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The role of privacy invasion and fairness in understanding job applicant reactions to potentially inappropriate/discriminatory interview questions

Khaldoun I. Ababneh (School of Business Administration, American University In Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Mohammed A. Al-Waqfi (College of Business and Economics, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 7 March 2016



Building on organizational justice and privacy literatures, the purpose of this paper is to test a model capturing the impacts of potentially inappropriate/discriminatory interview questions on job applicant perceptions and behavioral intentions in a developing economy context with a multicultural workforce.


An experimental design using senior undergraduate students (n=221) seeking or about to seek jobs in the United Arab Emirates was used to examine interviewees’ reactions to inappropriate/discriminatory interview questions. A questionnaire was used to collect the data. Structural equation modeling and bootstrapping were used for data analysis and hypothesis testing.


This study demonstrates that inappropriate/discriminatory interview questions influence privacy invasion perceptions, which in turn influence job applicants’ fairness perceptions and behavioral intentions. This study also demonstrates that privacy invasion perceptions fully mediate the effect of inappropriate/discriminatory employment interview questions on fairness perceptions. Moreover, the findings show that privacy invasion directly and indirectly, via fairness perceptions, influence litigation intentions. On the other hand, findings of this study indicate that privacy invasion influence organizational attractiveness and recommendation intentions only indirectly, via fairness perceptions.


This is the first study to examine the impact of inappropriate/discriminatory interview questions on applicant reactions in a developing economy context with social, cultural, and legal environment that is different from those prevailing in developed Western societies. This study demonstrates that privacy invasion is an important mechanism to understand job applicant reactions to inappropriate interview questions.



Ababneh, K.I. and Al-Waqfi, M.A. (2016), "The role of privacy invasion and fairness in understanding job applicant reactions to potentially inappropriate/discriminatory interview questions", Personnel Review, Vol. 45 No. 2, pp. 392-418.



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