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Research Background

Recruitment process is the most important human resource process in the organization that helps in appointing the best candidates at the workplace (Whitney and Trosten-Bloom, 2010). The practical benefits are seen for organization of having diverse workforce to perform different roles. Positive action in recruitment process is evident to a new concept that allows business entity to attract the people from diverse background and to appoint the best talent at the workplace. Positive action is seen as way of trying to historic disadvantage through providing chance to under-represented groups for getting employments. Equality in recruitment process is a traditional concept that allows companies to provide equal opportunities to the individuals for gaining competitive advantages at the workplace (The Equality Act 2010. 2011). The positive actions are somewhat related to the ethical aspects that allow company to identify how an ethical and effective recruitment process can be carried out.  In this regard, it can be said that the positive action cannot be said as new concept as various act have previously implemented at the workplace that promotes the roles of individuals (Fuchs and et. al., 2007). To a contrary note, new recruitment and promotion provisions are going to allow employers to take the optimal decision of choosing the best candidate among two equally qualified candidates (Ertelt and et. al., 2007).

In recruitment, the implications of equality law allows employer to take out the positive action in the stages of recruitment and before it. In the prior stage the candidates and groups are encouraged for applying the vacant post. It will be also helpful for people who are having protected characteristics to show their capabilities by performing well so that position can be given to the desired candidates. This  is to be bring into notice that employer have to decide to choose that positive actions  are brought out in a recruitment process where to choose the best one among various capable candidates. To the aspect of positive actions in recruitment process it is required to make up local population for this encouragement of individuals who share particular under-represented secure characteristics to apply for available jobs is the most required manner.

From a past decade, number of positive actions have been seen around Scotland including Police Scotland, Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Services.

The West Lothian Council is one of 32 local authorities within Scotland which has 32 elected members. The different services of this council includes education, development and maintenance of highways, street lighting, social work, housing as well as cleansing. In addition to that the council is responsible for co-ordinating and planning public services within West Lothian, Scotland (West Lothian Council. 2015). To fulfil such tasks the organizational requires people who can fulfil such task in a positive manner. The local council require to create a positive climate where employees feel confident and able to discuss equality matters with superior authorities. West Lothian council is  identifying where positive action is most needed, and target action in those areas. The proposal herewith is going to assess the diversity in positive action in recruitment for West Lothian Council.

Aim and Objectives


The aim of present report is to critically identify the role of positive action in recruitment for a public sector entity namely West Lothian Council. Furthermore, this proposal is prepared to recommend how West Lothian Council can use positive action in their recruitment process.


 The objectives framed for the present investigation are as follows

  • To critically review a literature on the concept of positive actions in recruitment and exploring the benefits and challenges of using positive actions in recruitment process of public sector organizations.
  • To explore the diversity in positive action in recruitment and the use of social media in recruitment process of public sector units.
  • To recommend the various use of positive action in their recruitment process of West Lothian Council, Scotland


What is positive action?

The positive actions can be defined as the elements that can be done so far in the recruitment process of a company so as to ensure selection of the best candidate at the workplace. As per the words Kalev, Dobbin and Kelly (2006) positive action is a way of trying to historic disadvantage through providing chance to under-represented groups for getting employments. The mentioned information in Verloo (2006) represented that in 2011 new positive action provisions on recruitment and promotion came into existence in which employers were free to come up with the law relating to positive action and there come some guideline in respect with the provisions. The investigation conducted by Jarrett (2011) stated that Positive action are known as laws and policies that attempts to promote equal opportunity through focusing on providing equal opportunity to  gender, race, disability or other equality strands so as to positively improve outcomes  and promote diversity in public sector organization.

 Positive actions put various impacts to the companies such as it motivate people and also encourage them to give their best at work. Nebbioso and et. al. (2005) evaluated that some of the common people which have protected characteristics involves age, marriage and civil partnership, race, sex and any kind of sexual orientation. The meaning of positive action in any sense does not allow ‘positive discrimination’ because it is strictly not allowed by equality law (Fuchs and et. al., 2007). It has also been witnessed that the positive action are voluntary as employer can decide on whether use it in recruitment process or not.

