Effectiveness of Applicants’ Selection Processes in Aviation.

Effectiveness of Applicants’ Selection Processes in Aviation
Case Study
British Airways

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I. Summary
Recruitment and selection processes are an important part of the human resources management aspects of any company (Campbell 2012). In view of this, the proposed research will undertake an investigative insight into the selection and recruitment process at British Airways (BA), the flag carrier airline of United Kingdom. This company is also known for being included in the Top 20 airlines in the world based on the ratings published by Skytrax (2014).
The objectives of this research is to find out the strengths and/or flaws that might be present in the end-to-end selection process which may have not been taken into consideration before. This topic is chosen as the subject mainly because of the importance of human resources in any organization in general and BA in particular. As one of the world’s largest airlines, BA recruits and employs a large number of employees to provide excellent service to their customers. Understanding how it is able to do this successfully will be an important insight into the management of human resources in other airlines.
In essence, by showing how BA manages to maintain its large staff, the research will help other airlines to better understand the intricate issues involved in the recruitment and selection process. In addition, airlines from different parts of the world are constantly recruiting new staff mainly due to the high turnover rate brought about by globalization. This research can serve as a benchmark in guiding them with the best practices that they can adapt for their company.
The proposed research design and methodology will be qualitative since it aims to explore issues related to human behavior and experiences that are relevant to the research. To this end, it will aspire to answer questions about the credibility, relevance, and efficiency of the whole employee selection process at BA. This will be done by making use of a combination of primary and secondary research methods in which these data will be analyzed to determine the factors and conditions that the company considers essential when hiring their employees.

II. Outline of the Study
The research is divided into the following parts:
Chapter 1 – Introduction of the research. This includes the summary of the research, objectives, scope, significance, methodologies and timeline.
Chapter 2 – British Airway’s Recruitment and Selection process. This is composed of the ways by which an applicant is screened through interviews and examinations until he or she is selected to be a part of the company.
Chapter 3 – Data Collection Methodology. This involves the methods and strategies used to gather data.
Chapter 4 – Discussion of Results. Most of what can be seen here are the analysis of the results generated from the software used.
Chapter 5 – Conclusion. This part aims to summarize the findings of the research by presenting relevant justifications based on the results.
Chapter 6 – Recommendations. Proposals will be made as to how the research is beneficial to the airline industry and this includes possible improvements that can be presented to BA.

III. Scope and Limitations of the Research
The research will focus on the recruitment and selection process of BA specifically within their head office at UK. Other branches will not be included due to the availability of the researchers and the accessibility of the areas. In addition, it will be limited only to the employees within the vicinity of the building as well as the people who have recently availed of the services provided by BA. This helps maximize the time and resources needed for the completion of the research.

IV. Literature Review
This research aims to focus on the recruitment and selection process of its chosen company with the help of peer reviewed articles coming from the available literature that is related to the subject. This aligns the study to different researches that have already been done and by doing so, determines the contribution of the current research to the existing body of knowledge whether it adds or fills some existing gaps therein.
The Human Resource Department continues to play a vital role in most organizations today. Campbell (2012) investigates the models of selection, recruitment, and appraisal of employees and he gives an insight into the factors that have a potential effect to those who work for the short-term and long-term duration in the company. On their part, Neely & Al Najjar (2006) emphasized the importance of using a holistic approach in recruitment because it is through this that the quality of the employees that the company absorbs is likely to be at par with the company’s vision. Another research from John (2009) investigates the methods of choice for employee selection in large service companies such as the British Airways and he gives an in-depth analysis of the methods used such as peer assessment, interviews, group selections, work sampling, and others. The same concept can be seen from Lohmann & Lohmann (2007) as they that argue that it is advisable to use a formally structured method of recruitment for the purpose of uniformity in selection in order to remove potential bias. Dale (2003) depicts the recruitment process as seen on Figure 1.

