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Human Resources: Discretion & Control Philip Boyle, Ph.D. Vice President, Mission & Ethics www.CHE.ORG/ETHICS.

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Presentation on theme: "Human Resources: Discretion & Control Philip Boyle, Ph.D. Vice President, Mission & Ethics www.CHE.ORG/ETHICS."— Presentation transcript:

1 Human Resources: Discretion & Control Philip Boyle, Ph.D. Vice President, Mission & Ethics www.CHE.ORG/ETHICS

2 Etiquette Press * 6 to mute; Press # 6 to unmute Keep your phone on mute unless you are dialoging with the presenter Never place phone on hold If you do not want to be called on please check the red mood button on the lower left of screen

3 Goal for today’s conversation Examine common problem of human discretion & control –By what measure would whether an employee had exceeded the bounds of discretion or bounds of control? –What kind of institutional controls are necessary to facilitate the proper use of discretion? –What might an organizational ethics committee recommend as a solution?

4 Overview Problem all employees face Gap between job description & what expected to do Job descriptions are inherently under- defined Depending on the personality and the culture agents in a organization will either shirk responsibilities or overreach A matter of power—its proper use and its abuse

5 Discretion is the use of judgment Judgment is an essential helpful element (we did not hire robots) The higher up the more discretion It is important because it promotes creativity and initiative—and supports fundamental values—subsidiarity & stewardship Risk—micro managing

6 Discretion is managed by –Managers checks & balances—formal control –Standards—policies, job description (not all possibilities can be imagined), work plans –Culture (may tacitly permit behavior incongruent with mission/policies) Organization promotes “excellence” whereas the culture promotes deference to the boss

7 Forms of OE analysis Rational systems –Formal—examines policies Natural systems –Informal—examines real practices Open systems –External systems—examines liability, laws, regulations, etc.

8 Formal analysis “Mission substitution”—where an employee exercises discretion and pursues a very laudable and legitimate project during work time that might not be consistent with the institution’s mission. “Expert imperialism”—where overconfident employees, such as administrative assistants, exceed the bounds of either their job description and professional training/expertise by exercising authority reserved to their superiors. “Strategic dithering’—in which employees take time between tasks to play at the computer or hangout schmoozing at the water cooler. “Not my problem”—an attitude that manifests itself with employees who sit on their hands, underutilizing discretion on the basis that the task was not written in the job description.

9 Case Marge –manager in home care 20 yr employee Managers given credit cards Tacit permission for personal use Uses for cash advance Unable to pay it off Diane-new director—what should she do?

10 Values-based Decision-making What are the issues Who is affected (who has interests?) What facts are needed? What values should inform ? What are the options? –How do the options supported/undercut values?

11 Values Guideposts –Human dignity –Dignity of work –Fair treatment

12 Where do boundaries in organizations come from? –Common human morality –Mission & values –Job descriptions –Professional Codes –Culture –Ethical achievement—optimizing mission Ethical minimalism-following policies blindly

13 Bonus Pool Case Jim secures $25 mil gift Martin—supervisor –Recognizes –Takes to dinner –Salary adjustment Jim approaches CEO and asks for $10,000 bonus Should Martin use discretion?

14 Trust –No lies or exaggeration –Openness to ideas –Consistency –Respect treating people with fairness and dignity

15 Guideposts to consider Be clear about authority and accountability— governance charter Educate people about their appropriate role and professional responsibilities Establish checks and balances Establish systems of communication where people feel free to voice and clarify expectations; encourage people to speak us as a matter of improving quality Safe forum about place to clarify Encourage ethical achievement—not minimalism

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