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/approachIn 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.FindingsAlcohol 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/valueThis is the first study to investigate managerial SNW content and it effects upon prospective job seekers’ attitudes.
Evidence-based HRM: a Global Forum for Empirical Scholarship – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 15, 2019
Keywords: Social media; Personnel selection; Organizational attraction; Alcohol abuse; Brunswick lens model; Social networking websites; Warranting hypothesis