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Managing organizational attractiveness after a negative employer review : company response strategies and review consensus

  • Carpentier, Marieke
  • Van Hoye, Greet
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2021
DOI: 10.1080/1359432x.2020.1718748
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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Online negative reviews about organisations as employers can have a negative impact on potential applicants’ organisational attractiveness. However, due to a lack of research, organisations do not know how to manage attitudes after a negative review. Based on attribution theory and signalling theory, we conducted two experimental studies investigating the effect of two response strategies to a negative review on organisational attractiveness: a denial and an accommodative response. The results of a first study show that a denial results in higher organisational attractiveness compared to not responding and that this effect is explained by lower review credibility and higher organisational trustworthiness. No difference was found between an accommodative response and no response in terms of organisational attractiveness. A second study shows that when consensus information (conceptualised as high agreement amongst a large number of reviews) was added, company responses did not influence organisational attractiveness, regardless whether reviewers agreed about the organisation as a good or a poor place to work. Overall, the findings imply that responding to a negative employer review can influence potential applicants’ perceptions, but when there is high agreement amongst a large number of reviews, an organisation’s ability to manage organisational attractiveness through responding seems limited.

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