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Theory of Social Constructionism: Personnel Selection Essay

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Updated: Sep 15th, 2021


There has been a tendency to hire people who are more just like us. Thus the choice of people whole is more like us is worth considering when hiring people both on its benefits as well as its disadvantages.

From the concepts of the social construction of reality, groups or persons interacting together form mental representations or concepts from the actions of each other. These concepts later on become habituated and played back in reciprocal roles by each other. The reciprocal role is said to be institutionalized when new society members gain access to these roles and play them out. The result of this institutionalism is that meaning is embedded within the society and belief otherwise termed as people’s conception and knowledge becomes embedded within the society.

Thus social reality can be said to have been socially constructed.


Some people have argued out that when we are confronted with an issue our reply is never wholly ours. It is dependent on what others do and in particular what they may say, suggest or direct us to do (Berger, P. L., and Luckmann, T.1966). This can be summarized as;

  1. The outcome of an interaction is both unpredictable and unintended. The outcome is neither due to either of the parties involved but due to “us”. Thus it turns out to be a community outcome and not an individual outcome. Thus although different individuals have got what they desire on their own, what results from an exchange is a different outcome.
  2. Thus joint interactions produce a “we” situation that people find themselves in, hence resulting in the creation of ‘our world’ between the interacting people.
  3. Thus in creating ‘our world’ people also end up creating the ‘persons’ they are which would thus be translated to mean ‘like us’.
  4. ‘Structure’ and ‘organization’ of this ‘world’ reality cannot thus be traced to any particular individual as nature is externally caused.
  5. ‘Our world’ seems to have a meaning or to be ‘pointing towards something’ as it is always has a relation to something beyond its self. Thus it always acts as if though it has some kind of intelligence directed towards a certain product or a mentality with a certain intention.
  6. But although people feel that they like a given world, they always perceive it as open to their further action.
  7. The “world’ does always seem to motivate or invite other possibilities. Thus failure to meet its expectations results in a feeling of guilt something that hurts the ‘being’ of the space. This could be termed ethically wrong. This created ‘world’ thus makes some kind of rulings on what shouldn’t or should be done (Berger., P.L and Luckmann., T.1967).

Social construction doesn’t come without skeptics. In the analysis of social problems, the theory of social construction is fundamental. But some authors hold on to different opinions, on what they call a notion of from social construction to social constructionism. (Charles., A. W. 1992). They emphasize the importance and role of language.

Since people want a meaningful outcome from their actions, intention and understanding always precede the action thus the very important role of language in determining the eventual outcome. People’s actions convey a message to the rest of the society and it’s how they label or name things around them that determines how they are going to act towards them. Thus the label or the name does carry some expectations.

Thus social constructionism starts from a simple point of naming things. It has been treated as a means by which people would create order from potential chaos. For those who advocated for it, life was simplified by having established mutual expectations. The skeptics argue against this by considering it to be just an energy-saving form of life by creating such expectations as, how fathers, mothers, white, blacks are.

As these assumptions became habituated habits with little attention or thought, people became naturalized to the features of the world and forgot that they were indeed constructions. The result was expected as they reproduced these assumptions in what they did. Thus the social order becomes reproduced in a manner in which these social constructions are enacted. Due to the set of expectations, individuals always have to operate within a limited choice of the different subject positions within the social order (Wilson, D. S. 2005).

Thus when dealing with people, there isn’t one way that can be considered correct given a particular situation. Managers hence need to be aware and understand the social construction of reality. Thus reality perceptions are an important area for managers when they want to evaluate a client’s results and behavior. This because some perceptions could be real and others hopeless.

Since people talk and conversations are considered to make things real to them, what people seeking employment or those within employment talk about should be of utmost importance. If a clients’ talk translates to a different reality of the company then even the action, as well as intention, will all be different from the employee (Wilson, D. S. 2005).

Thus the idea of hiring people like should not be overlooked. From the theory of social constructionism, people with the right skills could be interpreted to mean people who are going to fit into our ‘word’. If the person being hired has got a different perception of reality then he ceases to be like us and he/she will bring a different world altogether.

Results are of utmost importance to a company, and they are all directly related to the world created or rejected by the employees. If a new employee fits in within the company, the company’s goal fits in the employees’ world and the person is motivated to work for the common goal of the company. The opposite would also be expected to be true (Richard Reeves., 2007).

Interactions have increased as people deal more with each other and thus personal qualities such as honesty, ambition, trustworthiness, strong work ethics, high standards, energy, and sociability cannot be overemphasized. The right person in this context can thus be translated to mean those people who uphold the qualities that enhance social interaction. People who possess qualities of individualism would thus be considered unworthy for positions that require a lot of personal interaction.

Would a formal job application bring these issues to light? From the theory of social constructionism, it could be argued yes it’s possible and also not possible. It would be termed possible if the social construction order of the new employee to be is similar to that of the new company he/she is just about to join and thus the realities of their world do not collide. If what the person upholds in the curriculum vitae is ‘true’ and desirable to the common goal of the company then it’s possible. It could also not be possible because of some reasons;

  1. The applicant doesn’t portray the real self in the formal application or during the interview.
  2. The applicant previously studies the culture of the company and ‘adapts’ to it before the formal application, portrays it during the selection but maintains his/her personality afterward.
  3. The applicant doesn’t at all give the required information that would highlight his/her reality and belief.

To argue whether it’s a yes or no is left to the experience and expertise of the recruitment team but one would consider the personal recommendations to be more significant. This would be stronger in situations where the new employee to be is recommended for the position without their active knowledge of that happening. The theory of social construction affirms that what we talk about translates to our reality and thus the reality and ‘world’ of the new applicant could be considered to have much more significance from the trusted reality of the person recommending them (Charles., A. W. 1992).


The theory of social constructionism and its implications is worth consideration when selecting new personnel. People of our mind, beliefs, culture-way of life would have an easier time integrating into a new companies goals than people who hold different opinions from us. Their reality would fill up the missing reality of the company that would sum up to the one ‘world’ of their own. What people talk about themselves cannot be oversized as it opens the window of their ‘world’ and with time the managers can either chose to accept the person or change their reality by changing what they talk about.

This approach does not come without its shortfalls as managers have either picked or left out the best recruits because their attitude toward people like us has been prejudiced. These are the managers who first give great attention and importance to prejudices associated with age, class, gender, or race and fail to test the realities of those people (Richard R, 2007). Thus if the theory of social constructionism was to be taken literally and practically as it may translate then there would be no need for managers.


  1. Berger, P. L. and Luckmann., T. (1966). The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge, Garden City, NY: Anchor Books. ISBN 0-385-05898-5
  2. Berger.,P.L and Luckmann., T.( 1967) The Social Construction of Reality : A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge.ISBN 0-385-05898-5.
  3. Charles., A. W. (1992). Liberalism and the Social Grounds of Knowledge Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  4. Hall, S., Lumley, B. & McLennan, G. (1978). “Politics and Ideology: Gramsci” in On Ideology. University of Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies.
  5. Richard Reeves. (2007). . Web.
  6. Wilson, D. S. (2005). Evolutionary Social Constructivism. In J. Gottshcall and D. S. Wilson, (Eds.), The Literary Animal: Evolution and the Nature of Narrative. Evanston, IL, Northwestern University Press.
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