What Matters When: A Multistage Model and Empirical Examination of Job Search Effort

Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 56, No. 6, 1655-1678, 2013, DOI: org/10.5465/amj.2011.0546

25 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2015

See all articles by Virginie Kidwell

Virginie Kidwell

University of North Texas

Travis Grosser

University of Connecticut School of Business

Brian Dineen

Purdue University

Stephen P. Borgatti

University of Kentucky

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

We develop a multistage self-regulatory perspective on job search effort assuming active job seekers conducting job searches within a job search goal life span. Specifically, we propose that time pressure increases as the goal of finding employment becomes more proximal, while job search uncertainty decreases. Drawing on these premises, we integrate social comparison theory, control theory, and the attentional focus model of time pressure to hypothesize how various intrapersonal (i.e., prior effort, job search progress) and sociocontextual (i.e., effort put forth by peers in a social network) factors relate to job seekers’ self-regulation of effort at different stages (i.e., preparatory, active-extensive, and active-intensive) of a job search process. In two studies of job seekers, we found that (1) prior job seeker effort is positively related to current effort across stages, (2) average peer job search effort is more strongly and positively related to job seeker effort earlier in job search, and (3) job search progress (i.e., the ratio of interviews to applications in Study 1 and perceived progress in Study 2) is negatively related to job seeker effort later in job search. Theoretical implications and future research directions are discussed.

Keywords: Job search, self-regulation, social networks

Suggested Citation

Kidwell, Virginie and Grosser, Travis and Dineen, Brian and Borgatti, Stephen P., What Matters When: A Multistage Model and Empirical Examination of Job Search Effort (2013). Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 56, No. 6, 1655-1678, 2013, DOI: org/10.5465/amj.2011.0546, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2573428

Virginie Kidwell

University of North Texas ( email )

1155 Union Circle #305340
Denton, TX 76203
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://cob.unt.edu/users/vnk0010

Travis Grosser (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut School of Business ( email )

Management Dept.
Unit 1041
Storrs, CT 06269-2041
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.business.uconn.edu/profiles/travis-grosser/

Brian Dineen

Purdue University ( email )

610 Purdue Mall
West Lafayette, IN 47907
United States

Stephen P. Borgatti

University of Kentucky ( email )

Lexington, KY 40506
United States

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