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Cultural Differences and Employee Selection

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One of the most important decisions comes when having to select an employee to fill a job vacancy. In the current labour market, highly qualified applicants are scarce and, among the existent ones, it is hard to spot the ideal candidate. Sometimes it is so urgent that a position is filled, that a person may win the job by default, or sloppy selection criteria may be applied. A quick fix may ease the workload for a while, but it might prove lethal for the business viability itself in the long run. Therefore, larger attention in the selection process can provide the business with employees who will finally produce the desired results.
Processing an applicant for a job normally entails a series of steps, which are determined by the size of the organization, the types of jobs to be filled or the number of people to be hired. The selection stage should be backed up by an effective recruitment process, which greatly depends on a job analysis and job description. Job analysis is a process to identify and determine in detail the particular job duties and requirements and the relative importance of these duties for a given job.
Common American work styles are used everywhere. Work and the ways to succeed vary tremendously from culture to culture. Mainstream Americans value speed but some Native Americans value thoughtful analysis so much that they hold back the answer so as not to appear rash. Manual work is looked down upon in India. so many office jobs are created to satisfy the need for status. Japanese workers cooperate within their hands (work unit), but the Hands compete with each other. Different selection procedures are needed for different work styles.
Cultural patterns significantly influence both individual behaviour and the organizational environment. Culture can be defined as the value systems or modes of behaviour to which people in a given geographical area subscribe. Thus, by definition, country boundaries would offer the clearest example of cultural differentiation. The individual behavioural patterns and the organizational environment found in Japan are quite different than in the United States. The Japanese system, which is an outgrowth of feudalism that characterized Japan in the early 1900s, supports the welfare concept and yields a paternalistic type of management that has proved to be successful among Japanese firms. The depression of the early 1930s in the United States reduced employee perceptions of the identity of interests between non-managers and managers and made paternalistic management practices suspect. Additionally, the competitive education system and the values traditionally taught American children by their parents for achievement and recognition have made it difficult for paternalistic patterns of management to work well in the United States.