Examining creation of Enabling Environment in Wetland Pakistan


NGOs in Pakistan are recruiting highly professional individuals who perform unique tasks in the projects. In this case, we have undermined the recruitment and selection procedure of an NGO, wetland who has performed various tasks in Pakistan. Wetland is one of the biggest NGO in Pakistan and has successfully completed projects in other developing countries as well. With support from the GEF, the proposed Programme offers a proactive opportunity to create an enabling environment that is essential to conserve all of Pakistan's wetlands. Further, the Programme initiatives in four Demonstration Complexes provide a much-needed opportunity for the application of proven conservation methods and development of innovative regionally appropriate and sustainable approaches to address site-specific issues. Lessons generated within the Project will be relevant for ongoing wetlands conservation initiatives both within and outside Pakistan for evaluation and application to similar efforts in other regions and countries. Significant features of replicability are expected to include the approaches developed to integrate communities in wetlands management, providing alternate livelihoods to wetlands-dependent vulnerable groups and developing mechanisms for financial sustainability in a "resource strained" economy. Such issues confront wetlands conservation in other countries as well and the success of measures implemented under the Pakistan Wetlands Programme will provide useful guidance to the international community.

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Similarly wetlands Pakistan is an NGO which is working on a large scale to protect the environment and uplift community. The particular focus of this research is on the context of Wetlands practices, upon the methods used, whether different practices are used for different categories of staff, and the management responsibility for recruitment and selection. This research will be undertaken in order to supplement the still fairly scant research evidence available concerning HRM practices in Pakistan including recruitment and selection practices and to further inform the debate concerning the influence of national context upon recruitment and selection practices in an era of globalisation and inward investment into developing countries.

The need to recruit and select staff is universal but while this need may be universal the way in which it is done, the particular methods favoured and their number may well be culture specific (Tayeb, 1995; Child, 1981; Hsu and Leat, 2000; Ryan et al., 1999). In many developing economies, such as Pakistan, contextually specific traditional practices are often opened up to foreign influence.

2. Research Questions and Objectives: -

2.1. Research Aim

To examine the recruitment and selection policies and methods of Wetlands Pakistan and propose suggestions of contemporary businesses

2.2 Research Objectives

To understand the various recruitment and selection methods

To analyse the recruitment and selection policies of Wetlands

To examine the recruitment and selection methods used by Wetlands

To understand the organisational context of Wetlands recruitment and selection methods

To propose suggestions for recruitment and selection for contemporary businesses

Research Questions

What are the various recruitment and selection methods?

What are the recruitment and selection policies of Wetlands?

What are the recruitment and selection methods of Wetlands?

What is the organisational context of Wetlands recruitment and selection methods?

Can contemporary businesses in Pakistan learn from Wetlands recruitment and selection methods?

3 Literature Review: -

3.1 The Changing Context of Recruitment and Selection Decisions

Much of the recent literature on personnel management has emphasised the necessity for the recruitment and selection of employees who are committed to the goals of the organisation. Recent waves of organisational restructuring have dramatically changed and, in many cases, destroyed existing employment relationships. As traditional autocratic structures flatten and organisations utilise multidisciplinary teams to remain competitive, the need for strategic and transparent systems becomes paramount (Hackman, 1986; O'Reilly et al., 1991; Raghuram and Arvey, 1996; Worren and Koestner, 1996). Heraty et al. (1997) suggest that, increasingly, many organisations are being transformed from structures that are built on functions and jobs, to those where focused, self-directed work teams, made up of empowered individuals with diverse backgrounds, are replacing traditional specialised workers. Burack and Singh (1995) highlight that firms need adaptable people who can adjust to rapidly changing customer needs and operational structures, while Pfeffer (1994) argues that employees, and the way they work, comprise the crucial difference between successful and unsuccessful organisations. He argues that as technology increases and product life cycles shorten, the major source of competitive advantage will be the individual worker. Krauthamer and Dorfman (1996, p. 49) further develop this view of the prevailing business environment and highlight that:

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With the sweeping changes in today's business climate and the rise of reengineering to meet the needs of organisations in the area of downsizing or cost diminution, (search) firms must be equipped to recruit individuals who can operate in a non-structured or "virtual" organisation. Even in today's technically advanced business environment, the human factor will always be instrumental to the success of an organisation.