 According to authorities, there have been implemented number of positive actions interventions such as careers fairs, recruitment days, days or evening sessions. In such sessions, the potential applicants were able to get overview of the selection and training process as well as they can ask questions related to job (Positive action, 2011).  Positive actions are applicable to all the above stated protected characteristics. One of the main impact of such action is that it promotes equality at workplace and make it is free from any kind of biasses (Nebbioso and et. al., 2005). Positive action also helps an employer to have a well-qualified and diverse range of workforce. It further supports in increasing the degree of customer satisfaction and sales. Positive actions are required to incorporate as a part of employer diversity policy and it is required to compliment other diversity policies.  

Benefits of positive actions 

 The applicability of positive actions at the workplace has presented number of benefits to public as well as private organizations. Public as well as private organization can help people in more effective manner with the help of positive action. It can also been seen that positive action would only serve to strengthen the workforce. As per the views of many authors including, Nebbioso and et. al. (2005) the benefits of positive action can be seen in the manner as it makes organizations more responsible for the people of their region.

The people will have a sense of comfort about the fact that public companies are able to do the things they said instead of broking their promises (The Benefits of Positive Action. 2015). The positive implications of using positive actions at the workplace is seen in the form of getting better mix of people of both genders, all faiths, languages, race and ability (Lomborg, 2015). The best candidates for the positions can be appointed at the workplace. In other words there must be a balance of all cultures and abilities in the work place that is being possible after using positive action in recruitment. With the passage of time, most of them became aware about the role and significance of positive action in businesses and how they can benefit the employer. However Verloo (2006) argued that most of the businesses entity were aware about the benefits of talking positive actions for their protected characteristic. The major benefit is that it will support the employer in addressing people with any kind of disability in an effective manner. Other than this, positive actions will also support in attracting the people which are in minority group which will further help in attracting more effective and skilled workers (Verloo, 2006). The benefits of positive actions are seen in the form trust of people towards the organizations both public and private. 

Barriers to positive actions in recruitment

In order to implement positive actions in recruitment process there may be some significant barrier faced by the company.that a council has to bear some monetary cost for the same. When a corporate entity includes positive actions in recruitment process it has to put financial resources for the same (The Benefits of Positive Action, 2015). The public organizations have to face the issues regard information available to incorporate the positive actions in business. The company requires the information for incorporating positive actions in recruitment and unavailability of proper information may lead to barriers to positive actions in recruitment (Whitney and Trosten-Bloom, 2010). However, it has been seen that the company may face some issues regarding Organisational attitudes, in which it becomes difficult to incorporate the policies regarding to positive actions. The research study conducted Positive action (2011) have been witnessed that major barrier is of managing change incorporated after implementing positive actions. Nonetheless, council is going to face issues with convening board to implement positive action in the recruitment process. There were some researches have been conducted years ago in which authors have suggested that negative perception of community towards practices of public companies which has been seen as a barrier to such organizations (Rhodes, 2014). However, some of authors have suggested the ways to overcome such barrier that are faced to implement positive action. It has been suggested that free of cost advertising will be a significant way to overcome the barrier.  However,that implementation of positive actions in recruitment is a costly process which requires a lot of time and efforts therefore, it should be carried out in the best possible and effective manner (Ertelt and et. al., 2007).

Draw back/implications 

  According to Gnecchi and et. al. (2005) there is no such disadvantage of positive actions for employers which is one of the major characteristic of such kind of actions. Nonetheless, there are some points where the public organization may not get benefit of positive action. In this regard, it has been seen that positive discrimination towards one group may lead to negative discrimination towards other groups. In case the disable community will have benefits from such positive actions on the other side, the able community is going to be neglected from such aspects (Madianou, 2015).

From the investigation conducted by (Kalev, Dobbin and Kelly (2006) the use of  'two ticks' positive  symbol about disability symbol the, the public sector companies  can show their commitment towards   employing, keeping and developing the abilities of disabled staff(Kalev Dobbin and Kelly, 2006.).