Figure 1 Recruitment Process

Past researches on BA rebranding which is done by Campbell (2012) evaluates some of the methods and processes that are relevant in the new age airline wherein he found out that BA’s five key departments’ general performances are intertwined. In view of this, Stuart (2007) states that there is a need to have a proper selection of employees that will test a person’s personality and integrity. Hongwei (2014) also examines the effectiveness of some methods that airlines employ in their recruitment processes in which he argues that some of the methods employed by BA do not have much impact. This is aligned with the findings of Kaufman (2008) which proved that there is an upsurge of competition in the airlines across the world which is why proper selection of world class employees is a factor that must be considered paramount. Finally, Briand & Kelvin (2008) investigated BA’s general management structure to understand their concept of resource allocation in which they discovered that the Human Resources Department of BA borrows most of its operational criteria from the general management.

V. Objectives of the Research
The goals of the research are outlined below:
1. To determine the recruitment and selection process of BA.
2. To identify the challenges that are frequently encountered by BA.
3. To investigate the effectiveness of each process and highlight the steps that are normally taken to ensure that the applicants are fit for the role.
4. To evaluate and appraise each process and method used while comparing it with the airline industry standards and best practices.
5. To undertake a SWOT analysis of BA’s selection process.
6. To gauge the perceptions of the general public about BA’s employee selection process and identify points for improvement based on their comments and suggestions.

VI. Research Outcomes
This research is expected to provide tangible evidence on the effectiveness of BA’s employee selection processes. This is because quality processes are a reflection of the general performances of the organization (Stuart 2007). Secondly, the paper will go into an in-depth understanding and provide a full report on the actual processes of recruitment as they happen together with the people who implement them. This is expected to reveal the strengths and/or flaws including the challenges that they encounter during their daily business operations. Thirdly, the research hopes to establish the level of satisfaction of the general public regarding the selection process of applicants who wish to join the company. To this end, it is expected that there will be sufficient feedback to serve as a basis for making a general review of the entire strategic composition of the recruitment and selection processes of the company. This will serve as the basis for the recommendations and potential improvements that will be presented to BA by the end of this study.
VII. Significance of the Research
This research is significant for several reasons. To start off, it is one of the most relevant topic of this course because it offers an opportunity to explore one of the most important issues in human resources management. Management of staff is important especially with the increasing number of workforce in different parts of the world. Staff recruitment gives an initial impression of what the company is about and how it strives to give value to their current and potential employees. It is only through an effective and efficient selection method that companies can ensure that they are selecting and recruiting the right kind of people for the job (Vinel 2013).
Secondly, this topic investigates one of the world’s most famous airlines. BA is a very large company and it is also one of the world’s most acclaimed airlines (Neely & Al Najjar 2006). Since the airline industry owes its success to the critical services they provide, analyzing one of the major players in the industry is both interesting and important (John 2009),
Furthermore, BA is in many ways the model airline in the industry (Neely & Al Najjar 2006). Whatever is done by BA is worth embracing or emulated by other airlines both within the UK and throughout the world. Therefore, an investigation of the recruitment and selection process at BA is sure to offer insights into the challenges that other airlines in the world might be facing.
Lastly, this topic aims to delve deep into one of the very intricate human resources management issues – recruitment. Issues of human resources are among the most important aspects for organizations who are engaged in providing services particularly to their customers (Kaufman 2008). Unlike other companies such as those who manufacture products, organizations who offer services are almost entirely dependent on the quality of service that they give which in turn depends a lot on human resources (Kaufman 2008). Therefore, this research will shed light on how BA, a large service organization deals with human resources issues in general, with selection and recruitment in particular.
Finally, this research helps to understand the relationship between recruitment and selection process together with employee turnover. In the contemporary world, high employee turnover is becoming a major challenge faced by many organizations (Kaufman 2008). It is proven to be quite hard – even impossible – for organizations to retain their employees for long periods of time and most of it can be attributed to the rapid growth of globalization (John 2009). Given this fact, the proposed solution for organizations is to keep recruiting new staff who can take the positions left vacant by the departing ones. To this end, understanding how BA handles its recruitment process makes this research interesting and significant.

