The War for Talent: Can Professional Services Organizations Benefit from Mental Simulation and Model Employees in Their Corporate Advertisements?

Anouska Marianna Wage

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

Corporate advertisements are used by potential employees to signal job attributes and employment characteristics of an organization. Those job attributes and characteristics have an impact on the potential employees’ perception of the organization’s attractiveness as an employer and their intention to apply. The purpose of this thesis is to obtain a better understanding of the impact of signals from corporate advertisements in the professional services industry on employer attractiveness and intention to apply. More specifically, this thesis investigates how mental simulation and the absence or presence of a model employee in the corporate advertisement affects employer attractiveness and intention to apply.
The research is conducted through an online experiment (N = 273). The participants were randomly assigned to one of the experimental conditions. Once the participants had read instructions to prime the mental simulation, and the corporate advertisement, they were asked to answer the questions from the employer attractiveness scale and intention to apply scale. The results were analyzed with an ANCOVA and additional post hoc tests. The results demonstrate the process simulation, as opposed to outcome simulation, in combination with a model employee in the corporate advertisement, does not more positively impact employer attractiveness and intention to apply. In addition, the results indicate that outcome simulation, as opposed to process simulation, and a corporate advertisement without a model employee does not more positively impact employer attractiveness and intention to apply. Lastly, no mediated moderation could be found between mental simulation and intention to apply, with the absence or presence of a model employee as moderator and employer attractiveness as mediator.
Based on the findings, it can be argued that it is largely up to management of professional services organizations whether they would like to focus on the outcome or the process of helping clients and living up to the service promise of the organization. It can also be argued that it is up to management’s preferences whether they would like to feature a model employee in their corporate advertisement.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2020
Number of pages90
SupervisorsAntonia Erz