Symbolic vs. Functional Recruitment: Cultural Influences on Employee Recruitment Policy?

M. SEGALLA, A. Sauquet, C. Turati

European Management Journal

February 2001, vol. 19, n°1, pp.32-43

Departments: Management & Human Resources

This paper reports the results of a study of the cultural influences cm employee recruitment. The authors report the conclusions reached during the first phase of a large European study on managerial decision-making. Nearly 300 managers participated in this phase, which surveyed 25 firms from the financial sectors of France, German, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Models built upon the works of Perlmutter and Heeman's (1974) international staffing policy framework and others are examined. The results of this study indicate that nationality is a good determinant of the choice of internal or external promotion systems. The data provide evidence that certain cultures are likely to recruit managers who represent a symbolic value for the organisation or its clients while other follow a more instrumental recruitment strategy. It also finds that individual self-interest remains an important factor in managerial decision-making because lower skilled managers may resist hiring higher skilled recruits. The authors conclude that human resource programs designed to standardise career management policy across Europe may fail because of intentional and unintentional barriers