A study commissioned by the IPD's Recruitment Forum (Kilibarda and

Fonda, 1997) highlighted a number of common failings in the recruitment and selection process. Included among these failings were:

no obvious link with HR strategy, resourcing strategy and broader business and organisational goals;

use of referencing for short listing;

unclear use of structured interview design and application;

increasing use of invalid prediction methods;

lack of widespread monitoring and lack of remedial action in those

organisations that did monitor recruitment;

Lack of validation of situation specific selection procedures.

These results are suggestive of an inability or unwillingness to appreciate the strategic imperative of effective recruitment and selection practices. Smith and

Robertson (1993) argues that for greater precision in recruitment and selection and caution that a company can be dragged to its knees by the weight of ineffective staff which decades of ineffectual selection methods have allowed to accumulate. Kilibarda and Fonda (1997) note that the problem of inefficiency may be as a result of a difficulty in distinguishing good practice from common practice. Should this be the case then the problem may lie less with the processes utilised and more with the traditional perception of what constitutes effective, valid recruitment and selection practices.

The traditional perspective on recruitment and selection assumed a rational framework, where the largely objective qualifications of the individual were matched to the requirements of the job (Judge and Ferris, 1994). The assumptions of the rational model imply that those making the decisions have real knowledge about the job, real knowledge about the applicants' job relevant qualifications, can objectively compare these qualifications with the job demands and select the applicant with the best match. However, more recently, there is growing evidence to suggest that the notion of ``fit" as it relates to suitability has assumed heightened significance in organisational settings. Chatman (1989) defines "fit" as the degree to which the goals and values of the applicant match those of individuals considered successful in the organisation. Montgomery (1996, p. 94) further highlights this notion of fit as the key to job success:

Think back in your career and ask yourself, of all the people you know who failed in a job and were terminated, how many of them failed because they lacked the right educational degree, the right job experience, or the right industry background? In all likelihood, most of them failed because of inadequate interpersonal skills, an inability to communicate, or because they just didn't fit in with the culture; in other words bad chemistry!

More specifically, Ferris et al. (1991) identify the "organisational chameleon" as a corporate creature who embodies the perfect fit in terms of organisational demands for values, beliefs, attitudes and so forth, while Bowen et al. (1991) advocate that an organisational analysis be carried out prior to making staffing decisions to identify the dominant values, social skills, and personality traits required of potential job applicants. Such an approach challenges the rational model of recruitment and selection and brings into focus the ``form versus substance" issue. According to Ferris and King (1991), the core of this problem is associated with the difficulties involved in distinguishing candidates who are truly qualified (i.e. substance) from those who simply construct images of qualifications and competence (i.e. form). This problem is compounded in a situation where candidates actively seek to alter and manage images of competence, with the result that the decision maker is attempting to hit a moving, rather than a stationary, target (Judge and Ferris, 1994).

In an attempt to explain why the rational model has limited application in the current business environment, Worren and Koestner (1996) posit three particular arguments:

(1) In an increasingly competitive environment the content of jobs may change quickly over time, because of shifts in corporate strategies or technological innovations. Stable person/job match is unlikely in such unpredictable organisational environments.

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(2) The increasing use of self-managed teams makes it difficult to view individual jobs as the key unit of analysis. Team members may be given the responsibility of allocating tasks between members and engage in collective problem-solving efforts that can be more meaningfully understood at the group level of analysis.

(3) Research has documented that person/job match may not be sufficient to achieve high job satisfaction, commitment and job performance among employees. It is necessary also that employee hold values that are congruent with those of the organisation.

Adkins et al. (1994) conclude that this requirement for "fit" encapsulates the congruence of the personality traits, beliefs, and values of the employee with the culture, strategic needs, norms and values of the organisation and thus reinforces the necessity for greater empirical evaluation of the mechanisms employed to measure such characteristics.

