July 29, 2008

Critical Evaluation : A Sample Background of the Study

1.0 Background of the Study

Assessment centre refer to an event at which a group of individuals participate in a series of activities that purport the evaluation of business skills and competencies. The activities may be individual or group-based and are specifically designed to stimulate situations which may test the individual’s abilities and behavioural tendencies. Assessment centre activities generally include group problem-solving exercises, business simulations, individual interviews and psychometric measurement of behavioural tendencies, personality and aptitude.
According to the Charter Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), assessment centre’s role is central to assisting the whole process of giving candidates experience of a microcosm on the job while also testing their individual and business acumen through work-related activities. Apart from being a mean to measure individual potential and identify development needs, the extended role of assessment centres is that it can be used as a selection tool. Candidates for a particular role are being evaluated against the appropriate competencies of the job requirement.
Though assessment centres benefit organisations through ensuring the best people-to-job matches in key organisational roles and therefore improve the predictability of selection processes, the concept of using assessment centres, nonetheless, receives several objections and criticisms. Criticisms generally include: costly to develop and administer, requires a large staff and great deal of time, only a limited number of people can be processed at a time, may not be cost-effective for initial screening of low-level jobs, cross-cultural/international adaptations may be difficult to design and standardise, there may be confidentiality concerns.

2.0 Statement of the Problem

The problem that will be addressed in this study is the in-depth analysis of whether assessment centres are effective selection tool compared to other selection tools. The study will address the following research questions.
1) What are the advantages and disadvantages of using assessment centres as selection tools?
2) How valid are assessment centres as selection tool? What is that level of utility of assessment centres for selectors?
3) Under what conditions that assessment centres could prove to be an effective selection tool?
4) How assessment centres contribute to the overall growth of the individuals? of the organisations they will eventually join?
5) For the organisations, how important are assessment centres? Does the functionality of assessment centres as selection tool could deliver significant value to the organisations?

3.0 Objectives of the Study

The aim of the study is to evaluate and draw conclusion on how the efficacy of assessment centres as selection tool could qualitatively contribute to the growth of the individual and the organisation. The following specific objectives will be addressed.
1) To understand the fundamentals of assessment centres as a selection tool and relate how a strategic initiative they could possibly be for various organisations
2) To explain whether the strengths of assessment centres as selection tool could contribute to acquiring quality organisational members
3) To analyse the value of assessment centres as selection tool could contribute to the development of individuals and organisations
4) To evaluate the functionality of assessment centres as selection tool in relation to individual and organisational growth

4.0 Research Plan

The research will be exploratory in nature. Exploratory research will enable the study to look at the problem in both descriptive and exploratory manner. It will look into the problem by exploring the views of different sets of respondents, as well as by exploring different literatures related with the study. It will also conduct experiment to observe the subjects, with the hope to find answers to the questions the study ask.
This study will also employ qualitative research method because it will try to find and build theories that will explain the relationship of one variable with another variable through qualitative elements in research. Through this method, qualitative elements that do not have standard measures such as behavior, attitudes, opinions, and beliefs within the organizational domain will be analyzed.

In this study, primary and secondary research will be both incorporated. The reason for this is to be able to provide adequate discussion for the readers that will help them understand more about the issue and the different variables that involve with it. The primary data for the study will be represented by the survey results that will be acquired from the respondents. On the other hand, the literature reviews to be presented in the second chapter of the study will represent the secondary data of the study. Secondary sources of data will come from published articles from business and e-commerce journals, theses and related studies.

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