As per the view one of Ash, (2014) the major benefits of double tick Double tick scheme helps in interviewing those disabled applicant which meet the minimum criteria for a particular job vacancy. Other than this, It also helps in making sure that the employees are developing appropriate level of awareness and commitment towards their work. On the other hand,one of the major drawback of double tick scheme is that it is a complicated process and requires lots of time (Ertelt and et. al., 2007). Another drawback of this is that meeting tow ticks do not means that an employer has done enough to satisfy all the legal obligations which falls under equality Act (Hoffman and High-Pippert, 2010).        

It has been seen if public organizations do not take positive actions in terms of their recruitment they are going to miss out on a significant proportion of people who are incredibly well suited for the available job positioning. If the public sector organization are not going to take positive action then it will be behind with progressive time as other councils within Scotland are seen more focused towards their minority groups and are treating them more equally and fairly. Overall, it can be said that the council may fell disconnected with the people in their region (Madianou, 2015).          

Best practise

Best practices in terms of reverse monitoring can be understood wit the help of a five step reverse monitoring program. The program is mentioned below as:

  • Developing a structured program- For carrying out best practice in terms of revers monitoring, management is required to develop effective programs. In addition to this, they also need to determine the objectives and goals which they want to achieve through reverse monitoring (Ash, 2014).
  • Making the program as a priority- The practices of reverse monitoring can be practiced at their best only when they are kept on priority.  The mentor and mentees who will be going to spend time with each other are required to understand the need and importance of reverse monitoring.   
  • Members screening- before implementing the plan, screening of members which will be going to become the part of reverse monitoring is also important.
  • Provide proper training- in order to have best practices for reverse monitoring, training is also required to be provided in effective manner (Fuchs and et. al., 2007). In training sessions, people should get training to deal with things such as ego between mentor and mentee. If this is not done then the entire program of reverse monitoring may fail.
  • Feedback and changes- Feedback and then changes according to them are also required to make reverse monitoring successful. Survey of participants can be carried out to examine the strength and weakness of reverse monitoring. On the basis of these surveys, changes can be made.   

The public sector enterprise as also started promoting positive actions such ethic minority schemes has been developed. In this scheme the women have been encouraged to become the part of male dominated sectors. This means a new provision to allow positive actions at the time of recruitments (Positive action, 2011). Provision for positive action has been also developed which replaced earlier provision associated with legislation. Some of the public sectors which is using reverse monitoring includes crown office, network rail,n export finance and British transport police authority.

Good practise use of social media to promote positive action 

 In the modern era, businesses have adopted positive actions and they now place advertisements specially to attract disabled people for the vacant position in an organization. At the time of implementing such actions there is no issues or challenge which is faced by businesses and these actions are very easy to implement. To the view point of Matsumoto and et. al. In terms of recruitment, positive action can be used when any of the employer reasonably thinks that all the people which have protected characteristic are under-represented in the entire workforce and they suffer from many disadvantages at workplace.  Along with this the employer will be required to carry out intensive research in order to identify whether any of the protected characteristic is exploited or not (Fuchs and et. al., 2007). Traditionally, the importance of social media was having limited importance to recruiting because it is used to weed out candidates. However, it the present ear social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter or burgeoning apps have become convenient to recruit best talent at the workplace. To the view point of Rhodes (2014) the impact social media on recruiting is immeasurable. Use of social media offers speed, efficiency and ability for targeting and attracting suitable candidates for the job. In addition, Saberi (2014) stated that social media provides additional source of information to the candidates for potential job. The employers can also get information about candidates through online platforms regarding sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, marital status, skills and so on. The colleagues working on a marketing strategy for Police Scotland that is going to pull together various initiatives as well as it going to better focus on priority areas such as safety of area, reduction of criminal activities and so on (Hoffman and High-Pippert, 2010). The initiatives such as monitoring of activities and people has been increased. Further the police has also started to keep a track record of people which are living in nearby areas. Security cameras are installed which keeps an eyes on activities of people. The number of policemen has also increased and new officers are appointed to ensure the safety of people. This all initiative have resulted in reducing criminal activities and increasing safety of people (Jarrett, 2011).    

