Organizational Culture: Attracting Job Applicants by Advertising the “Softer Side”

Topic: Recruiting, Gender
Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology (WINTER 2010)
Article: The impact of organizational culture on attraction and recruitment of job applicants
Authors: D. Catanzaro, H. Moore, T.R. Marshall
Reviewed By:
Rebecca Eckart

Organizational culture is typically described as the collective set of values and norms shared by members of an organization. Recently, researchers have started to categorize organizational cultures as either being “supportive” or “competitive” in nature. Supportive cultures value collaboration, equality, supportiveness, and work-life balance, whereas organizations with a competitive culture typically value individualism, ambition, rewards, and a focus on one’s career.

In a recent study, Catanzaro, Moore, and Marshall (2010) examined how beliefs about the organization’s culture impacts male and female applicants’ job pursuit, organizational preference, and organizational choice. They found that overall, both men and women would rather pursue a job with a supportive organization, even if that meant accepting less compensation. However, when presented with a job in a competitive organizational culture, men are more likely than women to pursue the job. Participants indicated that they would rather work for the supportive organization because it allows for more work-life balance and appears more concerned for its employees.

This finding provides leverage for organizations hoping to attract top talent but lack the financial resources to contend with competitors. Organizations hoping to attract more eligible applicants might actually consider advertising and emphasizing more of its “supportive” cultural values (e.g., flexibility, teamwork, and work-family balance) instead of just the “competitive” values (e.g., high financial rewards, rapid advancement).

Catanzaro, D., Moore, H., & Marshall, T.R. (2010). The impact of organizational culture on attraction and recruitment of job applicants. Journal of Business and Psychology, 25 (4), 649-662.