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Are there moral limits on how far a prospective employer should delve
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Student Name: Natalie Fung

Student Number: 3418091

MGMT1001 s1 2012 – ‘Spot Collection’

Bring to tutorials week beginning 26 March

Topic 4: Strategy & Human Resource Management

Textbook: Answer Question 2 in the ‘Thinking critically about management issues section’ on

page 259

Are there moral limits on how far a prospective employer should delve into an applicant's

personal life by means of interviews or tests? Explain. (max. 200 words)

There are moral limits on how deep into an applicant’s personal life should a prospective

employer investigate by conducting interviews or tests.

Selection devices such as application forms, written tests are not sufficient enough to

provide a thorough view on whether the applicant suit the job or not. Therefore interviews

and performance-simulation tests are usually carried out as further assessment tools.

It is legal and moral if the information collected does not invade the applicant’s privacy and

interviews and tests are conducted without any discriminatory elements.

However, it becomes ‘too far’ if the employer collect personal information that is irrelevant to

the job and the applicant’s ability in completing the job or could possibly affect a fair

selection under the basis of Equal Opportunity or anti-discrimination.

For example, it is moral for an employer to ask if the applicant has a history of mental

disability, but it will become immoral if he or she asks if the family has a history of mental

disability, as it becomes discriminative and will potentially gives a false judgement on the

applicant’s ability to work.

Another example, it is moral if the employer wants to know the marriage status of an

applicant, as it might affect the availability of work, but it becomes immoral if the employee

ask a divorced applicant the reason of separation, as it is irrelevant to his or her ability to

perform a job.

Choose two organisations that you believe possess a “competitive advantage”. Explain

where that competitive advantage comes from and make 1 recommendation for each

organisation as to how they could strengthen their competitive advantage (max. 200 words).

The competitive advantage of Woolworths Ltd is its size. As a large retail chain, Woolworths

own almost half of the market share, and it is able to achieve economies of scale, lower unit

cost, through the size of operation and bargaining power. Woolworths could eliminate its

competitors through continuously lowering the price while maintaining the profit margin, as it

could transfer the cost pressure onto its suppliers. The unbeatable size ensures the ability of

the company to compete in the market. And through strengthening its strategic alliance with

Coles, they could eliminate more competitors, grow even bigger in size and create a market

of duopoly.

The competitive advantage of Jetstar is its price range. The low-price flight options Jetstar

offers to its customers result in an exponential growth of revenue generated from the

domestic flights. Facing competition from the new low-cost domestic airlines such as Virgin

Australia, Jetstar should strengthen its competitive advantage through building a strategic

network, including code sharing of planes, in order to further reduce its price.



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Student Name: Natalie Fung

Student Number: 3418091

Drawing upon Schuler & Jackson (1987), summarise 1 of the 3 different competitive

strategies and describe the implications of that strategy for HRM.

The three types of competitive strategies are innovation, quality enhancement and cost


Innovation usually takes place in the highest or upper levels of management. However

successful companies allow creation in all the levels of employees. This competitive strategy

requires selection of highly skilled individuals, giving employees directions, keeps them self-

motivated and will need a large investment in human resources. The organisation has to

tolerate occasional failure and is facing greater risk. While the staff moral and sense of self-

realisation is higher under this strategy, which will contribute to a mid to long-term success of

the company.

On the other hand, Quality enhancement strategy usually involves HR practices such as

feedback systems, teamwork in decision-making and flexible job classification and

description. In order to improve the quality of production, workers need to be more involved

and provide creative ideas on how a product could be involved. And to achieve higher

involvement, an organisation has to provide skills trainings to the workers, so they could

become more efficient and flexible. This adds to the long-term success of an organisation.

However, cost reduction strategy uses tight controls, overhead minimisation and pursuit of

economies of scale. A firm needs to decruit unnecessary workers, introduce more part time

workers, and offer specific and individual tasks to workers, in order to lower unit cost per

output per worker. This strategy is associated with the lowest risk out of the three, but might

cause a long-term problem if quality becomes a concern.


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