Understanding ethics in workforce reduction through lived experiences of HR professionals

Sekai Noreen Gore


For three decades employees in Zimbabwe enjoyed heavy protection of the labour laws. This all changed overnight on the 17th of July 2015 when the supreme court ruled on Don Nyamande v Zuva Case. The study was focused on the talk of HR professionals concerning their work in context to morality and ethics on workforce reduction and how to smoothen the exit process of the victims and keep the survivors motivated. The study adopted a qualitative approach. There was saturation of data after the 23rd participants. Snowballing technique was used and it facilitated access to broad based network of HR Professionals. Face to face interviews were carried out and open ended questionnaires were distributed as well. The researcher believes the strength of this paper lies in the triangulation approach of bridging the crafted answers and the recorded interviews. The cross examination allowed me to be more confident with the findings. The interviews lasted between 45 and 60 minutes and were audio tape recorded and then transcribed. The transcripts and questionnaires were then analysed using thematic analysis. Most of the participants argued that in all they do they have work in line with the expectations of top management not morality inorder to safeguard their jobs. They also cited that managers don’t focus on justice and human dignity in the workplace when faced with challenges all they do is to concentrate on profit maximasation through reducing operating costs. Poor communication between the employer and the employee was also raised as a factor leading to amoral decisions. It is vital that management focus on justice and human dignity in the workplace when faced with the possible need to downsize. Once they have made the decision to downsize, top managers must clearly communicate the reasons and the goals to those responsible for identifying the employees affected.

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