The reason for this study is that the organisation is looking to expand the business by opening up new outlets. This was proposed as a strategic plan by the organisations two owners, to take place within two years. They propose opening five new outlets including one in Manchester, Birmingham, and so forth. We already have a good strong base in four of the major cities, and they consider the current selection methods we utilise as adequate for now. However they feel that new and improved methods should be used in order to get the correct staff for these new factories, and in the already established factories, due to the financial risk of failure. The rationale for this study is supported by the Company Directors, who wish to introduce a new protocol for the company’s selection process, but would like to know what the employee’s attitudes towards the current selection process are, and secondly towards other selection methods that the company may wish to utilise.
Thus the role of this research will be first to assess the current selection methods of the simple C.V and interview, in the minds of the employees that make use of these methods, who are the HRM and Personnel Department, and Management. The second is to assess the other methods of selection that may be used. The key hypothesis of the research will be to test for differences, or correlations, between the perceptions of the employees of the different selection methods.
Literature Review Theoretical literature on attitude usually recognises that attitudes have three components: a knowledge or cognitive component, an affect or feeling component, and a behavioural component. So, for example we may know that yoghurt is nutritious (cognitive), we may genuinely like yoghurt (affective), and we may frequently eat yoghurt (behavioural). In this instance, the three attitudinal components are consistent with each other, but this is not always true. In fact, attitude- behaviour consistency and the lack thereof has been the subject of considerable research (Mischel, 1973). Various balance theories (Festinger, 1957; Heider, 1958; Osgood & Tannenbaum, 1955) predict that individuals who experience inconsistency between their feelings, beliefs and behaviours are motivated to restore balance. This thus creates problems.
Staffing is the highest-ranking HRM activity of general managers and HRM specialists. Staffing being the obtaining of people with appropriate skills, abilities, knowledge and experience to fill jobs in the work organisation. Pertinent practices are job analysis, recruitment and selection. (Bratton, J and Gold, J, 1999). The main selection methods are the C.V, interview, assessment centres and tests. A more dubious method used by a few firms in the U.K and more extensively in Europe is graphology. (Armstrong, M, 2001).
These methods of selection rank in order of accuracy from perfect prediction, assessment centres (promotion), Work sample tests, down to the least accurate graphology (view p406 Bratton and Gold). There are a number of varying tests available, of which most assessment centres carry out, to assess personnel for selection. These include pre-employment tests, memory tests, cognitive ability tests, information processing tests work sample tests, and so forth. Each with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. (please view www.hr-guide.com/data/G137.htm). This site contains vast information and detail, as well as very good insight into each of the possible selection tests, and assessment centres.
A more recent selection method not mention is Saaty’s AHP. This too like the other methods has it’s advantages and disadvantages, and also problems. These are explained further in an article by Taylor, Ketcham and Hoffman. Suitability for Research I have been with the company for 5 years working in the HRM Department, and have a good knowledge of the various selection methods. I also have a HND in Business and Finance, and a 2:1 BA(Hons) in Business Administration, in which I took the Human Resources route, which involved in depth detail of the selection methods, from Liverpool John Moores University.
Accompanied by this I have a 2:1 BA in Psychology from the University of Bath. Sampling The key persons identified in the literature involved with selection are HRM, Personnel Departments and Management, of all levels, from various geographical areas, and of varying experience. For this reason the initial interviews/focus groups will endeavour to involve individuals from these departments. To ensure this, the researcher will adopt a stratified sampling approach.
For the survey the author will intend to utilise the organisations central Personnel system to ‘mail shot’ every employee in these Departments, and in Management. This gives the researcher a ‘total population’ target. Unfortunately it is probable that a significant proportion will not submit a reply. Therefore representative questions will be required based on department, location, age, gender, experience, etc, in the survey.
Methodology As described in the Problem Outline the purpose of this research is to determine the attitudes, opinions and thoughts of various employees around the issue of selection. This will be through an interpretative approach initially, involving focus groups and interviews with individuals across the organisations HRM Departments, Personnel Departments and Management, all of whom are the main persons involved in the process of selection.
This will consequently be followed up with a survey of the entire organisations HRM Departments, Personnel Departments, and Management, (subject to return rate) on the key issues identified in the literature review, and any additional issues highlighted in the focus groups and interviews. (View Appendix 1 for the focus groups, interviews and surveys protocols, and questionnaire design.) In this I am taking a mixed methods approach to the research. This is due to the nature of my current role, as I have recently found (in self assessment) that I tilt toward the positivist style of learning (Kolb, 1979). I feel it is important to take this dual approach because by utilising this mixed methodology can help account for any researcher bias.