Understanding The Considerations Of Identity Fits Commerce Essay

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The term 'fit' in an organisation seems to relate to how a person fits into an organisation best, employees that 'fit' successfully into a company can make an organisation more successful and make employees more committed to the company. It was found by a survey that human resource practices had the strongest impact on building commitment [1] . There are a number of factors that can affect the successful integration of a well fitted employee. The internal factors are recruitment and selection and the training the employee receives. The external factors can be seen as other competitors and the economic situation that the company finds itself in at the time. A company that uses an employee that fits best into their organisation are following a high commitment approach, they are utilising their employees as their strong asset to make themselves more successful. This essay seeks to understand why the internal and external factors can either help or hinder an adaptation of the high commitment model approach.

The first internal factor I will discuss will be recruitment and selection, companies such as Marks and Spencer's have a high commitment model because they focus on having the right employees for the job. They commit themselves to the employee in order to create a good working environment and gain competitive advantage as Porter and Steers [2] found that 'employees that were committed to an organisation had a strong acceptance and belief in the organisation's goals'. Marks and Spencer's have described themselves as, 'One of the UK's leading retailers with over 21 million people visiting the stores each week'. There is no arguing with its 125 years in the retail industry and reputation for quality has made M&S an attractive place for prospective employees. M&S even agree on their website that is the people that make their success so prominent in today's market 'Our people are proud of the fact they work for Marks & Spencer, and of the products they work with. They take pride in everything they do.' Marks and Spencer's pride themselves on 'Taking a considered and responsible approach is an integral part of how we run our day to day activities' [3] . Marks and Spencer's employ an impressive 68,000 employees, whose employment offer a range of benefits and training. The fact that M&S has never had to openly advertise the fact that they are recruiting speaks volumes to what the company has achieved with its recruitment and selection processes, with past ratios of 100:1 people applying for a M&S job and a staff retention of 95% [4] it is no doubt that Marks and Spencer's recruitment process has contributed to its success within the marketplace.

M&S's recruitment and selection process is vital to itself as an organisation, as one of the internal factors that allow an employee to 'fit' into an organisation in order to breed commitment. Recruitment and selection is 'an operation in order to find the ideal candidate to fit the organisation's job description and fit into their organisational culture, by various methods either by formal interviews or a questionnaire' [5] . To find a successful applicant to the job means that the company will be benefiting from a candidate who will strive to improve the organisation in ways their previous experience within work or education dictates. This is obviously important to the organisation as each employee is seen as representing the company and is part of helping the company succeed. With such a recognised name as M&S and the implied quality the mere name suggests and in fact boasts about on its website. M&S admit that they train employees in the 'Marks and Spencer's way' so finding the right employee to continue Marks and Spencer's values seems vital in the survival of their organisational culture and to breeding commitment.

M&S uses a processual approach to selecting employees, Herriot argues that this change from the traditional view of selection is well needed, he argues that selection is an exchange or negotiation between two parties, the employing organisation and the potential recruit [6] . This type of selection is seen as 'a series of episodes in which increasing amounts of information are exchanged to determine whether there is indeed compatibility between the organisation and the individual' [7] . Marks and Spencer's concentrates on this theory by targeting mostly students as their future employees, 'A chance to become one of the future leaders of a well-known, quality brand.' [8] This gives a chance for the company to set their values into young minds and therefore the successful outcome of this selection process causes a 'viable psychological contract that encapsulates congruence between the expectations of both parties' [9] Marks and Spencer's selection process is to headhunt from educational facilitates or at recruitment fairs. Marks and Spencer's never use assessment centres in order to find future employees as they feel the considered employee should be completely integrated within Marks and Spencer's values, this helps Marks and Spencer's use predictive validity as proper assessment of the possible employee as it allows the company to see if they are gaining a 'good' or a 'poor' employee. Managers are only looking for employees they predict will be successful at the job, this is useful and cheaper for Marks and Spencer's as they recruit a large amount of people at the same time. It doesn't waste time with looking individually at each person to see whether they can 'mould' the person into a specific job fit but only takes from the pool of applicants that are likely to succeed and therefore more likely to commitment to their company and follow their own goals in tune with the organisation's targets.

Marks and Spencer's usually has a company representative to visit these universities to assess whether they can follow the 'M&S way' by asking students to fill out an application form. After contacting the students who seem to fit into the Marks and Spencer's 'job fit' through the telephone or via email they then offer them a chance at an interview. This type of selection process is using biodata [10] in order to screen out unsuitable applicants and leave a pool of applicants for further investigation. Marchington and Wilkinson state, 'the most effective application forms ensure that the information provided ties in with the person specification and core competencies required for the job.' [11] This works well for Marks and Spencer's as it offers the chance for them to control what type of employees they allow into the organisation, if their organisation's most successful employees have similar lifestyles it is easier to implement what are the 'right' employees for M&S. Now Marks and Spencer's website offer a service where you can take an online personality questionnaire to see if you fit into the M&S values and eventually their organisational culture which M&S seem cardinal to their over-all success and longevity in the market. The way that Marks and Spencer's train their employees to fit into the organisation also shows evidence that they strive to have a high commitment model as it is one of the internal factors that they have considered to make sure that this model is adopted successfully, after the intense process of selecting an employee, they must begin training in the 'M&S' way which consists of fully understanding where the company came from and where it is going as well as verbally agreeing to follow M&S's plan A approach. This ties in with Salancik's views on how behavioural commitment is a useful concept for breeding commitment in an company. This involved the binding of individuals to certain acts such as public statements of intent, meaning that by verbally committing themselves to Marks and Spencer's they are re-enforcing their own beliefs along with the company's goals. As one employee put it 'I want to make M&S to fill its potential as much as I want to.' [12] 

