Principles and Latitudes of Employment

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Definition of Terms

In order to clarify key terms applied in this thesis, asylum seeker stands for a person seeking protection in a foreign state under the asylum procedure (The Finnish Immigration Service, 2016a). Refugee, on the other hand is defined as a foreign national who is persecuted for reasons of ethnic origin, religion, nationality or membership in particular social groups or political opinions (Ibid). Refugee status is granted to a person who has received an asylum (Ibid). Reception Centre is a faculty of accommodation where asylum seekers apply for international protection and beneficiaries of temporary protection (Ibid).
Skilled refugees can be distinguished by two concepts of novice and expert. According to Dreyfus and Dreyfus (2005), novice is given tasks in a context-free environment to practice features of the desired skills, whereas an expert is a proficient performer with the knowledge of procedures and execution. Länsisalmi et al. (2004) agree with previous statements where competence is seen as a result of the acquired knowledge and experience. Being skilful is widely interpreted as a perception of one’s professional skills, which tend to develop over time. Lastly, Dreyfus and Dreyfus (2005) add that intuition is a fundamental aspect of expertise.

German Study

It is important to take into consideration that recently a similar study has been conducted in Germany by Battisti et al. (2015) from Ifo Institute, University of Munich. Battisti et al. (2015) carried out their research as a survey, in which 3148 companies from various industries participated. Battisti et al. (2015) pursued to answer two themes: in which forms can companies introduce employment activities for refugees and how do the companies assess the importance of certain hindrances of placing refugees at work. Thus, the interest was raised to examine the matter in Finland. One of the co-writers of Battisti et al. (2015), Professor Poutvaara suggested some topics for this thesis to explore.
According to the German study and further enquiry from the Poutvaara (2016), the challenge for refugees is to meet the language and educational standards. Although similar research has not yet been completed in Finland, it can be assumed, that meeting Finnish educational levels will turn out as a challenge for refugees. Due to the fact that Statistics Finland (2015) presents the Finnish population to be highly educated, as a majority (70%) of the population aged 15 or over had completed a post-comprehensive level qualification (Statistics Finland, 2015).

Relevant Factors


The refugee crisis raises both positive and negative opinions among society towards refugees. However, diverse views and perspectives are key to communication between different stakeholder groups to facilitate information flow, experience and knowledge in order to make good decisions (Altinay & Okumus, 2010) in general. For companies, the challenge is to ensure employee’s skills and know-how to be matched in accordance with utilization for ensuring innovation (Länsisalmi et al., 2004). Particularly, some scholars (O’Mahoney 2010, p. 237; Werr & Stjernberg, 2003) argue knowledge-intensiveness to be often considered as the core capability of companies’ competence and resource. In order to choose a suitable candidate, strategic planning is required (Marescaux et al., 2013) to evaluate candidate’s characteristics, personality, values and qualifications (Pickens 2005, p. 67-68; Schlenker & Weigold, 1992). With attention to match the candidate and the company culture (Pickens 2005, p. 67).
Viitala (2007, p. 308) mentions multicultural workplaces to be more innovative based on diverse knowledge and skills of employees. In contrast, Länsisalmi et al. (2004) argue the general barrier of innovation to be the attitudinal obstacle presented as resistance to change. However, trust is argued to be a crucial factor in communication. Lack of trust can be argued to be a reason for being insecurity (Sharma et al., 2012). Simultaneously, Sieger et al. (2013) point out the so called problems which arise from incongruent interests of the employer and worker, where individual tendency is opportunistic, self-interested, risk averse and limited by bounded rationality. Such misalignments of interests or lack of trust lead to goal conflicts and simultaneously the worker’s behaviour deviates from the employer’s desires (Sieger et al., 2013). Globalization has enabled rapid communication flow, however, Viitala (2007, p. 309) claims prejudice towards multiculturalism to remain unaltered in Finland. In summary, the right alignment of knowledge and skills affect the company’s core capabilities. Multiculturalism and diversity in the workplace can boost innovativeness, thus there needs to be fluent communication and trust among the colleagues.


