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Patchwork LeviathanPockets of Bureaucratic Effectiveness in Developing States$
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Erin Metz McDonnell

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691197364

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691197364.001.0001

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Recruitment: Clustering Distinctiveness

Recruitment: Clustering Distinctiveness

(p.26) 2 Recruitment: Clustering Distinctiveness
Patchwork Leviathan

Erin Metz McDonnell

Princeton University Press

This chapter argues that niches are built by “clustering distinctiveness”—drawing together particular types of people who are otherwise rare in the larger environment. First, this requires filtering out the influence of patronage politics, reducing the importance of networks on hiring decisions that leave employees more beholden to their patron than to their position. Second, it requires active selection. Selection entails finding, attracting, and recruiting a rare human resource: people who have motivations, inclinations, practices, and skill sets that provide a foundation for building a rational, impersonal administration oriented towards achieving the organization's goals. In the face of environmental challenges, the chapter highlights the intensive recruitment process of employees across the Ghanaian niches, including selection strategies, probationary periods, and recruiting from already professionalized environments. Those intensive and highly interpersonal recruitment processes create a sense within recruits that they are special and have been chosen—specifically, chosen for particular characteristics like incorruptibility and hard work, which others in the niche also share. Clustering a critical mass of those scarce resources with a shared sense of commonality enables new organizational possibilities, fostering in-group identification, dedication, and enhanced effort, culminating in a subculture of the bureaucratic ethos.

Keywords:   clustering distinctiveness, employee recruitment, Ghana, patronage politics, active selection, selection strategies, probationary periods, professionalized environments

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