VIII. Research Questions
The review of literature which was presented earlier showed that there is a need to create a robust method in the recruitment and selection of employees. This can be done with the help of the proper tests and resources that can make an almost accurate evaluation of the applicant being considered for the job. After knowing the emerging issues that are currently happening as presented in the literature review, this research seeks to answer the questions were generated to serve as a guide in finding meaningful conclusions to this study.
1. What are the current practices, including the methods, strategies, and approaches that are followed by BA during their selection and recruitment process?
2. What are the challenges encountered during the selection and recruitment process and how does BA avoid them from recurring?
3. How efficient and/or effective is BA’s selection and recruitment process especially when compared to international best practices?
4. In what ways, if any, does BA’s general management structure affect the whole process of selection of new staff?
5. To what extent is the public satisfied with the selection and recruitment process used by BA?
6. How can BA enhance its selection and recruitment process?

IX. Research Methodology
The correct type of research method is one of the most important aspect of any study because these are critical in helping meet the desired objectives of the research (Yin 2009). The design method used focuses on the qualitative data which will be collected through interviews and questionnaires. These will be formulated to help answer queries and other relevant details needed for this research (Lancaster 2005). The reason why the data for this research is focused on qualitative and not quantitative is because this research aims to explore issues related to human behavior and experiences (Lancaster 2005). More specifically, the research will be answering the why, how, and what questions pertaining to the issue under investigation which is only possible with the use of qualitative research (Lancaster 2005). Furthermore, qualitative research design will be appropriate because the researchers are solely concerned about exploring the reason behind the recruitment and selection process found at BA. Unlike quantitative research methods that are concerned with numerical aspects, qualitative research that is employed here will be about getting an in-depth understanding of human behavior and the reasons that govern such behavior (Lancaster 2005).
X. Case Study Research
This research will employ the use of a case study research of BA which means that there will be a detailed investigation of a selected aspect of BA: the effectiveness of its employee selection process. The investigation will be conducted within the company’s real life context as per the requirements of all case study researches (Yin 2009). The reason why this strategy is chosen is because it can ensure that all the attention is focused on a single case. Case studies are also advantageous because they allow for the collection of large amounts of data in a single case and these will be used in coming up with relevant analysis to meet the desired objectives of the research (Yin 2009).
BA is chosen as the case under investigation due to the following reasons. The first of it is BA’s reputation for being the flag carrier of United Kingdom (British Airways 2014). As such, it represents the image of UK and the way it undertakes its operations – including selection and recruitment of its staff – has a great bearing on the image of the whole country. Any flaws in the selection process may have a significant impact on the image of the entire airline industry. Secondly, it is considered as the world’s largest airline not just on the basis of its fleet size but also in the number of its international flights and destinations (Jarvis 2014). It then follows that this airline has to be one that has the largest number of personnel. This is because handling a large passenger traffic requires many human resources. With this assumption, it is best to analyze the company’s capability to handle human resources in general, and its selection and recruitment process in particular.
Finally, BA is one of the leading brands in the airline industry (Jarvis 2014). BA’s almost unequalled success in the hospitality industry has made it to be commonly known as the world’s most favorite airline and even its slogan “To Fly. To Serve” attests to this (Jarvis 2014). With its prestigious position in the market, a lot is expected from this company especially in terms of the superior services it can provide. Whatever is done at BA – and how it is done – is a likely to be emulated by other airlines in different parts of the world. Therefore, ensuring that BA does its selection and recruitment right is very important not just for the airline but for the whole airline industry as well.

XI. Data Collection
The data collection process is very critical to any research because this determines whether or not the research’s objectives are met. Therefore, it is important that the choice of methods for collecting data must be done on the basis of the nature and type of data that has to be collected (Lancaster 2005). As what has been already noted, this research will be concerned about collecting qualitative data on the selection process at BA. Therefore, the methods of collecting the proposed data have to be those that maximize the collection of qualitative information. This is why the research proposes to use both primary and secondary methods of collecting data.
• Primary data: This will gathered through direct and indirect interviews with selected people to determine their views and opinions as to how the selection process at BA is conducted. According to Alam (2005), essential data can be acquired from other people through interviews that include a detailed discussion between the researchers and their subjects. Questions that have been well thought of and prepared beforehand will be asked to the interviewees and their feedback will be recorded. These questions will be derived from the research’s main research questions which were listed earlier in this report. The interviewees in the research will include BA staff and members of the public. The former will be interviewed directly at the company premises while the latter will be interviewed through BA’s online customer care service.
• Secondary data: This will be obtained from desk research. This will basically be a search of secondary documents. Desk research will entail searching different secondary documents from different sources and using the information therein as data for the proposed research. The main sources of the secondary data will be journal articles, media and company (BA) publications, textbooks, and company websites. Other archived records of BA will also prove important sources of secondary data for the research. This includes job descriptions, compensation and benefits offered as well as turnover rate of the company for the current year.

