Ø Although the ability to work efficiently (technical competence) is appreciated by employers, the ability to work & relate well with others at work (interpersonal competence) is of paramount importance
Ø For this reason, Gardener (1993) argued that organizations hire employees for their technical skills but fire them for problems related to their interpersonal skills.
Ø A supportive Research by Natasha (2010) implies that when employees understand each other, the likelihood that they work together as well as appreciate one another is high, and they are more likely to appreciate the corporate practice and culture in equal measure (Klemp and Mclelland, 1986).
Problem and purpose
Ø Increasing rates of employee firing sound a warning in relation to employee skills and employer expectations.
Ø While employees wish to offer their best techniques to achieve goals, employers want best work relationships that lead to productivity.
Ø Employees and employers however need to know each other and engage into constant and healthy relationships to be able to work as a team to achieve organizational goals.
Ø This research studied interpersonal skills at the work place, the interplay between interpersonal & technical skills dynamics and the ability for employees to work together to sustain employment.
Main Research question
- What is the role of interpersonal skills and technical skills in work relationships in working environments in relation to employment?
- How do interpersonal and technical skills appropriate for the work environment relate with each other?
- What is the rationale for similarities and differences among people in a work context, why do these similarities and differences occur?
Ø The study relied on social dynamics theory coined by Latane Bibb and modified by Latane and Nida (1979)
Ø It describes behaviors exhibited in groups when people interact (Christakis & Fowler, 2013)
Ø Theory assumes that individuals are influenced by the behavior of others in group situations.
Ø It emphasizes and establishes that feedback is vital in group and organizational systems
Ø The theory notes that the degree of impact in social influence is higher with: many group participants, short distance amongst members, authoritative source
Reason for the theory
- Theory distinguishes soft and hard skills learning and sharing in the context of people management
- Theory explains the behaviour of employees in group contexts and guides the management in selecting employees based on their skills competence while working in teams better than other theories.
Tenets and history
- Coined by Latane Bibb, modified by Latane and Nida (1979) to the social impact theory and later by Bibb Latane and Sharon Wolf in the 1981 article, the social impact of majorities and minorities.
- Theory was meant to exploit Responsibility Diffusion, Social Lofting, Stage Fright Processes, and Persuasive Communication
- The group dynamics theory believes that individuals are influenced in thoughts, feelings, and behavior from imagined, real or implied presence or actions of other people.
It emphasizes that changes take place with time from group effects but assumes individuals are bound by rationality while acting on local information
- Philosophy Focus: Positivist Research philosophy using deductive approach to collect Numerical data and for theory testing
- Descriptive survey design adopted Case study strategy – Various banks in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
- Sampling for case studies was purposive based on location and accessibility
- Primary data collected using a descriptive survey using questionnaires for employee and employers
- Quantitative data on employee numbers, frequency of hiring and firing collected
- Analysis through SPSS for graphs, tables and percentages (quantitative)
Type of employees Saudi employers recruit
the factor rated highest as they type of employees looked by the Saudi Arabian firms had a mean coefficient of 3.95 i.e. technical employees followed by strategic and policy executive employees with a mean of 3.43 and then administrative and supervisory employees with a mean of 3.19 at least on the positive side
Reasons Saudi employers recruit
All of the variables had ratings above ‘3’ indicating that all the variables are part of the reasons why the organizations recruitment new employees. However, many banks that were surveyed recruited new employees to replace retrenched, retired, fired and resigned employees as rated by the highest mean coefficient of 4.76. The second reason was to expand market penetration rates and seek strategic support as rating with the second highest mean coefficient of 4.52 then to increase group and team capabilities when handling tasks based on a very high mean coefficient rating of 4.00.
Type of Skills considered important in hiring and firing
Employers indicated that priority for the retention of employees was on ability to demonstrate both technical and interpersonal skills as rated with a mean coefficient of 4.43 (highest rating). However, because the firms appreciate the value of interpersonal skills, respondents noted that their firms always offered job trainings upon recruitment for customized interpersonal skills rated with a high mean rating of 4.38. The rating was also very high to demonstrate that indeed, Saudi Arabian firms conducted offer job trainings upon recruitment for customized technical skills competence. This was rated with 4.33 mean coefficients. The ratings for the latter two variables indicate that it is not a must that employees should have full technical or interpersonal skills at the time of recruitment because they may be trained for that purpose once they are absorbed in the organization.
Basis for hiring and firing
There are higher chances that people will be employed when they have the best technical skills in Saudi Arabia (mean was computed as 4.061) than when they have good interpersonal skills (3.814) only. However, when it comes to firing, employees are generally required to retain high competence in interpersonal and technical skills because lack of any of these skills would lead to termination of employment. However, employees with good interpersonal skills competence are more likely to keep their employment (57% more likely to keep employment) compared to those without.
- All companies considered Technical and interpersonal skills in employing
- Few companies fired employed for poor technical skills while majority fired for poor soft skills
- Companies mainly hire by highly considering soft skills competence but presence of both technical and interpersonal skills help to keep employment
- Based on the research, People who are likely to keep their jobs for long have strong interpersonal skills. However, the personality and qualifications of employees have a significant relationship with the degree of the consideration (hiring).
- The study sums up that consideration of recruitment skills as well as termination related attributes are highly dependent on the type of industry and cannot be used collectively across all sectors.
- Other than companies simply looking for employees with good interpersonal skills, they should also take the challenge of training their employees to acquire the admirable technical and soft skills
- Companies should develop a positive corporate culture that embraces teamwork, free communication and reduced bureaucracy so that interpersonal skills can naturally be transferred from one person to another
It very difficult to ascertain that the consideration of interpersonal skills for keeping employment and technical skills for getting employed cuts across industries. Each industry may have its own preferences.
Suggestion for further research
A quantitative survey through a primary study would help to solve this problem so that research validity and reliability can be assured. Further research is suggested to compare different sectors (industries)