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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
November 25, 2015

Canadian Excellence

The Influence of Source Credibility Attributions on Expectancy Theory Predictions of Organizational Choice

Daniel F. Coleman and P. Gregory Irving


Hypotheses derived from expectancy theory suggest that applicants will select an organization that has the most attractive package of job features. Hypotheses derived from attribution theory likewise suggest that applicants will select the most attractive job, but that perceived attractiveness may be influenced by information source credibility and the credibility of the information content. We conducted a 2 x 2 job preview experiment with one between-subjects factor and one within-subjects factor. The between-subjects factor was information source in which the 134 participants (80 women and 54 men) were presented job information from either professional recruiters or job incumbents. The within-subjects factor was information favourability. Each participant received two previews. One preview contained only positive information about the job, whereas the other contained some negative information about the job. After exposure to the two job previews, participants completed an expectancy (job attractiveness) index for each job, a source credibility scale for each preview, and were asked their job choice intentions. We found support for the expectancy and attribution-based hypotheses. That is, participants selected the job for which the preview included some negative information more frequently than they did the job for which the preview included only positive information. Furthermore, both job attractiveness and source credibility were significantly related to job choice. However, information source was not related to perceived attractiveness of a job, source credibility, or job choice. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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