Representative heuristics may represent one of the factors companies in Finland consider when employing skilled refugees and it may be influential in encoding messages. The representative heuristics becomes visual when people look for traits in individuals that correspond with previously formed stereotypes (i.e. the mass flow of asylum seekers to Finland). Stereotyping may provide overly generalized views of individuals or groups exerting from covert and strong influence in human behaviour (Pickens 2005, p. 62). More specifically, the recruiter should avoid generalizations based on groups and instead focus on individuals. Bazerman and Moore (2012, p. 8) note representative heuristics to offer a good first impression, drawing decision-makers attention to favourable options. Representative heuristics may lead to serious errors. Having various perspectives to weight options is necessary, instead of blindly assuming a situation to be as first considered (Harrison & March, 1984; March, 1991). On the other hand, representative heuristics work also on an unconscious level, causing for example race discrimination or other behavioural engagement otherwise considered morally reprehensible on a conscious level (Bazerman & Moore 2012, p. 9).
Basing choice of recruitment on subjective impressions is likely. Factors motivating the decision-makers’ perceptions are self-glorification (self-esteem maintenance & enhancement), self-consistency (validating the self by confirming self-beliefs) and self-authentication (learning the truth of individual by pursuing diagnostic information) according to Schlenker and Weigold (1992). In other words, first impressions of the candidates (skilled refugees) outline an image, which may influence the actual decision-making of whether the candidate is suitable for the vacancy at hand. Naturally, job seekers aim to construct a positive self-impression of themselves by controlling the information recruiters receive by means of impression management. Both deliberately and unconsciously, this actively used phenomenon bolsters or protects the self-image, which can either give a truthful image or exaggerate applicants’ competence (Ibid).


Affective organizational commitment can be initiated by the treatment of companies’ employees or by the emotional result of judging a more favourable outcome from an employees’ perspective (Marescaux et al., 2013). Integration of values often correlates with salient beliefs (Bassili & Brown 2005, p. 547-548), where individuals strive to decrease the cognitive dissonance by eliminating the inconsistency that causes discomfort between their beliefs and the actual behaviour (Pickens 2005, p. 45).
Managers can underemphasise the importance for entry-level candidates concerning certain traits or competencies (Lange & Houran, 2009). When considering skilled refugees applying for vacancies in Finland, equality as a central value should be emphasised instead of endorsing one’s beliefs. Therefore, employees’ skills should be utilized to its’ full potential to avoid brain waste (Mattoo et al., 2008). This means that employees have more skills than required in the position applied, however they do not get to utilize them. In general, equality has various societal levels of interpretations, which discuss the equality of basic liberties and opportunities. Consequently, Morand and Merriman (2012) believe that “all people are created equal”, which is a central tenet within the Western culture. On the other hand, Bandura (2002) believes humans to have selected learnability and plasticity for adaptive behaviour.
According to Pickens (2005, p. 47) cognitive dissonance theory brings various practical managerial implications to motivate employees and the theoretical basis originates from the equity theories of motivation. Managers’ ethical value orientations, consequentialism and moral awareness in certain situations influence the manner in which the manager will handle the situation (Verbos & Miller, 2015). Individual differences can explain various approaches how situations are perceived and thus the manner in which individuals behave (Bassili & Brown 2005, p. 544-545; Pickens 2005, p. 44). When making moral decisions, the significance of timing is necessary in exploring the role of emotions (Verbos & Miller, 2015). Wistrich et al. (2015) verify that even judges battle between emotional and rational judgements. Meaning that even the smallest thought may trigger emotional responses, which effects decision-making.
All in all, emotional judgement based believes shape the manner in which individuals perceive employment of refugees. However, in regard to the hiring process of skilled refugees, all candidates are equal on societal levels, basic liberties, capabilities and equality of resources. Nevertheless, Verbos and Miller (2015) allude organizational culture to influence manager’s behaviour in accordance to the organization’s interests. In light of refugee crisis, it can be argued whether anyone can truly make rational decisions. Particularly, organizations’ values shape and may influence attitude formation to conform to refugees’ manifestation in Finland.

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Social Pressure

The worlds’ events today influence the issue of distributive justice and the manner in which organizations might implement lawfulness (Morand & Merriman, 2012). The current migration flow affects society and companies to adapt to changes. In general, companies’ need to be highly visible with their values, processes, strategies and operations in order for employees to collaborate and work effectively (Tapscott & Ticoll 2012, Chapter 4). Society creates progressively growing pressure towards more sustainable actions, which may affect the recruitment process. Businesses recognize more commonly the need for being responsible to engage in environment and social costs of doing business (Morand & Merriman, 2012).
Due to the lack of research conducted on the employment of skilled refugees, this thesis makes references to immigration. In general, immigrants tend to be disadvantaged in the labour market due to socio-economic differences between poorer and more developed economies (OECD, 2016). Heikkilä (2012) implies immigrants to be often recruited for lower paid occupations. Hence, Dustmann and Preston (2007) argue the economic consequences of immigration to be frequently adjusted according to the changes in economic situations. Immigration can stimulate both local consumption and local demand for labour (IMF, 2016). Balancing the supply and demand caused by the increase in population. Overall, transparency is not only a necessity as an external force, but an essential factor for the company’s success.
In brief, the literature on immigration suggests refugees’ employment possibilities to be disadvantaged, even though the demand for labour and local consumption increases.
Businesses have consequently recognized the need for more transparency in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

