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How to find a temple supervisor — An cas


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How to find a temple supervisor — An case study on Foguangshan’s recruitment and selection process

In today’s highly competitive world, find the right person for the right job is consider as a method to increase organization’s competitive advantages. Therefore, different approaches on how to manage recruitment and selection process have attracted a huge discussion (Storey, 1992). Some discussed the issues about the sources that are used with recruitment process (Henkens, Remery & Schippers, 2005; Kleinman & Clark, 1984; Marsden, 1994), some discussed about the problem occurs when using different selection methods (Debats, 1981; Whitener, 1990). Buddhist organization also include modern management techniques to find and choose their workers. In this essay, a broad environmental analysis on current Buddhism facts and its population will be discussed. In addition, a case study about how does an international Buddhist order in East Asia determine its temple supervisor through a series of unique recruitment and selection process.

Broad Environmental Analysis

Buddhism is the fourth largest religion next to Christianity, Islamic and Hinduism. World estimation for Buddhist varies between 230 and 500 million, according to World Factbook, there are currently 376 million followers worldwide. Those adherents are mainly in Asia, especially East Asia (Table 1). About 78% of population in East Asia practice Buddhism, which has about 1,247,740,793 people (CIA World Factbook, 2005).

In order to find suitable person for the task, FGS must have a large labor pool, otherwise everyone is simply capable for every tasks. For foreseeing the need of Buddhist talents, FGS founder Master Hsing Yun established Buddhist Colleges which anticipated other Buddhist orders to foster talents. Buddhist College attracted youth to enter FGS from different parts of the world. According to Tsunglin University Investigation (2008) and statistic figures from FGS People’s Department, most of FGS’s labors source are from Buddhist College (see Table 2), the table showed a direct link between number of graduates and appointed jobs. Students graduated from Buddhist College will direct to a task according to their level of expertise. Graduates do not necessary refers to laities or monastics, they both enter FGS to serve. From year 1967 till 1981, labor’s nationalities are predominantly Taiwanese (Foguangshan Report, 2008). Started from 1982 to 1999, labor forces from overseas mixed with domestic labors. From 2005 to the presence, the percentage of overseas students has developed almost 10 percent, and more than one-third of labors are holding overseas passport, especially Malaysian passport. This indicates that FGS attract less and less Taiwanese youth to enter Buddhist College, and started to attract more overseas youth. The effect of this labor demography shift is due to that Master Hsing Yun started his global propagation by establishing an international Buddhist association, Buddha’s Light International Association in 1991 (BLIA Report, 2005) and increasing numbers of overseas branch temples. It gave FGS a global appearance as well as an opportunity to recruit labor forces from predominant Buddhism countries.

Among these high Buddhist percentage countries, there are issues within. Buddhism may be mix-practiced with Taoism and Confucianism in China (include Taiwan), Shinto practice has mixed religious idea with Buddhism in Japan, and there are many folk religions which are so-called Eastern religions are considered themselves as Buddhism (Lopez, 1996). It may be difficult to distinguish them from Buddhism. Furthermore, according to some researches, there are difficulty to collect accurate estimates in Asian countries due to the political practice (Communist countries such as China and North Korea), and lack of infrastructures which made data collecting for Laos and Vietnam difficult to gathered (Smith, 2004). Therefore, the result in official totals may under-estimate the number of religious practitioners in these countries.

Despite the fact that Buddhism is not the top-three religions in the world, however there are Buddhist predominant countries which has more than 90% of adherents. Within these Buddhist predominant countries, there is a Buddhist Order outstand the others, Foguangshan Monastery (FGS). Headquarter of FGS is located in Kaohsiung, northern part of Taiwan which was founded in 1967 by Venerable Master Hsing Yun, a prominent monk from China in 1949 (Foguangshan Report, 2007). Taiwan has a very intensive Buddhist competition; there are about 4,000 temples and 9,300 monastics present Buddhist activities in Taiwan. It is possible to say that FGS is the largest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan, it has 95 domestic temples and more than1,300 monastics; it has also gained an international presence by establishing 135 temples worldwide. Technically headquarter should allocate 5 to 6 monastics to serve in each temple, however FGS also owns numerous Buddhist enterprises such as 4 universities, 4 primary and secondary schools, 1 television station, 2 publishing companies and 1 newspaper agency. Although there are volunteer workers assisting these enterprises, nonetheless monastics could never satisfy these huge labor demands. Therefore, choose the right person to implement these tasks has becoming crucial decision making.

