Tuesday, June 19, 2007

the grey area

Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Only until recently was I able to fully apply and appreciate what I learned from the other half of my double major in college – the art and science of psychology. Since graduation in 1999, I worked mostly with stuff within the purview of the discipline of economics – starting as a research assistant for a research program dealing with ancestral domain and natural resource management, getting involved with various projects dealing with development issues, and eventually tackling social capital for my master’s thesis.

Being a number cruncher for some time now, I always dealt with the precise, the accurate and the absolute with which numbers represent. It was always this or that; no maybes; no in-betweens; everything is always in black and white. My unexpected transfer to the world of human resource management forced me to deal more with the grey and the uncertain. The statistics that used to populate my daily work routine has been replaced with people – each having his/her own definition, each his/her own package of mystery, wonder, sanity and madness.

In dealing with human resource affairs, the ceteris paribus assumption of economics has been replaced with the perspective that all other factors are at play at a single time. For instance, do we hire primarily for attitude or for skills? Or both? With all the essay examinations, the interviews, the sophisticated psychometric tools being used for hiring, can we really assess what it is in that person that makes him/her perfect for the job? How does one come up with the right solution to messy employee situations such as erratic absences, long lunches, sexual politics, inability to fit in, chronic unreliability and perpetual complaining and other extremely unpleasant scenarios one can think of?


Marts said...

I'm not an expert, but if I get to choose who I hire, I rely on my gut feeling if I can work with them or not (after checking out their resume of course, hahaha!). Not necessarily harmoniously, but as long as we get the work done. Does it make sense? Is it fair? I don't know but in the real corporate world, it all goes down to 1 point: get the job done.

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