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The role of culture in organisational and individual personnel selection decisions

Cruise, P.A. (2009). The role of culture in organisational and individual personnel selection decisions. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


The present consensus in the literature is that the traditional personnel selection paradigm is flawed and as a consequence, it has not readily been adopted into practice (Cascio & Aguinis, 2oo8). This disparity between research and practice has particularly been attributed to researchers' lack of awareness of the complex variables impacting organisational decision-making processes (Herriot & Anderson; 1997; Hodgkinson & Payne, 1998); the conceptualisation of scientific selection along a continuum based strictly on criterion validity indices (Hough & Oswald 2000; Borman, Hanson & Hedge, 1997) and a lack of clarity on the role of culture in selection research (Ryan, McFarland, Baron & Page, 1999; Moscoso & Salgado, 2004). In an attempt to identify the impact of these variables on personnel selection decisions, this thesis examines the landscape of what is generally viewed as scientific personnel selection by taking the discussion to a setting that is atypical of those normally represented in the selection research literature. The current scheme of research utilises samples from Jamaica to examine the role of culture in individual and organisational selection decisions. In so doing, studies throughout this thesis aim to challenge the assumption of universality espoused by the traditional psychometric paradigm in the measurement and understanding of personnel selection outcomes. Through a series of 6 studies quantitative, qualitative and experimental methods were adopted to determine the influence of cultural, internal and external factors on organisational decisions to utilise criterion-based selection techniques, applicant's decisions to pursue a job and selector decisions in a simulated managerial task. Findings revealed: a) Jamaica's colonial history, workermanager relationships and worker expectations influenced perceived personnel challenges, selection decisions and the likelihood of Jamaican organisations using criterion-based selection techniques; b) the cultural history necessitated a fit-based approached to selection and preference for techniques such as structured interviews, references and application forms; c) as represented by a multidimensional perceptual map, factors influencing Jamaican selection decisions are most similar to countries characterised by moderate power distance and masculinity indices (Australia and Canada) and most divergent to cultures characterised by extremely low individualism, high power distances and high long-term orientation (Taiwan and China); d) job and organisational factors influencing applicants' decisions to apply varied across cultures and applicant performing ability. Compared to UK graduates, higher-performing Jamaican applicants were more confident when applying to jobs emphasising performance although they preferred applying to jobs emphasising fit; e) for higher-performing Jamaican applicants, overall perceptions of structured interviews mediated the attractiveness of pay in their decision to pursue a job; f) framing and information order may mediate the process and outcomes of decisions rather than act as predictors of choices in and of themselves; and g) Jamaican selectors make attributions about a candidate's suitability based on perceptions of both functional and psychosocial consequences. Fit-based factors are given priority as fit with the organisation and team is cognitively weighted as better indicators of effective performance. Findings from all six studies emphasise the role of culture in individual and organisational personnel selection decisions and indicate 'scientific' personnel selection is more fit-based and culturally determined than previously suggested. It is therefore proposed that the dominant paradigm of personnel selection be reconceptualised from a psychometric emphasis to an attitudinal-cognitivebehavioural theoretical perspective which takes into account the impact of cultural and social variables on selection decisions. The implications of this alternate approach are discussed in relation to organisational, selector and applicant selection decisions and tackling future selection research agenda.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
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