The data is going to be collected as seen in the methodology from both qualitative and quantitative methods, and from the literature. The focus groups, and interviews are going to be tape recorded, then transcribed and coded with the use of NUD*IST. This software will also be used to ‘content analyse’ the discussions. NUD*IST also helps to ensure the consistency of the findings, as it can re-code and re-sort data. The SPSS statistical program will be utilised to process and analyse the data of the survey. Analysis will include parametric descriptive tests (t-test, One-way ANOVA and so forth), a comparison of means, and Non parametric tests (Chi Square). All tests will be made at the 5% significance level.
Ethical Issues Protection is the key issue in this case, both of the organisation and the individuals that agree to take part in the research. It is crucial that the organisations image/reputation be held with high regard by the researcher should the research highlight any underlying issues that may impact the organisation and the organisational performance. To ensure this the researcher/ researchers must enter a written contract drawn up by the organisation’s lawyer that covers disclosure issues and the potential for any publication of the results/findings in the future.
It is also important that the researcher assures the participants of the focus groups/interviews that all views expressed will be strictly confidential and in no circumstance will their details be revealed to others within the organisation. To cover these issues the researcher will produce a contract to cover disclosure issues. A copy of this contract will be presented to the individuals involved in the focus groups/interviews to explain the confidentiality issues.
For the surveys a strict standard of anonymity will be applied. Surveys will be completed anonymously and returned by internal mail. A letter will be attached to every survey to explain the purpose of the research and the issues around anonymity and confidentiality. Research Limitations There is the potential for the researcher to be bias, as they are part of the organisation. Several techniques will be used to lessen the effects of researcher bias, such as the mixed methods approach described in the methodology, and the multiple researchers for the interviews/focus groups.
There is also no guarantee that a representative sample of respondents will complete the survey, as they view it as another business tool to provide senior staff with ‘ammunition’. Thus a letter will be enclosed with the survey explaining the relevance of the survey, as noted earlier. Research Originality A lot of academics have examined the various methods of selection, identifying both the positives and the negatives of each, and various academics have also given there perceptions and opinions on each of the methods. Despite this there is no evidence within the literature, as yet, to suggest that an organisation has carried out this kind of research with employee’s perceptions and opinions on the topic of selection methods, yet it is conceivable that this has been carried out at some point in time.
Time, Cost and Project Management A draft project plan is presented in Appendix 2, produced using Microsoft Project. A more detailed plan will be drawn in detail if proposal is accepted. Appendix 1 (Protocols and Questionnaire Design) Focus Groups From the specified departments, from a variety of locations and levels within the organisation individuals will be contacted and asked to volunteer to take part in focus groups. These focus group discussions will be taped and participants will be assured of confidentiality. The reason for using focus groups is due to George Boeree (Shippensburg University), who describes focus groups as ‘when done properly in a phenomenological fashion, focus groups can be quite revealing.'(www.ship.edu).
Yvonne Howze furthers this ‘Focus groups are derived from someone interested in gaining insight into the feelings of people who would be most affected by issues or proposed changes.’ ‘Focus groups often bring out users’ spontaneous reactions and ideas and let you observe some group dynamics and organizational issues. You can also ask people to discuss how they perform activities that span many days or weeks: something that is expensive to observe directly.'(www.tsbvi.edu). Yvonne Howze continues to say ‘Focus groups are group interviews. They are a way of listening to people and learning from them. Each focus group is comprised of six to eight participants who have similar interests and backgrounds.’
This is further supported by Jakob Nielson ‘In a focus group, you bring together from six to nine users to discuss issues and concerns about the features of a user interface. The group typically lasts about two hours and is run by a moderator who maintains the group’s focus. For this reason the focus groups are going to involve no less than six individuals, and no more than nine from the particular departments noted previously. The groups shall last no longer than 3hrs and no less than 1hr 30mins.
Semi-structured Interviews The style of the interview is going to be semi-structured. The semi-structured interview utilises techniques from both the focused and structured methods. Questions are normally specified but the interviewer is free to explore beyond the answers. The interviewer can also seek clarification and elaboration on answers given, and can then record qualitative information about the issues (Fielding, 1988b). So, in depth one-on-one interviews will be used. The purpose of this kind of interview is to probe the ideas of the employees about selection methods in order to identify and define their perceptions, opinions and feelings of each method.
It is important for the interviewer to keep at a distance. Whilst it is clear that interviewer and interviewee need to establish an ‘inter-subjective understanding’, at the same time the pursuit of objectivity requires a ‘distance’ in order to socially situate the responses (Cicourel, 1964).
This method will be used in order to access as many individuals from across the organisation as possible. The author will then have a chance to include a number of senior management (regional managers and above) in the initial stages, as opposed to them taking part in the focus groups. By using this method it is hoped that the individuals will not feel as guarded in terms of expressing their views on the selection methods. To lessen the extent of possible researcher bias it is suggested the interviews be taken by a number of different researchers, as previously mentioned. The interviews will be taped recorded.
Focus group/Interview Questions Asking the “right” questions can yield powerful information that is key to gleaning useful information from participants during a focus group session. There are eight steps to be considered when forming interview questions for the focus group, described by Krueger. View (www.tsbvi.edu) for eight steps. Yolles further suggests that the initial prompting questions should be very broad in response in order to allow interviewees to develop the issues from their perspective or ‘world view'(Yolles, 1999). Therefore following a brief introduction from the researcher or research assistant the following questions will be raised, followed by discussion and probing: What do you know about the various selection methods?
o What do you think of the various selection methods, such as….? o Have you ever had past problems with any of the various selection methods the organisation selection process? o Can you describe any ways you feel the organisation can improve their current selection process? Survey As described in the literature review the key individuals involved in selection are from HRM and Personnel Departments, as well as Management, therefore a questionnaire will be distributed to all that fall in those categories. Due to this and the fact that the individuals are from differing regions, experience, and so forth, the questionnaire will include demographic information on each respondent. This information should include respondent age, gender, length of service, department, area and grade or rank. This list may be added to after the focus groups/interviews.
From the focus groups and interviews analysis, a series of statements will be generated about each of the selection methods. These will be listed alongside a 5-point Likert Scale (level of agreement). To encourage a high return a maximum of 10 statements will be generated for each selection method, and a ceiling level of 50 statements in total. Most statements will be regenerated for each of the methods. All questionnaires will be e-mailed (Selwyn,N 1998), via the company intra-net accompanied by a letter explaining the relevance of the research, as well as that confidentiality will be assured. Failing good response all questionnaires will be mailed via the in-house mailing system, and will include an addressed seal-able return envelope, along with the letter previously mentioned.