Research Article Briefing

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Research article briefing 1
Wilson, M. G., Gahlout, P., Liu, L., & Mouly, S. (2005). A rose by any other name:The effect of ethnicity and name on access to employment. [Research].

Summary of the study

“New Zealand has an increasingly diverse workforce, yet both the popular and academic press suggest persistent employment discrimination in New Zealand, particularly for ethnic minorities and immigrants” (Wilson, Gahlout, Liu, & Mouly, 2005). Wilson et al (2005) carried out a scientific research to investigate the impact of ethnicity on initial short listing and access to employment for the ethnic minority and immigrant job applicants. The article mentions similar studies have been done in the UK and the US. The results of studies indicate the Asian and other ethnic minorities remain disadvantaged in access to employment compared to the majority. Wilson et al (2005) mentions often such stories are difficult to believe as New Zealand “prides itself on a “level playing field” and that it has one of the world’s most inclusive pieces of non-discrimination legislation?.

The article mentions that despite having a largely diverse workforce, surveys and studies done by popular press and academic press suggests that it is difficult for minority applicaticants to get the “foot in the door”.(Carmichael & Woods, 2000) have argued that ethnic minorities pay an “ethnic penalty” in the competition for jobs, although the penalty varies considerably between minority groups.

The research studies impact of the ethnicity, ethnicity of name, and the immigration status on access to employment. Wilson et al (2005) came up with following three hypotheses

Hypothesis 1: Ethnic Asian applicants of equal quality will be less likely to be shortlisted for employment than European/Pakeha applicants.

Hypothesis 2: Ethnicity of name will increase the “ethnic penalty” in employment short-listing.

Hypothesis 3: Immigrant status will increase the “ethnic penalty” in short-listing of ethnic candidates.


As mentioned in the article, the research was conducted in three linked studies using a structured survey instrument that simulated organisational short-listing. The survey asked the respondents to evaluate a new web based selection system of a beta version of standardised employment software. They were asked to evaluate the system by viewing a current selection portfolio produced by the system, and evaluating and short-listing applicants. The survey was structured as evaluation of beta version of software to take focus of the respondent’s short-listing behaviour so that internal short-listing behaviour of the respondents can be recorded.

Survey was conducted on the students from the HRM classes who had just heard the lecture on use of technology on recruitment and selection. The respondents were given a detailed 3 page job description, and a detailed personal specification for an entry level human resources position in a well known organisation. Respondents were also given one page resumes that included name and contact details, the details of a bachelor’s degree in HR related field and required experience for the job in a multinational company. The respondents were asked to evaluate and shortlist the applicants by viewing portfolio produced by the system.

Three different studies were carried out (Table 1: Summary of the three designs). The first study evaluated the impact of ethnicity and ethnicity of name. The second study evaluated the impact of ethnicity and immigration status. The third study evaluated the impact of having many ethnic resumes in the pool. The first two studies measured the suitability and presence of ethnic candidates in short-list, and the third study measured only the presence of ethnic candidates.


Study One:
Total 18 resumes were created, 6 each for Pakeha, Chinese and Indian candidates. Country of degree earned and HR experience gained along with the ethnicity...
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