no longer involved in the running of the organization. There is a six-member board of directors.

The CEO is very open and outgoing and he is liked and respected by almost everyone in the company and his community. Recently, a technical position came open. The job announcement was only made internally, which is an option based on the approved and recently revised employee manual you completed and presented to the CEO and all senior staff. Note: The employee manual does not require management to hire the best qualified applicant. Currently, the company has an equal number of men and women, so filling this position with one gender or the other is not a consideration for maintaining an employment balance.

  • Technical position information: A fully qualified candidate is considered capable of performing the work with some period of transition, estimated to be around one year, and a best qualified candidate is considered someone able to hit the ground running in the new position.
  • Candidate information: Two internal employees have applied but they are not equally qualified.
    • One of the internal employees is a fully qualified young woman who has the education and two years of professional experience in the field, but she’s a new employee in the company.
    • The other internal employee is the best qualified young man with over eight years in the company. He holds multiple graduate degrees and has extensive professional experience.

The announcement of a hiring selection has not been made, but company gossip has already started, reflecting upon the likelihood that the young woman will be chosen because the CEO has an innocent crush. While no allegations of impropriety of any type have been made, the perception of a form of favoritism is present.

Your Challenge

The SHRM code of ethics advises HR professionals to “advocate for the appropriate use and appreciation of human beings as employees.” Using this and other ethical guidelines, should you try to influence the CEO’s selection and recommend that the young man be hired over the young woman? Or should you remain silent? What, if anything, is the CEO doing incorrectly or substantively wrong in this hiring scenario if he selects the woman?


Prepare a 3–4-page plan that states your recommended course of action. Along with your recommendation, include the following:

  • Analyze ethical challenges presented by an HR management situation.
    • What are the ethical implications for the actions you would take in this scenario? What consequences could occur if you did nothing?
  • Describe key ethical factors considered in the formulation of a proposed HR solution.
    • What is your reasoning for making a recommendation or remaining silent within the context of the SHRM code of ethics? Use references to support your perspective and response to the SHRM code of ethics and this scenario.
  • Explain any legal considerations for the selection function presented by an HR situation.
  • Explain the role of the HR practitioner in advancing a proposed HR solution.
    • Briefly explain the role you will take to influence the eventual outcome. Consider aspects of leadership, negotiation, and consultation.
  • Discuss the application any SHRM behavioral competencies to the process of solving an HR challenge.
    • Which SHRM behavioral competencies do you think are most directly applicable to a successful resolution of this challenge, and why?

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