Although FGS had discovered youth from overseas to enter Buddhist College, the number of students have drop dramatically. According to the Tsunglin University Investigation (2008), it is because the University tends to find the most “fit” or suitable students that could quickly adjust to culture conflicts and environment changes. Nevertheless the student number getting less, the new comers tends to have higher commitment to the order. New comers are carefully selected and trained by coherent plans and objectives. Hence, they tend to cooperate well with old members. The strong objective given to each FGS member helps them cohesively spread Buddhism to the world. Such Unitarian approach helps when constant job replacement and job vacancy occur, people’s department could always look into highly experienced internal labor pool which cost less time for induction training.

Nevertheless, if FGS wants to find a temple supervisor, middle manager with a little more experience than others, from a large employee pool, it is wise to establish a standard measurement tool for the equity and systematic purposes. In order to do that, a thorough job analysis and a precise job description together with a recruitment procedure and selection criteria should be initiated prior look into large employee pool. As job analysis has increased its status and popularity in HR practice, according to several researches, it described job-analysis should included task and general work activity (Dierdorff & Wilson, 2003); moreover, Cunningham, Drewes, and Powell (1995) stated that such analysis should be applicable to range of vocation. The data of job-analysis are often generated from three groups 1) incumbents, 2) analyst, and 3) technical experts. However, sometimes technical experts could be considered as incumbents (Dierdorff et al, 2003). Since there are no previous temple supervisor’s job description and only one relevant information found through internet, therefore, the data collection for Supervisor of Buddhist Temple are from two sources, incumbents and analyst. Analyst refers to non-job-holder’s professional insight; the analyst here is a view from the founder of FGS, Master Hsing Yun and his expectation to temple supervisor’s competency. He stated The Twelve Rules for Foguangshan monastic life (See Appendix 1) in 1995 which supervisors as a middle manager’s position should pay extra attention to these rules. This source is the most important knowledge for supervisors, because the image and action they presented to Buddhist devotees have a great impact on the success of Buddhism propagation. Moreover, a questionnaire (See Appendix 2) was distributed to 5 supervisors (incumbents) who have sound experience and expertise on their job.

To review from the job analysis questionnaire, it concludes that everyone has an adequate level of knowledge in Buddhism and capable to conduct Buddhist rituals. Therefore, the main criterion to differentiate one from another is personality. Moreover, since FGS is a large organization, communication skill and understand organization’s vision will be the trait of leader.

After a job description (See Appendix 3) has been concluded, People’s Department (equivalent to HR department) could use the set of KSAs to find applicants. The recruitment to temple supervisors or other jobs which is related to Buddhist rituals is often from internal. The function of internal recruitment is to find suitable people within the company who already holding a job. The decision to use internal recruitment is after considering about this tight domestic labor market (9,300 for 4,000 temples) and a phenomenon of master and apprentice relationship. It would be a greater challenge to recruit than select. Furthermore, recruit within the company as promotion gives its employee a sense of motivation and leads to high level of morale (Caruth & Handlogten, 1997), nevertheless it also created a sense of inequity and limited skilled labor pool. Since FGS has generated its own labor pool from Buddhist College, they tend to believe that internal recruitment is most suitable.

