Academic journal article International Journal of Management

The Interactive Effect of Message Framing, Presentation Order, and Source Credibility on Recruitment Practices

Academic journal article International Journal of Management

The Interactive Effect of Message Framing, Presentation Order, and Source Credibility on Recruitment Practices

Article excerpt

A study was conducted to determine the interaction effects of presentation order, source credibility and message framing on recruitment practices. Subjects (n=200) received a realistic job preview of a target position in an organization and were asked to rate this job on attractiveness, willingness to purchase and perceived performance. Variables were manipulated in a 2x2x2 completely crossed factorial design. Results yielded the hypothesized main effects for presentation order and message framing as well as a three-way interaction for credibility by order by frame. Findings are then discussed.

In today's job market, applicants are bombarded with numerous recruitment messages from various sources. Recruiters are increasingly concerned with the effectiveness of their messages. Researchers agree that how information is presented to the perspective job applicant may effect the recruitment process. In other words, the way information is labeled or framed has been shown to influence judgment and decision about products ( Smith, 1996 & Smith & Petty, 1996).

Yet, despite the importance of this issue to recruiters, few studies have investigated the effect of presentation order and the interactive effect of presentation order, source credibility and message framing on job appicants who receive recruitment messages. Is the message framing effect moderated by the order in which such messages are presented to appicants? Further, does the perceived credibility of the source of the message matter to the message recipient? Evidence exists which suggests that both the presentation order (Haugtvedt & Wegener 1994) and the perceived credibility of the message source (Grewal, Gotlieb & Marmorstein, 1994) may influence the final judgment of the message recipient. This study extends the investigation of message framing effects by testing a group of hypotheses on the interactive effect of message presentation order and the perceived source credibility on the framing effect during the presentation of a recruitment message.

Theoretical Background

Message Framing

The effect of message framing can be better understood from the perspectives offered by research in the field of information processing. Much of the literature on information processing has focused on the cognitive processes by which applicants integrate various types of information. It has been shown that an individual's judgements and decisions can be influenced greatly by the way information is presented or framed. Prospect theory (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979) was used to explain these results. This theory suggests that there are two major outcomes about the effect of framing a decision problem in gain versus loss terms. First, it holds that people are risk-averse when a decision problem is formulated in terms of gain and risk-prone when the problem is formulated in terms of loss. Second, it suggests that people exhibit loss aversion, i.e. that losses loom larger than gains (Tversky and Kahneman 1981). Consumer studies have broadened the scope of the investigation and focused on the effect of deterministic product attribute framing on consumers' overall product judgments (e.g., Levin and Gaeth 1988) and the effect of framing advertising messages (Smith 1996).

Message Framing and Expectations

A variety of perspectives on message framing effects have gained some support. It appears that there is no single, uniform manner in which message framing affects persuasion but, rather, a variety of processes can co-occur (Smith & Petty, 1996). The elaboration likelihood model (ELM) suggests that variables can effect persuasion in a number of different ways. They can serve as peripheral cues, they can serve as persuasive arguments or they can effect the extent or direction of message elaboration (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986). In the present research we are interested in determining how message framing might effect the extent to which people elaborate or systematically process information. …

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