Using an business app to attract candidates to apply 

 There are various social media platforms from where people can follow the council such as Flicker, Youtube, LinkedIn and Google search. However, there are some benefits for public organizations as well as candidates to make use of social media platforms. The use of social media platforms keeps people up to date with the available positions in the industry so they can apply for the positions as well as the organization can get views/comments/suggestions.  In the investigation of Sekido and Lovell-Badge (2008) stated that  social networking sites are used for  search different services such as strong content and interesting news and information in respect with services provided by pubic organizations. The information can also be posted on Facebook page to reach a wide audience with news. In many public organization even a social platforms when fence about a candidate's resume, the companies use LinkedIn to find out how involved they are in the LinkedIn community as well as around industry (Ash, 2014).  The public sector organization can use social media platforms for providing ease in readily available advertisement of jobs. The process of reverse monitoring can be also implemented in to promote positive actions. Further there are some advantages and disadvantages which will be required to taken care of. The advantages are that it will make acclimation easy and will deliver sense of achievement among members. On the other side of this, its disadvantage is that it can result in frustration as the mentor may starts feeling that his subordinate is not progressing and is not following his directions (Gorman and Roberts, 2014). Therefore, it can be stated that there are some benefits and consequences of reverse monitoring which are required to be taken care of. In the process of reverse monitoring is the one in which older executives are being placed and mentored by young employees. This results in making the old employees aware about the modern trend and technology in the market. Further they become more productive and enhance their skills set by leaning new things (Positive action., 2011). This helps in finding out more better opportunities in future. It has been found that the drawbacks of reverse monitoring is frustration. It may happen that older people in organization gets dissatisfied as they are required to learn from their juniors (Kalev, Dobbin and Kelly, 2006). This will have a direct impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of all senior and juniors level employees. Therefore, it can be stated that before implementing the technique of reverse monitoring, discussion should be done between juniors and seniors (Fuchs and et. al., 2007). Further action plan of the process of monitoring should be formed on the basis of those discussions (Matsumoto and et. al., 2007).


Kothari (2011) stated that Research methodology is the most crucial aspect of an organization that represents the use of various research tools and techniques. The research tools are used to identify the methods that will be more suitable for attaining the objectives of a firm.

Research Onion 

Figure 1: Research onion

(Source: Saunders, et. al., 2006)

Research Philosophy: Research Philosophy is used to identify the way of conducing investigation in the most suitable manner. It can be further said that the research philosophy used for gaining sufficient knowledge for the pertaining research problem (Manion Cohen and Morrison, 2007). In the research world, there are seen three major philosophies such as positivism, realism and interpretivism. The major aim of this investigation is to assess the diversity in positive actions in recruitment for West Lothian Council. The need of vast literature and deep investigation allows researcher to use interpretivisim philosophy (Chapman and McNeill, 2004). With the use of this research the researcher can conduct an in-depth analysis in available research, thus, it can be said that the use of interpretivism philosophy is the most suitable (Saunders, et. al., 2006).

Research Approach: Research approach is considered as a path which supports in conducting research in a very effective and desired manner. Along with this, approach also helps to evaluate the right tools which can be adopted in order to carry out the study (Pennink and Jonker, 2010). Inductive and deductive are the two most common type of approaches which are used while carrying out any kind of researcher. At the time of selecting right approach a researcher is required to careful evaluate the nature and objective of study (Kothari, 2011). In the present research, inductive approach will be used as the main aim of this study is to identify the role of positive action in recruitment for West Lothian Council. The data will be collected from and thus inductive approach will be more suitable one.

