Socialisation of humanitarian aid workers: Interviews with recruitment officers
(English)Manuscript (Other academic)
International organisations employ thousands of aid workers for humanitarian aid around the world. One of the problems identified in earlier research is the high turnover of personnel.
This article is part of a broader research project investigating how humanitarian organisations attract, recruit and prepare expatriate health professionals for field work and how these professionals are utilized in order to identify possible improvements in the human resource management system. The current study describes how recruitment officers in selected large humanitarian organisations perceive humanitarian aid work, how they recruit, prepare, and support their staff in order to achieve high retention, and what concerns and recommendations they have for future work. For the analysis of the interviews content analysis was used.
The recruitment officers identified the importance of flexibility and diplomacy in complex realities. They confirmed the findings of earlier studies that team work often is a source of frustrations and sometimes disappointment. Their main concern was lack of time to find the right person for the right job, often a person with broad expertise in public health. Another difficulty was to find persons who could take responsibility as leaders and trainers. In order to socialize the newcomers into the organisation short courses and debriefing sessions were used. Persons, who stay too long in the field of humanitarian action and sometimes become cynical to the difficult situation they work in was also discussed as being problematic. This finding contradicts the otherwise frequently discussed question about the high turnover of personnel in humanitarian action. This article argues for the use of socialization theory in order to find sustainable solution to identified problems.
Humanitarian action, aid workers, socialisation, qualitative research
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject Medicine
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-100880OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-100880DiVA: diva2:211204