In strive to empower and protect the dignity

recent years, the emergence of trends such as demographic changes, modern
technologies, globalization, increased customer expectations, and increased competition, led
to some problems, including increased stress, lack of time and lack of
work-life balance and etc. to organizations, which necessitate the attention of the human resource sector to
more sustainability (Losey, Meisinger & Ulrich, 2005; Ehnert, 2009; Stone &
Deeadrick 2015). Sustainability is a broad and multidimensional term which has recently entered the Human Resource Management
(HRM) literature (Lil Filho, 2012). In the literature, different levels of sustainability have been defined which
include individual, organizational, and environmental levels. Respect,
work-life balance, independence, employability, and individual development are
issued in various researches of the
individual level. At the organizational level, employer branding and diversity
management are discussed. Issues such as social responsibility of the
organization and green HRM are dealt with at the environmental level (Thom,
Zaugg, & Blum, 2001; De Lange and Koppens, 2007; De Prins, 2011;
Savaneviciene & Stankeviciute, 2014; De Prins, Beirendock, Devos &
Sgers, 2014; Mazur, 2015).

regard to the above levels, HRM needs to pay balanced attention to inside and
outside the organization to achieve sustainability. In other words, it must strive to empower and protect the dignity of the
employees, and also
plan for the interests of stakeholders outside the organization, including
customers, shareholders, and citizens, and also not to harm the environment as
much as possible. So, in a comprehensive definition, Sustainable Human Resource Management is a planned or
emerging template of strategies and functions of human resources for enhancing
the organization’s ability to achieve its financial, social, and ecological
goals, and simultaneously, the reproduction of human resource in the
long term (Kramer, 2014).
According to this definition, HRM should act on the responsibilities of the
organization towards its inside and outside stakeholders, to be able to guarantee the organization success in the competitive
environment through the social support (Wright
& McMahan’s, 1992).

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In this
regard, one of the responsibilities of organizations towards external
stakeholders is the social responsibility of the organization. Carroll (2008) defined four dimensions of social responsibility,
which include economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic dimensions. In the
economic dimension, stakeholders’ benefits and the promotion of their stock
market value are interested. In the legal dimension, the organization’s
obligation to observe the general rules and regulations of society are
considered. Society’s expectation of the organization to respect the values,
norms and people’s beliefs, as well as to observe ethical criteria in its
activities are issued in the ethical dimension. Finally, the philanthropic
dimension, beyond the ethical one, refers to the organization’s contribution to
the charity and public affairs leading to the better communications of the
organization with society and helping it to attract qualified human resources
(Cohen, 2007; Carroll, 2008; Akinyomi, 2013).

On the
other hand, to know which dimensions of social responsibility the organizations
should focus on, it is necessary to determine the amount of organization’s impact on their environment and the
degree of sensitivity of society to them. The impact of
organizations on the environment is not the same so that some are more
effective. The sensitivity of society to organizations is also different so that
it shows more sensitivity to some organizations (Stoner and Freeman, 1992).
Considering these and inspired by Carroll (2008) model, the present paper also intends to determine the priority of social responsibilities in accordance with its dimensions for the organization by which to be able to re-define the
role of HRM. The following propositions
illustrate the differences in the role of HRM considering the dimensions of
social responsibility in an organization:

Organizations with a low impact on
their environment and the low sensitivity of society to their actions.

These organizations focus more on
the economic dimension of social responsibility and try to be economically
profitable, regardless of other issues, for their stakeholders. HRM can play an important role in the economic
dimension of Social Responsibility of the organization by making it profitable
and by reducing production costs. Although HRM cannot directly interfere with
how other resources are used in the organization, but due to the presence and
involvement of the human factor in all scenes, it can play an important role in
increasing the productivity and profitability of the organization by designing
programs and systems for the proper use of the
organization’s forces. In other words, HRM can help to the
profitability of the organization by measures such as reducing unnecessary overtime
works with the aim of increasing the work efficiency during normal working
times, avoiding turnover, training necessary skills to employees to maximize
their efficiency, finding and hiring most deserving persons for any job at any
level, designing a system of paying salaries and rewards to make able the
organization to compete with other organizations in attracting and holding efficient
forces, as well as designing accurately the professions for preventing employees from wasting
time. These measures, in addition to make the organization profitable and subsequently increase the
shareholder’s stock, can reduce
costs of products and services of organizations by decreasing organization’s
costs in order to customers to buy less expensive products.

Organizations with a low impact on
their environment and the high sensitivity of society to their actions.

These organizations focus more on
the legal dimension and should observe all the general rules and regulations of
the society in order not to raise the sensitivity of society to themselves. In such organizations,
HRM can focus on the legal dimension of its social responsibility by observing different
laws such as employment ones. Observing employment laws which made with the goal of creating equal employment opportunities, gives
all eligible people applying for work the equal chance, regardless of age,
race, religion, disability, and other characteristics associated with work.

Organizations with a high impact on
their environment and the low sensitivity of society to their actions.

organizations, in addition to paying
attention to the economic and legal dimensions of social responsibility, focus
more on the ethical dimension. They have to
observe the values of society and respect
them in order to preserve their own reputation. Human
resources functions in these organizations should also be aimed at increasing the
observance of ethical issues and norms of society by employees. Given that most people are working in organizations, if
ethical issues are observed within an organization, employees as
representatives of that organization will reflect it. If HRM respects for justice in the employment process and the organizational promotion, strives in
maintaining the privacy of employees, acts
fairly in the allocation of rewards, provides healthy workplace for employees, it
leads the observance of ethical issues to become the priorities of employees so
that they will try to put ethics at the top of their agenda both in dealing
with customers and in non-working time.

Organizations with a high impact on
their environment and the high sensitivity of society to their actions.

In addition to considering the
three previous dimensions, these organizations focus more on the philanthropic
dimension of social responsibility. Organizations that fall into this category must consider all
of the four dimensions of social responsibility, but their focus is on the philanthropic dimension.
HRM can institutionalize charitable activities in employees in two ways; First,
HR managers’ involvement in benevolent activities with the intention of culture building so that employees can take
their behaviors. On the other side, by emphasizing
organizational-citizenship behaviors such as altruism, respect,
sportsmanship, conscientiousness, and civic
virtue, HRM institutionalizes benevolence in employees, both at
the organizational level in interacting with each other and with clients and at
the social level in dealing with citizens.


As a result, given the organization’s impact
on the environment and the sensitivity of the society to the organization, we
can see different goals and functions for organization’s HRM, which will be
discussed in detail in this article.


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