The use of a combination of primary and secondary methods of collecting data is done to make use of triangulation where multiple research methods are utilized (Lancaster 2005). In this case, triangulation will be important as it will help enhance the credibility and reliability of the research’s findings (Yin 2009). This is because any flaws in one method of collecting data will be overcome by the use of the second method. This ensures that the data collected is true and objective (Guest 2012).

XII. Data Analysis
The collected data will be analyzed using thematic analysis. This will entail identifying relevant themes from the feedback given (Guest 2012). Then descriptive statistics and simple cross tabulations will be used to further organize the data into themes. Descriptive statistics and simple cross tabulations will be used because they are both simple to use and are ideal for analyzing unstructured data of the kind that will be collected in the proposed research. The two methods are also known to be very efficient in the analysis of lots of data especially with limited resources (Guest 2012). Furthermore, respondents will be grouped in different categories such as age, gender, years of experience, and other essential information that are relevant to the study. Each of these will be presented using graphs that can show if there is a significant trend or not. The employees’ satisfaction rating is also critical in identifying if they are happy to be a part of the BA team.

XIII. Research Timeline
The following Gantt chart shows how the proposed research will proceed in terms of timeline:
Planning of Research Research Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Finalization of Research topic 
Identifying Scope and Limitations of the research 
Formulation of Research Questions 
Design of Research approach and strategy 
Creation of Gantt chart 
Collection of Data 
Analysis of the Data Gathered 
Review and Reading of Related Literature 
Writing the final report 

XIV. References

Alam, I., 2005, Fieldwork and Data Collection in Qualitative Marketing Research. Qualitative Marketing Research: An International Journal, 8(1), pp. 97-112.
Briand, S., and Kelvin, A., 2008. Assessment of the regulatory reform in the European airlines. International Journal of Transport Economics, 25(1), pp. 3-17.
British Airways, 2014. Applying for a role in British Airways. [online] Available at: http://www.britishairways.com/careers/applicationprocess.shtml [Accessed 1 December 2014].
Campbell, D., 2012. Employee selection as a control system. Journal of Accounting Research, 50(4), pp. 931-966
Dale, M., 2003. Manager’s guide to recruitment and selection. Kogan-Page: Sterling.
Guest, G., 2012. Applied thematic analysis. Thousand Oaks, California.
Hongwei, H., 2014. Procedural justice and employee engagement: roles of organizational identification and moral identity centrality. Journal of Business Ethics, 122(4), pp. 681-695
Jarvis, P., 2014. British Airways. Amberley Publishing Limited.
John, M., 2009. Aligning identity and strategy: corporate branding at British Airways in the late 20th century. California Management Review, 51(3), pp. 6-23.
Kaufman, E., 2008. Managing the human factor. New York: Cornell University Press.
Lancaster, G., 2005. Research Methods in Management: A concise introduction to research in management and business consultancy. 1st ed. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Lohmann, R., and Lohmann, N., 2007. Social Administration. Washington DC: Columbia University Press.
Neely, A., and Al Najjar, A., 2006. Management learning not management control: the true role of performance measurement? California Management Review, 48 (3), pp. 101-114.
Stuart, H., 2007. Employee identification with the corporate identity. International Studies of Management & Organization, 32(3), pp. 28-44:
Skytrax. 2014. The World’s Top Airlines. [online] Available at: <http://www.worldairlineawards.com/Awards_2014/Airline2014_top20.htm> [Accessed 30 December 2014].
Vinel, J., 2013. The Employee. Harrisburg, PE: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Yin, R., 2009. Case study research: Design and Methods. SAGE Publications. California, 2009.

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