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Effects of ethical certification and ethical eWoM on talent attraction

Osburg, Victoria Sophie; Yoganathan, Vignesh; Bartikowski, Boris; Liu, Hongfei; Strack, Micha


Victoria Sophie Osburg

Vignesh Yoganathan

Boris Bartikowski

Hongfei Liu

Micha Strack


Whilst previous studies indicate perceived company ethicality as a driver of job seekers’ job-pursuit intentions, it is poorly understood how and why ethical market signals actually affect their application decisions. Perceptions of company ethicality result from market signals that are either within the control of the company (e.g. ethical certifications) and from market signals that are beyond the company’s control (e.g. ethical eWoM). Building on communication and information processing theories, this study therefore considers both types of ethical market signals, and examines the psychological mechanisms through which they affect job seekers’ intention to apply for a job. The results from a controlled online experiment show that both types of ethical market signals increase job seekers’ job-pursuit intentions. These relationships are mediated by applicants’ attitude towards the job advertisement, their perceptions of corporate employment image and self-referencing. Consequently, the present study alerts practitioners to consider the effects of company-controlled and non-company-controlled ethical market signals, particularly when aiming to recruit highly-qualified millennial candidates.


Osburg, V. S., Yoganathan, V., Bartikowski, B., Liu, H., & Strack, M. (in press). Effects of ethical certification and ethical eWoM on talent attraction. Journal of Business Ethics,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 12, 2018
Online Publication Date Sep 20, 2018
Deposit Date Sep 12, 2018
Publicly Available Date Oct 22, 2018
Print ISSN 0167-4544
Electronic ISSN 1573-0697
Publisher Springer Publishing Company
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Ethical certifications; Ethical eWoM; Millennial employment; Job-pursuit intentions
Public URL
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© The Author(s) 2018<br /> <br /> This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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