• BENEATH THE SURFACE IS PURPOSE: A MIXED METHOD EXPLORATION OF PURPOSE-FIT AS A DRIVER OF EMPLOYER ATTRACTION

      Hill, Theodore L.; Chitturi, Pallavi; Harold, Crystal M.; Di Benedetto, C. Anthony (Temple University. Libraries, 2021)
      This dissertation investigates the role of organizational purpose as a driver in attracting employees to employers. The dissertation consists of two related studies both anchored in the literature on employer attraction, defined as the favorable interaction between potential applicants and the images, values, and information about an organization (Coldwell et al., 2008), and perceived fit, defined as the employee’s suitability with the culture and values of the organization (Hinkle, R. K., & Choi, N., 2009). In the first study, semi-structured interviews were performed on 23 prospective job seekers to explore the alignment between personal and organizational purpose in making an employer more attractive. The participants identified the opportunity for professional growth and development, the people with whom one works, and alignment with organizational purpose as key drivers of employer attraction over and above the usual concerns of compensation and job requirements. Interviewees invested in organizational purpose alignment with more emotional intensity; noted that alignment with organizational purpose was sometimes more important than compensation and stability; and suggested that the “pursuit of purpose is privilege” and, as such, influenced by an individual’s economic security. Reconciling these findings with extant theory, a new concept of Purpose-fit is proposed as an additional and important driver of employer attraction. Purpose-fit is defined as the perceived alignment of individual and organizational purpose assessed by job seekers through evaluation of image and reputation, mission and values, social contribution, and meaningful work. The second study utilized a choice-based conjoint survey to investigate the importance and tradeoffs between key drivers of employer attraction, including Purpose-fit, basic salary, opportunities for professional growth and development, and opportunities to work with similar people. The conjoint survey explored the effects of an employee’s generation, individual economic security, and reaction to respondent’s employer response to the social crisis of COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement on the relative importance of Purpose-fit. There were four important findings: 1) Opportunity for professional growth and development was the dominant driver of employer attraction across all demographic segments; 2) Job seekers will trade off some level of salary for Purpose-fit, even if they experience economic insecurity; 3) Contrary to the extant literature, older generations placed more relative importance on Purpose-fit than younger generations; and 4) Prospective job seekers with positive employer experience in response to COVID-19 or Black Lives Matter placed higher relative importance of Purpose-fit, were more willingness to accept less pay, and reported lower levels of active job search. In summary, Purpose-fit emerged as an important driver of employer attraction among prospective job seekers, differentiated by generation, economic security, and positive experience of employers’ response to social crisis, resulting in reported willingness to accept less pay.