   Research Strategy: Research design is a particular pattern which supports a scholar at the time of data collection and analysis. Some of the common research design includes exploratory, case study, descriptive etc (Chapman and McNeill, 2004). The selection of appropriate research design relies on the need and objectives of study. One of the main reason for selecting this study is that it will help in exploring all the different elements associated with study. The benefit of this is that more better and accurate findings will be gathered (Bryman, 2008).  

Research Choices: There are three different methods from which data can be collected for the study. These are mono method, mixed method, multi-method (Saunders, et. al., 2006). In the present research report, researcher will use mixed method to collect the data. Reason behind using the mixed method in the study is that qualitative and quantitative data will be collected from primary and secondary method of data collection.

Research time Horizon:  A research investigation can have two different kinds of time horizon such as cross sectional and longitudinal. Cross section includes researching a group of population over a specific time period, on the other hand longitudinal includes researching the same population over an extended period of time (Manion Cohen and Morrison, 2007). The present research is going to use cross sectional time horizon due to the consequences of time and access limitations to conduct the investigation.

Data Collection and Data Analysis:  Data collection is the most important process of search that allows research to gather data from the range of sources.  There are major two sources of data collect that are being used in research such as primary data and secondary data (Chapman and McNeill, 2004). Primary data collection involves collection of data for the first time on the other hand secondary data collection is the sources in which the data have also been collected previous. For the present research both kinds of data collection sources are going to be used such as primary and secondary. In order to collect primary data interview is taken as a source of primary research (Miller and Birch, 2012). The interview will be taken in which the questions will be asked from the respondents. In order to collect the information of various secondary information books, journals and online sources will be used. Further, to gather secondary data physical and online sources will be used. The use of both kind of sources will allows researcher to collect large amount of authentic and reliable information (Saunders, et. al., 2006).

The applicability of sampling mentioned can be seen in the studies where primary data are to be collected. This can be said as the most important method that is useful in gathering data from the right population (Pennink and Jonker, 2010). There are two major kinds of sampling such as probabilistic and non-probabilistic, in addition, there are many sub sections. In respect with the present research population will be the managers who are working in human resource departments of West Lothian Council in different areas (Bryman, 2008). The sample size of present investigation will be 10 HR managers of West Lothian Council in different areas. The use of random sampling method will be suitable for the present research that will allow researcher to give equal chance to the population for selecting in research process.

Data Analysis: It is the section of research in which the information collected from various sources is analysed in order to derive accurate and correct findings. At the time of analysing the data one has to be very careful as it directly affects the results and findings of the entire research (Saunders, et. al., 2006). Qualitative and quantitative are the two common forms of data analysis which are used by any of the researcher. When the information is present in numeric form then quantitative technique of data analysis is used (Kothari, 2011). On the other hand, when the data is present in non-numeric form then qualitative technique is used. In the present study, the information will be available in non-numeric form and therefore qualitative technique will be used (Manion Cohen and Morrison, 2007). Other than this, tools such as Microsoft excel will be used in order to analyse the information collected. Charts and diagrams will be used in order to present the information collected. Along with this the thematic analysis of the information will be done in which the analysed data will be presented in the form of various themes. In addition the graphical representation of data will be there.          

Limitations: The major limitations of present investigation was the problem faced by the researcher for the collection of secondary data that will be resolved through having proper access to books, journals and online sources. Including this the, problems can be faced in relation to lack of time and cost


 The planned activities for completing the future course of work is shown in the following table along with time horizon.

Planning for Future course of work


 Every scholar is required to make sure the fact that all the ethical aspects are taken into consideration in the best possible manner. In order to make the study more reliable and valid, ethical aspects need to well taken care of. In the present research will cover all the areas of ethical consideration. The data will be secured in effective manner and there will be no biasness done at the time of data collection and analysis. The information collected from various sources won’t be revealed to any other party and the data will not influence any one. The scholar will also make sure that the data will be destroyed after use (Kothari, 2011). Therefore, it can be stated that during the entire study, all the ethical aspects will be well taken care of. In addition to that the act of plagiarism will be followed and taken into consideration in the entire research course of work.  The whole work will be cited with the proper references and appropriate authors.

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