When CEO Sociopolitical Activism Attracts New Talents: Exploring the Conditions Under Which CEO Activism Increases Job Pursuit Intentions
24 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2019
Date Written: 2019
Research on employer attractiveness has investigated the relation between various signals sent by the organization and the attractiveness of the organization as a potential employer, but has so far neglected the role the CEO can play in this process. We investigate through a series of experimental studies, how and under what conditions a specific signal, i.e., CEO sociopolitical activism, affects job pursuit intentions. CEO sociopolitical activism receives increasing attention, both from scholars and practitioners, as we see more and more CEOs publicly voicing their opinions on socially contentious issues. However, there is to date very limited understanding of the effects such activism has on the organization. Drawing on signaling theory, we argue that the effect depends on the political stance CEOs take: CEOs campaigning for humanistic values will increase job pursuit intentions when compared to CEOs remaining neutral, while CEOs campaigning for non-humanistic values will decrease job pursuit intentions when compared to neutral or humanistic CEOs. We argue that the process is mediated by how far potential job applicants perceive that the CEO is acting according to her or his role and moderated by CEO gender. We test our hypotheses in five studies, using an experimental between-subjects factorial design where participants are randomly assigned to one of different scenarios of CEO political activism (or non-activism). Except for the moderation of gender, we find support for our hypotheses and discuss the theoretical and practical implications of our findings.
Keywords: CEO sociopolitical activism, job pursuit intentions, employer attractiveness, signaling theory, role theory
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