According to Heneman and Judge (2006) there are five steps in internal recruitment process such as recruitment planning, strategy development, searching for candidates, well developed job transition plan and consideration of legal issues. It seems like FGS has only conducted the first three four steps. There are rarely any legal issues other than getting applicant a foreign visa if the position is in overseas. The mobility path for most of Buddhist temple is quite hierarchical. Due to that there is a certain degree of respect to the elderly monastics. Therefore, most of the temple tends to use a traditional mobility path where a person begin as helper and apprentice, then move on to journey person and then reach to leader-person (Heneman et al, 2006). However, the founder of FGS has had an experience of the tradition mobility model, he believed that break the rule could enhance a temple’s competitiveness to the ever changing world. Thus it is now using a parallel tracks which allows monastics to specialized in certain skills or areas.

Since the consideration for mobility path is not that serious in FGS, it gives them a greater employee pool for recruitment. After the planning has been covered, it is wise to develop a strategy to find eligible applicants. There are two systems recommended, the closed internal recruitment system and open internal recruitment system. In FGS’s case, it tends to use an open system. In most of open system, when there is a job vacancy, each manager will reported to HR for job vacancy, and after a series of HR activities, department manager at the end will decide who fills position (See Appendix 4). The open system in FGS is quite unique (See Appendix 4), People’s Department (PD) will send out a notice to intranet and internal newspaper for a job vacancy; it is required for the former supervisor to give one referral. Meanwhile, PD search eligible candidates from the data-base. Same HR activities, receives bids and screen candidates. Then executive of PD interviews the list of candidates and position will be filled after decision. Among the recruitment sources, job posting is most frequent method (Henkens et al, 2005; Marsden, 1994), and it is also the most welcome methods perceived by user (Kleinman et al, 1984). Other comments on recruitment source are included time consuming and accuracy for scanning through large employee data-base (Lindsay, 2003), and personal bias to the referral.

Before the applicants become candidates, HR department will do a series of review on applicant’s application and resume. For the job description, it clearly point out that a supervisor should have some level of understanding to headquarters’ (HQ) vision, a certain degree of temple management skills, capable of deliver a sermon, know to lead, communicate and help subordinates. Thus these knowledge, skills, and ability (KSAs) are act as measurement for choice eligible candidates (See Appendix 5). As mention previously, understand HQ’s vision is vital which includes the level of understanding to the 12 rules mentioned by the founder. Other skills are learnable such like temple management could be learned from experience, sermon delivery could be improved by repetitions, and leadership and communication skills could also learn from experiences. Therefore, the weightage for understanding HQ’s vision is 39. The ability of temple control is decisive for temple’s prosperity as well as the level of sermon delivery; hence there are 20 percent of weightage for each criterion. The rest of measurement criteria weight 7 percent each as they are equality important. By reviewing application and resumes could waive out most of unqualified applicants which shorten recruitment and selection period. However, there are issues such as resume fraud (Debats, 1981), the accuracy for application screening (Whitener, 1990), as well as limited information shown on application form.

To conclude the above, FGS has a large pool of labor force to look into. In its highly competitive labor market, its HR department practice internal recruitment and selection. During the planning phase in internal recruitment period, FGS has properly thought about the innovative mobility paths and adopt an open internal recruitment system. Furthermore, it uses numerous recruitment sources such as job posting on intranet and internal newspaper, looked into skills inventory, employee referral, and employee bidding. In the selection process, the weightage has been properly conduct and the KSAs criteria are matched with the requirement of job description. The overall HR performance during recruitment and selection process is adequately conducted. After all, Buddhist association has the same HR practices with the other industry; only its practice has more human touch and brings innovation in to the world systematic management.

Appendix 1: The Twelve Rules for Foguangshan monastic life

1. No head shaving outside the designated time.

2. No spending the night outside a Buddhist temple.

3. No financial of the monastic ethics.

4. No transgression of the monastic ethics.

5. No personal acceptance of disciples.

6. No personal accumulation of the wealth.

7. No personal construction of temples.

8. No personal relations with devotees.

9. No personal fundraising.

10. No personal request for favors.

11. No personal purchase of property.

No personal preparation of meals.

Appendix 4: Open Internal Recruitment System VS FGS’s Internal Recruitment System

 
 
 
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