DECONSTRUCTING SIGNALING THEORY: THE ROLE OF ORGANIZATIONAL, REFERENT OTHER, AND SELF-REFERENTIAL INFERENCES IN RECRUITMENT
Wright, Katie E.
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Understanding recruitment is crucial for organizations to generate a qualified applicant pool from which they can select employees. Past research on recruitment has looked at applicant willingness to apply for a position and attraction to the company itself. More recently this research has explored the effects of signaling theory to explain these applicant reactions. To date, this research has focused primarily on the signals organizational policies might send to applicants about other aspects of the organization (e.g, profitability, diversity). The results of this research have been mixed, making it unclear as to whether policies act as signals for applicants. However, less emphasis has been placed on what organizational policies might signal to the individual about how they themselves will be treated, or affected if involved with the organization (i.e., self referential inferences). It can be argued that organizational policies will be more important for self-referential inferences than for organizational inferences. This study examined three types of signals that may be sent to applicants and the effects of each on applicants' attraction to a company. Specifically I was interested in learning what kinds of signals firm reputation sends to applicants about a) other aspects of the organization; b) how other employees will be treated; and c) how the applicant will be treated within the company, or affected by the company. To accomplish this research I conducted an experiment using undergraduate psychology students and business students of the university.