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Hiring Managers’ Reliance on Intuition and Subjectivity in Employee Selection: An Agency Theory Approach
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.ORCID iD: 000-0002-8104-0308
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The present study investigated the factors influencing employers’ preference for non-standardized applicant data collection methods and data combination strategies based on the principal-agent framework (i.e. Agency theory). This is a qualitative study, based on semi-structured interviews with three categories of professionals, including hiring managers, corporate, and third-party recruiters. The data show that hiring managers (i.e. principals) strive to monitor corporate and third party recruiters’ (i.e. agents) behavior in order to overcome problems of opportunistic behavior and asymmetric information. Asymmetric information was perceived as a problem especially when related to the use of standardized data collection methods, of which the principals had little or no control. In addition, different agents’ affiliations (internal or external) trigger different degrees of assertive behavior by agents. A direct implication is that intuition can be a powerful tool in the hand of principals especially when confronted with more exertive agents, as for example, external ones (i.e. third party recruiters). The study expands the traditional principal-agent framework and contributes to the understanding of mechanisms and reasons behind why practitioners rely on their own subjectivity, which has been a central topic of discussion in the field of personnel selection in recent years. 

Keyword [en]
applicant data collection methods, agency theory, recruiter credibility, intuition
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-95920OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-95920DiVA: diva2:662413
Available from: 2013-11-07 Created: 2013-11-07 Last updated: 2013-11-11
In thesis
1. Employee selection: Mechanisms behind practitioners’ preference for hiring practices
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Employee selection: Mechanisms behind practitioners’ preference for hiring practices
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Despite the great advances science has made in developing selection decision aids practitioners’ generally remain reluctant to adopt them. This phenomenon is considered today one of the greatest gaps in industrial, work and organizational psychology. This thesis adopts a psychological approach to practitioners’ resistance toward hiring procedures with high predictive validity of work performance. Consequently, three specific research questions were examined, two of which highlighted aspects of self-regulation, and one focused on agency relation in order to study outcomes in terms of actual use of hiring procedures and intention to change hiring procedures. The present thesis comprises three studies. Questionnaire data is used in two studies (Study I and II) to study how 1) prototype beliefs and ability to evaluate the quality of own performance is related to use of selection decision methods; and also how 2) behavioral intention to change hiring practice is related to self-efficacy beliefs, causal attribution and past behavior. Data collected with semi-structured interviews is used in Study III in order to study practitioners’ experiences in collaborative contexts in employee selection. Study I found that prototype beliefs and task quality ambiguity perceptions varied across various hiring practices. The results from Study II showed that self-efficacy beliefs, external attributions of success and internal attributions of failure were related to intention to change hiring practices. Study III highlighted the prevalence of separate self-interests over more general organizational interests in the agentic relation between practitioners. In conclusion, the present thesis has implication for theory as well as practice when it concludes that conscious steered cognitive mechanisms are important for understanding practitioners’ resistance towards high standardized hiring practices.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, 2013. 66 p.
Keyword
employee selection decision making, employee data collection methods, hiring practices, self-efficacy, causal attribution, behavioral intention, agency
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-95890 (URN)978-91-7447-814-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-12-20, David Magnussonssalen (U31), Frescati Hagväg 8, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Manuscript. Paper 3: Manuscript.

Available from: 2013-11-28 Created: 2013-11-06 Last updated: 2013-12-05Bibliographically approved

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