Worker word of mouth on the internet

Santiago Melián-González (Institute of Tourism and Sustainable Development, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Las Palmas, Spain)
Jacques Bulchand-Gidumal (Institute of Tourism and Sustainable Development, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Las Palmas, Spain)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Publication date: 4 July 2016



The purpose of this paper is to analyze the consequences of an unexplored and real worker behavior on the internet (worker electronic word of mouth (weWOM)) for human resource image, as well as to analyze its impact on job seekers and employee’s intentions and attitudes.


The research objectives were tested through a web-based experiment based on real weWOM. Through a self-selected sample procedure, 238 individuals were exposed to three types of weWOM: positive, negative, and intermediate.


Depending on the kind of weWOM people see on the internet, perceived HR image changes. Positive, intermediate, and negative weWOM produce different behavioral intentions with respect to different recruiting aspects. weWOM also influences two important employee attitudes and resulted more credible than firms’ recognitions.

Research limitations/implications

The sample is a convenience one. Since managers may be reluctant to admit weWOM’s credibility the relationship between weWOM and other employees’ attitudes data should be analyzed.

Practical implications

weWOM may constitute an indicator for anticipating applicants’ key behavior (intention to apply, intention to recommend a company, and compensation demands). In order to stimulate it companies should generate relevant information about the most common categories of weWOM and place it on the employer review websites. Additionally, if weWOM is positive it can be used to create a positive external constructed image among the staff.

Social implications

weWOM is a current phenomenon without information about its implications. Most of the websites that host it are free accessible. This research offers specific data about how people react to it.


Employer review websites are probably the preferred channels to express work-related WOM. Nevertheless the current spread of the internet only one study has been conducted about it. This research fits in the current social media age and sheds new information about this kind of communication. The findings contribute to strengthen the theory about how organizational image is built showing that WOM and social media exposure are significant determinants of two types of organizational images. Also we contribute to the theory about recruitment showing detailed information regarding what may occurs during the first phases of this practice.



Melián-González, S. and Bulchand-Gidumal, J. (2016), "Worker word of mouth on the internet", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 37 No. 4, pp. 709-723.

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