Consulting and Human Resources: Executive Selection Thesis

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Consulting and Human Resources: Executive Selection

The unique challenges that consultants encounter in executive selection are very significant, but yet they are so often ignored (Schein, 1998). While they cannot be avoided altogether, there are ways to make them less of a concern. One of the largest of these challenges is ensuring that the person selected is a good fit for the company (Bowden, 1985). This may seem very obvious, but it actually is not. The reason behind this is that individuals have to look at a lot of different traits and issues in order to determine whether a particular executive will be a good fit for the company (Bolman & Deal, 1997).

Education and/or experience are vital issues for executive selection in many companies, but teamwork, attitude, cultural competency, diversity acceptance, and countless other issues that cannot be verified by a degree or work experience matter, as well (Bowden, 1985). One would expect that an executive applicant who has already held positions elsewhere would be well-suited to another, similar position, but this is not always the case. Instead, the culture and makeup of the new company must be considered, as it may be drastically different from the makeup of the previous company (Bolman & Deal, 1997).

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Gender also plays a role, because there are still stereotypes that involve men and women in business (Bowden, 1985). While unfortunate, they cannot be completely avoided. Choosing a woman for an executive position can sometimes be risky, not because of the woman's ability to do the job but because of how she will be perceived by others when she is in an executive role (Kalbfleisch & Cody, 1995). Most companies try to avoid discussion of this issue because it smacks of discrimination, but it can come back to be a problem later if a woman is hired and she does not have the confidence to fulfill her executive role despite the difficulties she may find herself facing (Kalbfleisch & Cody, 1995).

Thesis on Consulting and Human Resources: Executive Selection the Assignment

Women are not the only ones who have these kinds of problems from time to time as executives, however, since even men -- especially those who belong to minority groups or specific ethnic groups -- can find resistance from their new employees when they come into a company in an executive position (Cobbs & Turnock, 2003). For the consultants who have to study, examine, and recommend these people, discriminatory issues and the fact that they still affect this country are worthy of note, but every company is different. One company might have that kind of issue, and another one may not.

The goal of the consultant is to address the unique challenges that a particular company has, not that companies in general may have, when looking for someone for an executive position (Bolman & Deal, 1997). This means that a consultant cannot treat all of his or her companies in the same way. Instead, he or she needs to look at only the specific company who needs that executive at that time. Certainly it is wise to use experience that has been collected over time, but each situation is unique and different (Bolman & Deal, 1997). Each person and each company also share those characteristics. If a consultant lumps them together, little good will usually come of it. Not only will the company become frustrated, but the consultant and the person looking for the executive position can both experience problems.

Consultants who are aware of the challenges of helping companies succeed overall and bringing good employees to those companies should know that executive positions are not the same as other positions in the company. Employees at lower levels come and go at a more rapid rate overall, even in companies that have very low turnover numbers (Bolman & Deal, 1997). Executive positions are not meant to be filled by a different person every few months or even every few years. Only if an executive is promoted to another position or transferred to another branch of the company should his or her position be expected to become vacant. Executives in a company have to be a good fit -- with the other executives in that company, with the employees that they will be in charge of, and (most importantly) with the values and the ideals of that company (Bolman & Deal, 1997). If they do not fit well with the company's mission and vision, they will always be at odds with what the company as a whole is trying to do, resulting in a lot of dissatisfaction from both sides.

When someone is being considered for an executive position, what they have already done in the academic world and in other companies is often carefully scrutinized by the company's consultant. This is done whether the person has applied for the executive position or whether he or she is someone that the company might like to entice away from another company. Consultants do not just look through job applications and address their studies to those people. Often they also pursue people who they feel would be a good choice and a good fit for a certain company. This can be difficult, and not every executive at another company would be interested in changing jobs, even for a better salary or other perks that might come along with it. Consultants have to be able to move quickly, get their offers out there, and move on if they see that those offers will not be accepted. Having an idea of more than one person who would be appropriate for the executive position is something that they have to consider, since they might not be able to secure their 'first choice' for the company.

Still another unique challenge that is faced by consultants who are trying to fill executive positions for companies is that of conflict. There should be some conflict, but not so much that it stops things from getting done. Getting that right amount, though, can be a difficult task and there is sometimes no way to determine to an exacting degree how good of a balance one is going to get (Adams & Galanges, 2005). People need to be able to respectfully disagree, since they all come from different backgrounds and have different goals and ideas. They must be able to stand up for what they believe in and what they think is right, and they need to be able to clearly articulate why they hold the values and beliefs that they have. However, an executive who is so committed to his or her own opinions that he or she refuses to see the merits of the opinions that belong to anyone else will do the company a great disservice.

Diversity is valuable and some companies require it more than others, depending on what kinds of products or services the company has, who and where it markets, and what beliefs and visions it holds. Diversity with style and class works well and produces discussions and opinions that can be formulated into great plans to move the company forward (Schein, 1998). Diversity that is used in a condescending or discriminatory manner does not help anyone, and can actually set the company back (Adams & Galanges, 2005).

If the consultant does not find good quality executives who will work with the company as it grows the company can actually be seen as a poor place to work and the kind of company that people do not want to purchase goods and services from. These kinds of problems harm everyone in the company, not just the people who are in the lower levels of it. An executive can have a lot of influence on a company and its people, so selecting the right one becomes paramount to growth and success (Schein, 1998).

For a consultant, what kind of salary and benefit package will be offered to the executive presents its own set of unique challenges. It is not up to the consultant to create that package -- that is up to the company (Adams & Galanges, 2005). The consultant, however, can certainly make recommendations as to what he or she thinks a particular executive might be looking for (Bolman & Deal, 1997). If there are several people being considered for an executive position, what they are offered might be tailored to their needs, and the consultant's research and information will help to determine just what those needs are (Schein, 1998). For example, one person might be much more concerned with the salary that he or she will receive, while another person might be much more interested in having enough time with family, a short commute, a company car, or good health insurance (Adams & Galanges, 2005).

There are all kinds of things that people are interested in when it comes to their careers and the rest of their lives, and the job of the consultant is to find out what those things are and then make sure that they fit with the company. From that point, the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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