The external factors that affect a high commitment model can make this approach hard to achieve. External factors such other competitors are what dictates the internal factors that a company tries to implement. For example Marks and Spencer's recruitment and selection process coupled with their training is what strives them to be have high commitment model, but the fact is that Marks and Spencer's competitors have caused them to lose some of the values that achieves this model. Marks and Spencer's fashion sector recently suffered a blow because the clothes they sold were 'too old fashioned' and their market progression was hindered meaning that competitors who had more up to date clothing or simply trying to monopolise on this failing sector of M&S's business was taking customers away. This factor could have been caused by M&S's way of fitting an employee into the organisation, because M&S only recruit people that 'fit' into their organisation. This method can stifle creativity and can lessen competition within the organisation, which can lead to slow growth within the organisation and affect the progress of a company especially in the retail industry when being ahead of the curve when it comes to food and fashion is vital. Marks and Spencer's has already suffered from a lack of market progression when it comes to their fashion sector [13] , which could be the effect of their almost suffocating ideals on how all employees should be submerged within the M&S way of thinking. This can led to loss of revenue and customer base.

In order to understand why Marks and Spencer's recruitment and selection process holds back the ability for the company to grow efficiently we should look at each segment of their process. Marks and Spencer's chooses not to use the traditional system when it comes to selecting their employees, this traditional approach focuses more on 'the job' [14] - finding the right person for the job. Herriot [15] argues this change is far more beneficial than the traditional approach which focuses more on the compatibility of the person and organisation. However, this is selected way of employing people is not necessarily good for the company. As the person they employ may fit well into the culture of the business but does not know how to properly fulfil their job description, which the traditional approach to selection fully investigates. It explores the best person specification towards the job description.

M&S use of predictive validity in selection does not mean that the company is selecting the right candidates for its job fit. If M&S only employ those who are predicted to be good workers, they can never know that the people they labelled as 'poor' would fail on the job. Marks and Spencer's seems to think that pooling from a source of same personality individuals will create homogeneity of behaviour. Van Vianen and Kmieciak argue that, 'organisational climate is mainly created by homogeneity of behaviour and not homogeneity of personalities.' [16] So Marks and Spencer's selection process is flawed from the beginning, it only attracts workers they believe will succeed ignoring the fact that just because a selection of people have the same personality it will lead to a stronger working culture which is not always the case. Marks and Spencer's structured interview is aimed at gaining better predictive validity [17] . But this can present a misleading view of the organisation to the applicant, so the employee will always be disappointed. The goals expected from the candidate are not realistic. The person then hired may not understand fully what is expected within the job contract, and unmet expectations could cause sabotage within the workplace and further resistance. Even with a high predictive validity within an organisation it does not automatically translate into organisational commitment, which is what Marks and Spencer's seems to value.

The use of biodata and application forms that M&S use is to improve this predictive validity it requires in its selection process. However, biodata can be the source of unfair discrimination if Marks and Spencer's are only looking for a certain type of individual based on who they already employ within the organisation. They could ignore people who are qualified for the job but do not fit into the mainstream idea of their organisation. Their application forms do not take in to account that candidates could lie on the form in order to make them seem ideal for the culture fit of the company. Stokes found that 'job incumbents responded differently to items compared to actual job applicants, with the latter responding in more socially desirable ways.' [18] These un-honest expectations from an application form re-enforces the view of unrealistic goals for the applicant to fulfil, and if successful the employee would be unable to carry out the job which could lead to loss of revenue for M&S. Marks and Spencer's use the systemic approach to selection so it assumes there is a particular personality required for their jobs. Individuals would then be picked for having demonstrated the 'Marks and Spencer's way' on their personality questionnaire, this does not allow that other people with a different personality might be able to do the job as effectively but in a different way. It does not allow for an individual to 'grow' or to 'change' in to their jobs which is vital for an organisation in order to compete with the market.

M&S uses structured interviews to further predict the validity of their selection decision, this can encourage a good fit with the job in question. However, a structured interview can be restricted in negotiating the views of what is expected from the candidate. A structured interview can be unclear when selecting in organisational context, Judge and Ferris argue that, 'Calls for structured interviews as a way to improve the validity of the interview may be misplaced if the true goal, and utility, of the interview lies not in selecting the most technically qualified, but the individual most likely to fit into the organisation.' [19] M&S are guilty of this as they admit themselves they are only interested in those who fit the M&S way, this ignores those who are better for the job but less likely to fit into a concentrated culture. This 'casts the nets too thin' when it comes to selecting people, how can M&S be expected to bring new ideas into a company that only employees the same people? Surely this way of selection and recruiting cannot last long term as there has to be diversity in order to allow growth, increase production and profit. M&S's narrowed selection process causes unrealistic goals for the new employee to fulfil, Wanous claims that, 'recruitment practices attract applicants on the grounds that it is often at the expense of honesty about the position to be filled.' [20] 

In conclusion I believe that a High commitment model is way to greatly improve an organisation, the way to achieve this model successfully seems to lie in finding employees with the right 'fit' for the organisation. Marks and Spencer's has proven with internal factors such as a quality recruitment and selection process that if you find employees who are more likely to fit into a company the more successful the company will be. Finding employees that will link their own interests to those of the organisation can increase productivity and well-being in employees [21] , which seems to result in a successful High commitment approach. However the external factors such as other competitors will always have some effect on the internal factors, meaning that other competitors as discussed could hinder the adoption of a high commitment approach. But when employees are committed to an organisation they seem to go above and beyond their usual expectations, as Whitener proves, 'the employee fully trusts their employer'. [22] Employees interpret human resource practices as an indicator that the organisation is committed to them and therefore prove their own ability by fully committing to the organisation when such practices are successfully implemented.

Word Count: 2,300

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