Impact of national culture on organizations’ use of selection practices

Publication Date07 October 2019
AuthorNicholas Ryan Prince,Rüdiger Kabst
SubjectHr & organizational behaviour,Industrial/labour relations,Employment law
Impact of national culture
on organizationsuse
of selection practices
Nicholas Ryan Prince
Department of Management & Marketing, College of Business,
University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming, USA, and
Rüdiger Kabst
Paderborn University, Paderborn, Germany
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of national culture on organizationsuse of
selection practices, specifically to investigate the impact of in-group collectivism, uncertainty avoidance and
power distance on interview panels, one-on-one interviews, applications forms, references, ability, technical
and psychometric tests.
Design/methodology/approach This study uses survey data from the 20082010 CRANET database. It
uses OLS regression analysis to test the impact of national culture on organizationsuse of selection practices.
Findings In-group collectivism increases the use of panel interviews and technical tests, and decreases the
use of one-on-one interviews and application forms. Uncertainty avoidance increases the use of panel
interviews and technical tests, and a decrease in one-on-one interviews, applications ability, and psychometric
tests. Power distance leads to an increase in one-on-one interviews, applications and ability tests, and a
decrease in panel interviews, psychometric tests and references.
Originality/value This paper investigates the use of the impact of national culture on selection practices.
Specifically, it looks at the use of a large number of selection practices panel interviews, one-on-one
interviews, applications and references, and several different tests, ability, technical and psychometric.
Keywords Selection, Interviews, National culture, References, Psychometric tests, Technical tests
Paper type Research paper
Implementing selection practices that fit with the external environment are essential for
success (Delery and Doty, 1996). Not only do selection practices help organizations select the
right candidate, they are also one of the first human resource (HR) practices potential
employees experience, and they act as an early signal of what the firm will be like, its values
and how it will operate (Kim and Ployhart, 2018; Ployhart, 2006). If the organization fits with
what is seen as legitimate and proper in the external labor market, then it will be more able
to find the talent necessary to be successful. If the selection practices fail to be seen as
legitimate (North, 1990), the organization will struggle to find employees with the
knowledge, skills, ability and attitude (KSA), it needs to operate. National culture is one
aspect of the external environment that has a strong influence on HR practices (Allen and
Vardaman, 2017; Newman and Nollen, 1996; Prince et al., 2018).
It is uncertain what practices will be influenced by particular national culture dimensions
and, correspondingly, what dimensions will not have any impact (Sparrow and Wu, 1998).
By understanding what practices are influenced by national culture, organizations can
appropriately adapt their practices to fit with the demands of national culture. Demands
that come as employees and potential employees have a set of expectations they have
developed and which are shaped by the cultural setting within which they have lived
(Farndale and Sanders, 2016). While there are many studies that look at the influence of
national culture on other HR practices, it is essential to also understand how national culture
influences selection practices.
Employee Relations: The
International Journal
Vol. 41 No. 6, 2019
pp. 1145-1161
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/ER-10-2018-0284
Received 30 October 2018
Revised 18 March 2019
21 May 2019
Accepted 21 May 2019
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of national culture on organizations
use of selection practices. Specifically, it will look at the effect of in-group collectivism,
uncertainty avoidance, and power distance and their impact on the adoption of interview
panels, one-on-one interviews, applications forms, references, ability, technical and
psychometric tests. By furthering our understanding of the influence of national culture on
these specific practices, managers will be able to better understand what selection practices
fit or support particular cultural contexts.
This study conducts this investigation by using data from two sources. First, we use
the GLOBE study (House et al., 2004) for its measures of national culture. We also use the
20082010 CRANET data set to measure selection-practice use. This paper is organized by
first providing a literature review on selection practices, and then it provides a short
overview of national culture. The hypotheses section presents the expected influences of
in-group collectivism, uncertainty avoidance and power distance on the seven different
selection practices being investigated. This is followed by a discussion of the research
methods, results and, finally, a discussion on its findings.
HR selection
Staffing has long been recognized as a critical component of an organizations overall HR
architecture (Ployhart, 2006; Schuler and Jackson, 1987). Two of the major areas within
staffing are recruitment and selection (Terpstra and Rozell, 1993). Recruitment refers to
building the overall candidate pool HR personnel and managers select people from to hire
employees. Selection is the process of choosing a person from the pool of candidates to fill
the position that is in need (Ployhart, 2006). Bestpractice suggests a systematic, consistent
approach to identifying top candidates is the optimal approach to selection (Sackett and
Lievens, 2008). There are many selection practices (i.e. one-on-one interviews, panel
interviews, psychometric tests, references, etc.) to choose from in designing the optimal HR
architecture. The recruitment and selection practices ensure organizations have employees
to operate effectively and achieve desired goals. If an organization fails to have the right
people, at the right time, in the right place, then it will be difficult to accomplish its goals.
The focus of this investigation is selection. In their recent article, Kim and Ployhart (2018)
identify three ways good selection benefits organizations. First, selection helps
organizations identify the right candidates. Those candidates who have the requisite
knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs), a firm needs to have to achieve its goals (Ployhart
et al., 2009). When employees with the right KSAs are brought into the organization, it has
employees who are better able to perform the tasks necessary for success. Next, when the
proper selection practices are in place, the value of the firms overall human capital increases
(Ployhart and Moliterno, 2011). Finally, when effective selection practices are implemented,
it increases the likelihood candidates will have good person-job fit (Schneider, 1987;
Schneider et al., 1995). When person-job fit is high, there is a greater likelihood employees
will be productive and stay with the organization. When it is low, employees who would
otherwise be productive employees are more likely to leave the organization (Schneider,
1987; Schneider et al., 1995). This leads to higher staffing costs, and potential decreases in
productivity as the organization may lack the experienced human capital base needed to
perform at an optimal level.
There are several antecedents that are expected to influence the adoption of selection
practices. For example, it has been found that firms in industries that typically have
low-turnover are more likely to adopt extensive use of selection practices compared to firms
in high-turnover industries (Kim and Ployhart, 2018). Similarly, low-growth stable
industries are also expected to have higher use of selection practices (Kim and Ployhart,
2018). HR practices have also been shown to be influenced by the institutional factors,
including national culture, which surround the firm (Lawler et al., 2011). It is also expected

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT