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Employer Attractiveness, Corporate Reputation, and Job Application Intentions

Written by Stefan Larsson, Hanna Rosell

Paper category

Master Thesis


Business Administration>Human Resources




Master Thesis: Employer attractiveness In a tight labor market, organizations need to work harder to attract the most qualified employees. This view has been adopted by many companies and is seen as an important part of the organization's efforts to influence its image. The impression of an organization’s attractiveness as an employer is formed by many factors. (Lemmink, Schuijf & Streukens, 2003) Berthon et al. (2005) defines employer attractiveness as ""the expected benefits that potential employees will see when working for a specific organization"" (p. 155). Employer attractiveness can be regarded as the antecedent of employer brand equity; potential employees believe that the more attractive an organization is, the stronger the employer brand equity of the organization (Berthon et al., 2005). In the early stages of the job selection process, the applicant's decision is usually based on the overall impression of the attractiveness of the organization, because the applicant often has only a small amount of information in the initial stage (Rynes, 1991, Gatewood et al., 1993). Highhouse, Lievens, and Sinar (2003) believe that the individual's feelings and attitudes towards the company as a potential employer reflect the company's attractiveness. These ideas do not necessarily imply further action, which makes the attractiveness of the company passive in nature. Due to the passive nature of corporate attractiveness, individuals can be attracted to multiple companies at the same time, and more aggressive behavior towards the company will limit the possibilities. (Highhouse et al., 2003; Barber, 1998, in Highhouse et al., 2003) Researchers have studied the dimensions of attractiveness. For example, Bendaraviciene, Krikstolaitis, and Turauskas (2013) studied the organizational attractiveness of higher education institutions and developed The Organizational Attraction Attractiveness Extraction Scale (OAES). The scale measures 11 dimensions of organizational attractiveness, with a total of 67 items. The dimensions of OAES are: (1) organizational culture, (2) fairness and trust, (3) teamwork, (4) academic environment, (5) strategic management, (6) job satisfaction, (7) supervisor relationship, ( 8) Salary and benefits, (9) training and development, (10) work-life balance, and (11) working conditions. (Bendaraviciene et al., 2013) Ambler and Barrow (1996) identified three benefits provided by employment; functional, economic, and psychological. Burton et al. (2005) Five factors identified and expanded as employer attractiveness: (1) interest value, (2) social value, (3) economic value, (4) development value and (5) application value. 2.2 CorporateReputation Like an individual, an organization can also have a reputation. Reputation is the representative or image of the organization held by people outside and/or inside the organization. The nature of an organization’s reputation will affect the way people (such as consumers, competitors, and employees) interact with the organization, regardless of whether the reputation is accurate. (Clardy, 2005) Collins and Han (2004) pointed out that “increasing evidence shows that organizational reputation can have a positive impact on recruitment results” (p. 693). It is worth noting that the use of terms and definitions related to this field of research varies, especially with regard to the reputation and image of companies, organizations, and employers. For example, Gatewood et al. (1993) that corporate reputation is another term for image. Clardy (2005) refers to the literature on organizational or corporate reputation, which seems to imply a related definition of the two. According to Cable and Turban (2001), there are two important ways to distinguish employer reputation from employer image. First, reputation includes sentiment and evaluation components, while image does not. Second, reputation involves belief in how the organization is evaluated by others, while image is the job applicant’s view of the organization. (Cable & Turban, 2001) For this literature review, we tried to be open to the different terms mentioned, although the focus is on corporate reputation. Studies have shown that potential recruiters are more likely to apply for jobs with organizations with good corporate reputations, and the better a company’s reputation, the more attractive potential recruiters find it to be (Edwards, 2010). Organizations with a better image or reputation are considered to have a higher chance of attracting better job applicants (Gatewood et al., 1993). Turban, Forrest, and Hendrickson (1998) stated that the results of previous studies have shown that organizational reputation has a positive and direct impact on the attractiveness of applicants. Cable and Turban (2003) found that individuals are willing to “pay a premium” (p. 2245) by accepting lower wages to work for an organization with a good reputation. Clardy (2005) identified six attributes from the existing literature to define the meaning and function of organizational reputation: (1) general features, such as stereotypes, highlighting certain features/attributes while ignoring others, (2) a group Beliefs or expectations regarding the future behavior of the organization and its members. Read Less