Macquarie University
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The mediating role of culture in structured behavioural selection interviews

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posted on 2022-03-28, 13:58 authored by Choon-Hwa Lim
Researchers frequently state that we still do not know much about the application of the selection interview across cultures when recruiting intercultural candidates. (Harris, 1989; Hough and Oswald, 2000; Stewart and Perlow, 2001; Macan, 2009). Yet the selection interview continues to be widely used by practitioners for interviewing a broad range of candidates of different cultural backgrounds (Lievens, Highhouse and de Corte, 2005; Topor, Colarelli and Han, 2007). This thesis identifies gaps in the literature on (a) what constitutes appropriate selection procedures in cases where interviewers and candidates are from different cultures, and (b) what the appropriate guidelines are for achieving successful communication between interviewers and candidates in intercultural selection interviews. -- A new conceptual model, informed by the attribution theory (Knouse, 1989), is developed in this study, with the purpose of identifying the factors influencing the way interviewers and candidates perform during intercultural selection interviews. In the course of developing this model, the study calls into question the suitability of the structured behavioural selection interview as a means of recruiting intercultural candidates. The thesis focuses on Chinese candidates being interviewed by non-Chinese interviewers for entry-level positions in an Australian financial services organisation based in Sydney, Australia. -- An important factor motivating this research is the skill shortage that currently exists in Australia, and the ironical situation that, despite this shortage, the available skills of a diverse ethnic migrant workforce are being underutilised. The study investigates the issue of whether the culture of the ethnic migrant has an impact on the recruitment process and on interview outcomes, and whether the structured selection interview technique is a reliable and valid tool for interviewing intercultural candidates. -- This thesis is distinctive in a number of ways. A general inductive approach along with a method of thematic analysis, assisted by NVivo, is used to develop a holistic framework laying out the various themes influencing an interview. The study attempts to capture the factors influencing intercultural interviews and to evaluate their relative prevalence. Live structured behavioural selection interviews recorded on audiotape were scrutinised and analysed, and interviews were conducted with interviewers and candidates to capture information and data of a kind which might have been lost in a quantitative approach. A total of 11 live interviews, 11 candidate debriefs and 13 interviewer debriefs were recorded. This produced rich data for qualitative analysis, totalling 546 single-spaced pages and 230,109 words. Findings from these three data sources were triangulated to support the findings of the study, which were also informed by previous research.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. Literature review -- 3. Research design & methodology -- 4. Data analysis & discussions -- 5. Conclusions -- References -- Appendices.


Bibliography: pages 451-486

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Marketing and Management

Department, Centre or School

Department of Marketing and Management

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Meena Chavan

Additional Supervisor 1

Lucy Taksa


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Choon-Hwa Lim 2012.






xviii, 563 pages

Former Identifiers

mq:28093 2066651