Selective decisions: challenging orthodox analyses of the hiring process

Harvie Ramsay, Dora Scholarios

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Employee recruitment and selection decisions are increasingly framed in terms of explanatory variables and interactions that span multiple levels of analysis. This paper reviews the gradual transition in thinking from predominantly micro-level explanations, to frameworks more accepting of the importance of both micro- and macro-level explanations. The latter accommodate the influences of and interactions between, for example, the individual characteristics of candidates; the cognitive processes of key actors or decision-makers; organisational characteristics; collective processes; and wider environmental contextual factors which constrain and shape an organisation’s or manager’s decision alternatives. The result is more complex cross-level theorising about the hiring process. The paper also goes beyond cross-level interactions between multiple variables in considering selection as a social relational phenomenon. Meso-level theories present epistemological alternatives to the dominant micro-level research tradition in selection and potentially more parsimonious and powerful micro–macro bridging concepts than cross-level interactionist perspectives. It is argued that cross-disciplinary perspectives, although still problematic, are valuable additions to the individualistic paradigm which is conventionally used to understand employee recruitment and selection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-89
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal of Management Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1999


  • selection
  • hiring process
  • employee recruitment


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