Managerial selection in peninsular Malaysia : a study of selection techniques and practices of large organizations in the manufacturing sector
The importance of managerial selection process to the success of an organisation has long been acknowledged. Yet, while an increasing amount of research has been carried out in the West, very few studies of a similar nature has been undertaken in South East Asia. As a result, very little is known on the techniques and practices used to select managers of local and foreign firms operating in this region. Focussing on firms operating in the Malaysian industry, this study attempts to bridge the knowledge gap by providing empirical evidence on the techniques and practices used to select managers of large local and foreign manufacturing firms operating in 3 areas of main industrial growth. It will also attempt to explain the reasons for employing these techniques and practices. This study also looks for any similarities or differences concerning the use of these techniques between these firms and those used in the West. Another concern of this study is to determine the factors which influenced these similarities or differences particularly between local and foreign firms. Data collected by mail survey from 60 firms and personal interviews with 32 firms illustrates that some firms in this study employ techniques used in the West to select managers such as the application form, cvs, interviews (both structured and unstructured), psychological (both personality and cognitive) tests and the assessment centre (Ae). None of these firms reported employing biodata, graphology and astrology. The findings also revealed broad similarities between local (Malaysian) and foreign (non-Malaysian) firms in terms of many of the techniques used : for example, both types of firms used the interview, application form, cvs, references, psychological (personalitty) test and the Assessment Centre and did not use the biodata, graphology and astrology. Nevertheless, there were some differences: in particular, the local firms did not use psychological (cognitive) tests. This study has also identified several factors which influenced these similarities and differences. It also illustrates that both formal and informal selection techniques were used by some practitioners to select external and internal candidate for the post of managers at al1 or some levels. Overall, this study supports the view that in HRM, the spread of ideas on selection techniques used to select managers is powerful although in practice, the differences in the way techniques are adopted rather than the differences in the types of techniques employed which allows for cultural influence to be most clearly felt.