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Article
Publication date: 26 November 2018

Christopher A. Ballweg, William H. Ross, Davide Secchi and Chad Uting

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the prevalence and influence of social network website (SNW) content about alcohol use and abuse on job applicant reactions to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the prevalence and influence of social network website (SNW) content about alcohol use and abuse on job applicant reactions to their prospective immediate supervisor and toward applying for the job.

Design/methodology/approach

In Study 1, raters coded photographs and photo captions found on 1,048 personal SNWs of US managers or business owners. Approximately 22 percent of managers’ personal SNWs contained references to alcohol, providing a base rate large enough to warrant further research. In Study 2, laboratory experiment participants saw a fictitious company’s website including a professional managerial profile. A 3 × 3 factorial design then varied whether the prospective manager’s comments on his personal SNW emphasized professional activities, social drinking, or alcohol abuse; also, the manager’s friends’ comments emphasized work activities, social drinking, or alcohol abuse. A control group did not see a personal SNW.

Findings

Alcohol abuse information on personal SNWs – whether posted by the manager or by the manager’s friends – negatively affected attitudes toward the manager. Alcohol abuse information posted by the manager (but not by the manager’s friends) decreased the willingness of participants to apply for the position. These findings were consistent with the Brunswick Lens Model and the warranting hypothesis.

Originality/value

This is the first study to investigate managerial SNW content and it effects upon prospective job seekers’ attitudes.

Details

Evidence-based HRM: a Global Forum for Empirical Scholarship, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-3983

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