Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Consuming people? : an examination of graduate recruitment and employment
Author: Jenner, Shirley
ISNI:       0000 0001 3590 1691
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2004
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
This thesis examines the recruitment of new graduates into trainee professional, managerial and technical occupations in eight UK based large-scale companies. The analysis began from a managerial position with the intention of developing a normative/prescriptive model of graduate recruitment and employment. The model postulated that 'best practice' graduate recruitment would involve an integrated sequence of stages: the development of a rationale for the graduate role, recruitment & selection, induction and finally, work socialisation. The graduate perspective was also considered by conceptualising 'transition' occurring as individuals went through four stages: career choice, job-hunting, joining and adjustment to work. However, this theoretical formulation proved to be inadequate to explain the data that the graduate survey, interviews and document analysis produced. This was because the starting point had insufficiently addressed questions of social reproduction, for example in the way in which graduates attitudes to and expectations of work were formed. Integral to this reconsideration of my methodology was a further assessment of the epistemological and ontological issues associated with this research. This provided the basis for the choice of more compelling theoretical perspectives and more appropriate data analysis methods. In particular, my revised methodology incorporated aspects of critical realism, social constructivism and semiotics. My position shifted from viewing graduate recruitment in terms of its own stated purposes as a rational means-end employment system to seeing HRM itself as a phenomenon requiring explanation. This meant that I gave more attention to questions about the way in which HRM and its associated rhetorical/discursive practices become viewed as normal and unproblematic by graduates, managers and in society more generally. In particular, I examined the emergence of employer branding as a core practice of Human Resource Management amongst private sector multinational companies. I show that both the supply and demand dimensions of the graduate labour market are shown to be constructed through inter-subjectively shared meanings and understandings. The extension of marketing practices to selling employment indicates that consumerism has influenced the graduate work ethic. In order to explain this empirical data I turned to theoretical ideas such as Gramsci's concept of hegemony and the associated notion of ideology. In fact, the notion of hegemony provides a conceptual lens through which the HRM literature can be reevaluated as propaganda & persuasion rather than a source of theoretical insight. My detailed empirical examination of work suggests that whilst graduates consume work, there is evidence of them being consumed by it. The labour process involved long hours, high levels of geographical mobility, loss of freedom and a requirement to accept both direct surveillance and to adopt self-governing behaviour. The limitations of the research methodology are acknowledged and the extent to which the study has been able to break free of its positivist moorings considered. The thesis closes by setting out further research opportunities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available