Essay: Human Potential Developing

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[. . .] Among the problems with this method of hiring individuals is that it made no place for employees to rise in the company, it also did not result in cohesive and effective departments. An individual can be an incredibly talent accountant however if they are prone to arguments and do not work well with others then ultimately their presence will be a disruption as opposed to an asset.

The question remained was it really necessary to understand the potentially employee as a whole human being because their inherent traits will ultimately guide their behavior and by extension their ability to fit into a situation or is it simply that the behavior an employee exhibits in the work place is a reflection of the situational environment thus negating the need to understand the applicant as anything more than a qualification or skill set (Bowen, et al., 1991). A number of studies on the subject have observed though that it is indeed the former rather than the later which determines the behavioral outcomes of individuals in various settings.

Most organizations function on the premise that the best managerial strategy is one which controls as much of the employees behavior as possible. This in theory eliminates the potential for interpersonal disputes (Wright & Boswell, 2002). However, this highly regimented highly trained and socialized group there is no real individuality which studies have shown ultimately leads to employee dissatisfaction and ultimate decline in their performance (Becker & Gerhart, 1996). This managerial style is fairly pervasive in the business world, shared among companies that are high and low tech across a variety of industries. It was believed that sameness resulted in solidarity and better adherence to rules. When, in fact, it results in an inverse reaction in the long-term (Becker & Gerhart, 1996).

A more effective strategy by far is the one which rather than finding an individual who can perform a specific task, finds an individual who is particularly suited to a position within the organization. This profile is based not only on the needs of the individual position but also on the overall needs of the company assuming that the individual will go on to continue with the company long-term. The factors assessed are the work environment, the type of individual required, what various tests and protocols should the ideal candidate be able to successfully complete, and making certain that their personality fits with the rest of the organization above all else (Bowen, et al., 1991). This ensures that any individual selected for a position within the company would not just be a brain or a pair of hands capable of a specific task divorced from the rest of themselves as an individual, but rather an individual capable of becoming part of a cohesive unit, someone who to put it simply fits (Bowen, et al., 1991).

Most employers require candidates to undergo not only a background check but also complete a number of measures designed by psychologists to determine whether or not the individual will be an asset to the company, or a detriment (Holzer, et al., 2002). This testing though has in past been met with mixed feelings. The trepidation stems at least in part from the reality that applicants are not likely to respond to every answer truthfully. They are attempting to acquire a position with the company and as such are motivated to provide socially desirable responses (Rosse, et al., 1998). Indeed a study assessing the degree of distortion present when applicants took one of two commercially available measures which are commonly used to assess conscientiousness, it was observed that more than half of the sample responded falsely. This translates to a possible 88% of new hires having successfully deceived the measure (Rosse, et al., 1998). Though it seems counterintuitive to lie on a formal test given by a potential employer, the rationale is that given the nature of the test and the information it assesses it is highly unlikely that false responses will be "caught" by the employer (Rosse, et al., 1998).

Interestingly it is apparently incoming candidates who are more likely to respond falsely on the measure than individuals who already have a position within the company (Rosse, et al., 1998). There was an overwhelmingly more significant distorted response from individuals trying to gain entry to a company than those individuals who were incumbent. In order to rectify this situation, the acceptable scores for positively viewed traits must be adjusted to correct for this distortion. While testing using empirical measures is still an acceptable and invaluable method of gathering information about employment candidates, it must be understood that the method though effective is not as accurate as it was once thought to be.

With the understanding that perhaps more extensive testing and evaluation may be necessary in order to ensure that the most accurate description of potential candidates is available to administrators, it must also be said that some of the more standard methods of screening candidates may present a problem in that they exclude a significantly higher majority of one population than another (Holzer, et al., 2002). It is standard practice along with the personality and conscientiousness measures to ask for a history of any and all criminal convictions as well as asking the individual to submit to a background check. Though it is not directly stated often employers will reject an applicant on the grounds of previous criminal convictions. In the United States, the majority of the prison population is composed of young African-American males. If then employers do not hire individuals with criminal records, it will be disproportionately more difficult for young African-American males in general to find employment (Holzer, et al., 2002). Though this example is one which is fairly easy to understand, there are many more issues which are considered when an individual applies for a position which may ultimately exclude entire segments of the population unjustly.

Background checks can be rather costly. For smaller organizations that do not have access to the criminal records of potential employees this may result in the unfair character assassination of implied prior conviction even if there was no conviction in the individual's history. As police have been called into the spotlight for racial profiling, so too are employers being observed closely to ensure that statistics regarding to ethnic, gender, religious, or sexuality do not ultimately count against a fully qualified and technically eligible individual (Holzer, et al., 2002).

Findings of a study specifically designed to assess the relative stigmatization of comparatively marginalized groups of workers indicates that the negative preconception addressed above actually does affect individuals who are part of stigmatized groups either due to race or inconsistent employment history (Holzer, et al., 2002). It is most present in employers who cannot access criminal records or who do not run background checks on employees. This is even true of those employers who do not indicate a specific distaste for working with individuals who have criminal convictions. What was surprising about the study though was that the most recent hires of individuals belonging to stigmatized groups were by employers who expressed an extreme distaste for working with individuals with criminal records and who consequently ran background checks on potential employees (Holzer, et al., 2002). This seemingly counterintuitive result indicates that individuals who are truly averse are unwilling to rest on the assumption that an individual is a criminal and thus are much more thorough in their selection process.

Another effect was also observed in the context of criminal records and employability. When some employers became aware that applicants had criminal histories, they leveraged this information in their favor (Holzer, et al., 2002). Rather than offering an individual with a criminal history it has been observed that some employers will offer these individuals the opportunity to work, but at reduced wages or without benefits. Because the likelihood of an individual with a criminal record getting a job is slim, these already stigmatized individuals may be taken advantage of through their desperation for a job and an unethical employers ability to dictate whatever terms they like (Holzer, et al., 2002). Ultimately it was established that this discrimination whether perceived incorrectly or justified may actually reduce the employability of African-American males by as much as 13%. There are equally significant results regarding the wages that this same population would have access to in light of this bias.

Specifically these concepts are related to human development because within an organization human development is extremely dependent upon an individual being able to work well with the other people and the existing rules and strategies which govern that environment. The research suggests that individuals will develop most effectively and most efficiently in environments which they are suited for not only in terms of skill but also in terms of being able to fit into the overall goals and image of the organization without being forced to through extensive training and acculturation. Where many organizations spend… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Human Potential Developing.  (2010, May 26).  Retrieved July 17, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/human-potential-developing/276062

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"Human Potential Developing."  Essaytown.com.  May 26, 2010.  Accessed July 17, 2019.
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