3.2 Recruitment

Rynes (1990) defines recruitment as follows: "Recruitment encompasses all organizational practices and decisions that affect either the number, or types, of individuals who are willing to apply for, or to accept, a given vacancy"(p. 249). The importance of this recruitment function is clear when one realizes that by hiring the most competent applicants the firm's performance can be significantly enhanced. Rynes et al. (1993) found that recruiters, recruitment timing and other aspects of the job search process have substantial effects on the allocation of applicants to vacancies. Arvey et al.(1975) reported that delays between recruitment phases had substantial effects on the size and composition of the pool of applicants. The picture that emerges is that professional and efficient recruitment will not only shorten vacancy duration but also improve the quality of the applicants hired.

The process of recruitment may begin with advertising vacancies, this may be done internally or externally or both and can be achieved using a range of media, which may involve using the company web site. The use of the internet for recruitment purposes has become very popular (Chapman and Webster, 2003; Carless, 2007; Anderson, 2003; Lievens and Harris, 2003; Heneman et al., 2000). However, Bartram (2002) and Anderson (2003) have identified the different level of technical sophistication found among organisations in relation to the use of new technology in selection. Alternative methods may be through spreading the word informally using existing employees, family members and other contacts and/or through the expanding use of outsourcing the activity to a firm of consultants or employment agency (Carless, 2007). Organisations may also make use of state run job centres or employment agencies or their own database of speculative enquiries.

Harris et al. (2003) identify three main areas of country difference impacting recruitment; labour legislation, whether the labour market is internal or external and also the recruitment sources usually used. In countries where the labour market is internal, recruitment tends to focus upon specific entry points with appointment to more senior positions being from among existing employees utilising mechanisms of internal assessment

3.3 Selection

Again there are a range of practices that may be used including: applications forms, curriculum vitae, one-to-one and panel interviews, psychometric testing, assessment centres, job trials, job specific aptitude or knowledge tests, graphology, group-based activities and references.

Harris et al. (2003) draw a distinction between countries in which an empirical predictive model is the norm for selection and those in which the selection system is designed to eliminate unnecessary risk.

3.3.1. The relevance of job type

Intuitively one might expect diversity in the use of recruitment and selection practices for different types of jobs, with different techniques, emphasis and combinations being used for example for the recruitment and selection of managers compared to manual workers and this has been confirmed in a number of studies, for example; Hsu and Leat (2000) and Harris et al. (2003).

3.3.2. Number of techniques used

Ryan et al. (1999) investigated national variations in the number of selection methods used and found that cultures high in uncertainty avoidance (Hofstede, 1984) used more test types, used them more extensively, conducted more interviews and audited their processes to a greater extent.

3.3.3. Devolution of responsibility for recruitment and selection

One of the issues that have been of interest to researchers in recent years (Brewster and Larsen, 1992; Brewster et al., 1997; McGovern et al., 1997; Hsu and Leat, 2000; Budhwar, 2000; Budhwar and Sparrow, 2002) is the devolution of responsibility for HRM; including that of recruitment and selection, to line management. It has been suggested, particularly perhaps in the UK and the USA that as HR specialists became more involved in and with the formulation of business strategy responsibility for the implementation of HRM should increasingly be devolved to line management.

3.4 The Process of Recruitment and Selection

Anderson and Shackleton (1986) indicate that the quality of new recruits depends upon an organisation's recruitment practices, and that the relative effectiveness of the selection phase is inherently dependent upon the calibre of candidates attracted. Indeed Smith et al. (1989) argue that the more effectively the recruitment stage is carried out the less important the actual selection process becomes.

Farnham and Pimlott (1995) suggest that one result of effective recruitment and selection is reduced labour turnover and good employee morale. Recruiting ineffectively is costly, since poor recruits may perform badly and/or leave their employment, thus requiring further recruitment. However, Wood (1985), in a cross national study of recruitment practices, suggests that, in reality, recruitment practices involve little or no attempt to validate practices. Personnel managers tend to rely on feedback from line managers and probationary periods and disciplinary procedures to weed out mistakes. Firms with high quit rates live with them and tend to build them into their recruitment practices they do not analyse the constitution of their labour turnover.

