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The Shell Oil company

The objectives of this report are to persuade the executives of the Shell Oil company that their method of recruitment; currently being a structured application form, a cognitive ability test and an interview process to hire graduates as managers could be further developed by also using the Gourami exercise. ‘The Gourami exercise being a challenge where students are faced with ethical dilemmas, political sensitivities and engineering problems designed to give them and insight to Shell’s corporate culture and the groups business principle.

‘ (Arnold p198) From a psychologists perspective using this exercise would enhance the selection process by effectively identifying more competent, enthusiastic and committed graduates. Also not only will the hired graduates be the best performers they are also more likely to fit better with the organisational culture and remain with the company for longer. Methodology The Gourami business challenge involves the gathering of 40 final year students studying from a range of disciplines. The graduates are given five days to prepare a strategic business plan for an imaginary operation at Shell.

The students are divided into teams each being responsible for a specific project. Each team has to convince Shell managers playing the role of shareholders to put up money

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to fund their schemes.


This selection process identifies graduates who are most eager to learn and exceed, graduates also have a high commitment level and are motivated to find work after university. Having just left university the graduates also have up to date knowledge. Putting the candidates under intense pressure and in the stressful environment during this exercise allows an opportunity to see if they can remain calm and work as a team.

The high validity of the Gourami challenge is mainly due to the fact that applicants do respond well in job simulation exercises. The Gourami exercise may incur high costs although the effective process does identify the best graduates which in return would generate profit in the long run. Results The Gourami business challenge has been developed over the past 10 years and has proven to be an extremely successful course providing Shell with a constant stream of talented individuals.

A former vice president of Shell says: ‘It is a very tough challenge that really puts students in tough with the reality of how a company makes things happen. ‘ (Arnold p197). The challenge allows the executives to build a relationship with the graduates enabling a further insight into their character. Conclusion Situational selection processes such as the Gourami exercise based on goal-setting theory presents the graduates with a hypothetical job-related situation where the executives would gain insight to the applicants experience and knowledge resulting easier selection of the best graduates. Read Royal Dutch Shell PESTLE analysis

Many graduates have expectations about how an organisational will treat them, the Gourami challenge presents an opportunity to clarify this. I think this additional challenge to Shell’s recruitment process is essential from a psychologists perspective, putting the graduates in an organisational culture identifies the graduates who best fit to the job specification and the best performers are recognized.

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