Why Work at Ikea?

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Jim Surphera
Dr. Henry Scott
Human Resources Management (HRM 410)
October 3, 2009
Assignment #1: “Why Work at IKEA?”
Human resources professionals in today’s job market seek to identify candidates who possess seemingly intangible qualities, such as a positive attitude, high moral standards, respect for others, and other similar traits. These traits are often difficult to assess, specifically because there is often insufficient empirical data with which to devise accurate measurement tools. Additionally, these evaluations are often based on subjective impressions, which are inherently subject to bias. IKEA is an example of a company that seeks to define its culture through its selection process. In the excerpt, IKEA directly engages potential applicants by outlining its desired company culture through suggestive illustration. In the second paragraph of the webpage, they state, “Values are at the heart of our culture. The people and the values of IKEA create a culture of informality, respect, diversity, and real opportunities for growth (IKEA, p. 1).” On the surface, this seems to be a forward-looking statement, designed to compel the applicant to want to belong to this organization, especially if the applicant also holds these values and concepts in high regards. The reality of IKEA’s selection program is that they cannot accurately assess these traits. IKEA could certainly construct a test for informality or respect, but it would be invalid because of the dependence on the bias of the evaluator, if they chose to rely solely on the assessment by the interviewer, and not a validated test. There are other ways they could potentially evaluate some of these traits. For instance, the qualities of togetherness, humbleness, willpower, and simplicity could be included in a broader assessment of personality. Personality assessments do have applicability in this instance, since a sufficient number of validated personality assessments are already in widespread use....
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