A number of recent studies have suggested that some recruitment methods are more effective than others in terms of the value of the employees recruited. Cook (1993) indicates that while advertising is usual for job vacancies, applicants are sometimes recruited by word of mouth, through existing employees. Besides being cheaper, the "grapevine" finds employees who stay longer (low voluntary turnover) and who are less likely to be dismissed (low involuntary turnover) (Breaugh and Mann, 1984; Kirnan et al., 1989). People recruited by word of mouth stay longer because they have a clearer idea of what the job really involves. DeWitte (1989) reviewed five studies in which average labour turnover of those recruited by advertising was 51 per cent. The labour turnover for spontaneous applicants was 37 per cent and turnover for applicants recommended by existing employees was 30 per cent. However, Terpstra (1996) cautions that, while these general results are useful, there is a need for greater internal analysis of the relative quality of recruits yielded by different sources.

4. Research methodology: -

Section 3 provides the concept of literature review of the selected topic. This section describes various methodologies used for the research in order to achieve objectives. Due to the nature of research questions, this research will adopt a qualitative approach.

In order to analyse the recruitment and selection policies of Wetlands, written documents and published reports are used. 16 reports published on the official website for the year 2009 will be content analyzed, along with other official documents (such as, organizational chart, position requisition forms, job descriptions, also known as Terms of Reference, see Appendix) with the focus on how the right people did the right task for Wetland. These reports are available on the NGO's website (http://pakistanWetlands.org/).

4.1 Qualitative Research

Qualitative data can be used for description and interpretation of social behaviours, values and norms, or structures. In this paper we focus on textual data which are widely used in marketing research. Textual data encompasses "any text which constitutes a relevant and necessary source material for answering the questions one is interested in" (Melina, 1998). Numerous approaches are offered in the literature to analyse textual data in a structured, formalised way. These entail converting the text-based string-variables into useful, codified information. The code-base can be achieved by "coding by hand" or the use of computers. This research follows "coding by hand" technique.

Denzin and Lincoln (1998) state that qualitative research "is a field of inquiry in its own right that is surrounded by a complex, interconnected family of terms, concepts, and assumptions". Qualitative research lays down its claim to acceptance by arguing for the importance of understanding the meaning of experience, actions and events as these are interpreted through the eyes of particular participants, researchers and (sub) cultures, and for a sensitivity to the complexities of behaviour and meaning in the contexts where they typically or "naturally" occur (Dilthey, 1977; Blumer, 1969; Harre and Secord, 1972).

The final objective of this study is to propose recruitment and selection suggestions for contemporary business in Pakistan which are consistent with Pakistan's unique culture and socio-political context. Due to the nature of the research, that is exploration recruitment and selection methods and policies of Wetlands and because there is little-known about this topic, qualitative research is most suited for this study.

4.2 Sampling

In total, 16 reports have been published in the year 2009 so far. All these reports will be analysed to see how Wetlands is able to choose the right person for the right job. By transcribing the full text (or the maximum part available) of each report into Word documents, the texts will be qualitatively analysed using Content Analysis technique to find key themes related to recruitment and selection. This would be done to gain a rich non-structured understanding of recruitment and selection.

4.3 Research Method

The interpretation of mute material evidence, such as reports and website information, puts the interaction's view under pressure. How can an approach that gives considerable importance to interaction with speaking subjects (for example, Denzin, 1989) deal with material traces for which informants are long dead or about which informants are not articulate?

The methodological issues that are raised are not, however, unique. In all types of interactive research the analyst has to decide whether or not to take commentary at face value and how to evaluate spoken or unspoken responses. How does what is said fit into more general understanding? Analysts of material culture may not have much spoken commentary to work with, but they do have patterned evidence that has to be evaluated in relation to full range of available information. They too have to fit different aspects of evidence into a hermeneutical whole (Holdder, 1992; Shanks and Tilley, 1987). In this research, only those reports, which have been published so far on the website this year, will be analysed. Wetlands official website is extremely reliable as it is often cross-referenced in other research on NGOs in Pakistan.

5. Access and resource implications:

The first level of access to be considered is physical access (Saunders et al. 2003). The researcher has obtained most of the data from all the 16 reports which have been published in the year 2009 so far.

The data will be accessed from Leeds Trinity University and other nearer libraries. This data will be obtained from various e-sources, books, journals, magazines and newspapers. The conclusion will be drawn at the end of data and recommendation will be given to the organisation (wetland Pakistan).