Volume 13, Issue 3, 2014
Loyal Talents, Distorted Knowledge?
Employer Loyalty: The Need for Reciprocity
Responsibilities towards employees constitute a recognised general subject area in the field of business ethics. Thus, research has been done regarding respecting employees’ rights to fairness in dismissal procedures, to their privacy, to a fair wage, etc. Employee loyalty has also been shown to be very important both in management literature and in legal debate but much less attention has been given to employer loyalty which could be one of the responsibilities of an employer to his or her employee. Rather, some confusion regarding the nature of loyalty has at times led to suggestions that loyalty should be replaced by self-interest. However, scholars who favour this view usually do so in reaction to the one-sidedness of loyalty expectations. This paper proposes that loyalty is a duty that employers also owe their employees, based on the reciprocal nature of certain rights and duties within human relationships and an understanding of psychological contracts. Thus the paper argues that loyalty should be a mutual expectation between the parties rather than unidirectional. In fact, employer loyalty enriches the employers themselves in terms of their human fulfilment, since it is a human virtue, and leads to employee loyalty response, which then impacts the bottom-line.
The paper’s content is also important insofar as it could contribute to building ethical duty foundations for employers in developing countries where weak regulatory environments combine with the harshness of the economy to make it an employers’ world and make instances of unfairness towards employees common.