System One and Two Thinking

The relevant factors mentioned above are continuously manipulated by the dual-process theory subsystems: system one and two thinking (Bazerman & Moore, 2012; Kahneman, 2003; Wistrich et al., 2015). In accordance with cognitive functioning, the majority of decisions in life are made intuitively by system one thinking, which is automatic, effortless and emotional. Decision-making in system one thinking is often rapid, as emotions can cause immediate ‘snap’ judgements (Bazerman & Moore 2012, p. 10; Wistrich et al., 2015). Conversely, system two thinking is a slower process as decisions are made more logically and its logic should influence the most important decisions (Bazerman & Moore 2012, p. 3). In other words, system one generates ideas which are based on intuition of impressions, whereas judgements are always explicit and intentional (Kahneman, 2003). Hence, all judgements are categorized under system two, the only case when judgements can be related to system one thinking is in accordance to Kahneman (2003), when judgements are directly reflected to impressions.
All in all, system one and two thinking influence first of all the attitude formation of skilled refugees in regard to the above mentioned factors. Secondly, system one and two thinking may raise questions even after the choice has been made, which demonstrates the complexity of intuitive versus rationality of decisions especially in case of employing skilled refugees. Recruiting decisions are generally based on logical reasoning, yet emotional judgements may take lead to prejudice or ‘snap’ judgements not allowing skilled refugees to continue further in the hiring process.

Attitudes Towards Employment

Attitude formation is considered in this thesis to build up on the previously mentioned factors of stimulus, impressions, values and social pressure. Sherif and Sherif (1967, chapter 7) discuss attitude formation, as people tend to form judgements according to the content of messages, which are based on their individual anchors or categories (Sherif et al. 1965, Chapter 4). With this in mind, the term refugee is often immediately categorized and prejudice may be formed. According to Sherif and Sherif (1967, p. 119) ego-involvement affects the formation of attitudes. This is due to the fact that individuals have commitments and stands that they get aroused by (Sherif et al. 1965, p. 65) like employing refugees. In addition, Pickens (2005, p. 45) proclaims that there is a constant transaction between a person’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours towards the physical environment as well as the social surroundings.

Table of contents :

1. Introduction
1.1 Short Background Overview
1.2. Research Question
1.3 Problem Statement
1.4 Research Purpose
2. Theory
2.1 Definition of Terms
2.2 German Study
2.3 Relevant Factors
2.3.1 Stimulus
2.3.2 Impressions
2.3.3 Values
2.3.4 Social Pressure
2.4 System One and Two Thinking
2.5 Attitudes Towards Employment
2.5.1 Principles and Latitudes of Employment
2.6 Summary of Theory
3. Methodology
3.1 Research Design
3.1.1 Sampling
3.1.2 Operationalization
3.2 Data Collection Methods
3.2.1 Primary Data Field Study Pilot Studies Expert Interviews Company Interviews
3.2.2 Secondary Data
3.3 Data Analysis Method
3.4 Reliability and Validity
3.5 Limitations
4. Results
4.1 Field Study
4.2. Relevant Factors
4.2.1 Stimulus
4.2.2 Impressions
4.2.3 Values
4.2.4 Social Pressure
4.3 System One and System Two Thinking
4.4 Attitudes Towards Employment
4.4.1 Principles and Latitudes of Employment
5. Analysis
5.1. Discussion of Terms Applied
5.2 Field Study
5.3 Relevant Factors
5.3.1 Stimulus
5.3.2 Impressions
5.3.3 Values
5.3.4 Social Pressure
5.4 System One and Two Thinking
5.5 Attitudes Towards Employment
5.5.1 Principles and Latitudes of Employment
5.6 Summary of Analysis
6. Conclusion
6.1 Managerial Implications and Future Research
6.2 Limitations


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