Tag Archives: Employment

Employment discourses

EmploymentWith unemployment figures reaching new heights and markets conditions deteriorating, employers need to recruit the most talented employees if they are to maintain their competitive edge and have a workforce that reflects their consumer base. Arguably then, that means recruiting employees from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Overt discrimination of race, sexuality, disability, religion, age and gender is, of course, illegal and employers seem to be proactive in their attempts to eliminate barriers to recruitment, retention and progression. Yet the egalitarian discourses that employers draw upon in these practices, often account for less diverse workforces as a result of external forces e.g. particular groups do not tend to apply. However, these can often be caused by an organisation’s own internal discourses, which inadvertently deselect potential candidates with particular attributes and personalities e.g. advertising a vacancy in magazine targeted at younger people is unlikely to be seen by more mature candidates.

In a more challenging business environment, it may therefore, prove fruitful for employers to review their recruitment methods and dispositions.

square-eye The Times ‘Unemployment hits a 12 year high’

square-eyeThe Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (formerly DIUS) ‘Professional Recruitment Guide’

square-eyeOverlooked and underutilized: People with disabilities are an untapped human resource

square-eyeSense-making of employment: on whether and why people read employment advertising

‘Spanish practices’

BullfightFirstly it was bonus payments for bankers seen as largely responsible for the ‘credit crunch’, and then excessive expenses claims by members of parliament (MPs).

Although these activities were not necessarily illegal, the British public has been enthusiastically encouraged by the press to denounce them as immoral.

This common view that dubious morality is endemic amongst those in positions of power has been highlighted recently by the ironic election success of a Croatian politician with a campaign slogan of ‘All for me, nothing for you’.

From a psychological perspective, such beliefs illustrate the ultimate attribution error, where negative behaviours of individual members are seen as typical of an entire out-group.

On closer inspection, however, this simple moral dichotomy is more complex than it may first appear. For example, MP’s expenses have been likened to so-called ‘Spanish practices’, a derogatory British term that continues to be surprisingly widely-used despite its racist implications. Such practices are questionable non-contractual working arrangements that benefit the employee and have become accepted as normal over time. These typically occur within heavily unionised industries, and have previously been the subject of industrial disputes.

Rather ironically then, many of those claiming the moral high-ground in terms of MP’s expenses commonly take advantage of exactly the same kind of ‘unofficial benefits’, suggesting that morality is a somewhat flexible concept.

Interestingly, the very term (mis-)used to describe these practices is a further example of the ultimate attribution error, being one of a number of historic British slurs attributing negative behaviours to foreign nationality out-groups.

Square-eye‘Spanish practices’ of MPs from the Mail Online

Square-eye£1.99 - small Sunar, D. (2009). Suggestions for a New Integration in the Psychology of Morality

Square-eye£1.99 - smallGiles, D. & Shaw, R. L. (2009). The Psychology of News Influence and the Development of Media Framing Analysis

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