جستجوی کار به عنوان رفتار هدفمند: اهداف و روشها
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|26729||2008||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||7363 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Vocational Behavior, Volume 73, Issue 3, December 2008, Pages 358–367
This study investigated the relationship between job search objectives (finding a new job/turnover, staying aware of job alternatives, developing a professional network, and obtaining leverage against an employer) and job search methods (looking at job ads, visiting job sites, networking, contacting employment agencies, contacting employers, and submitting applications). In a sample of 205 employed individuals from Belgium and Romania, job search objectives were significantly related to job search methods even after job satisfaction was controlled. Furthermore, particular objectives predicted specific methods. While the finding a new job/turnover objective predicted all search methods, staying aware of alternatives predicted using job ads and sites; the network objective predicted networking and contacting employers; and the leverage objective predicted contacting employers. Results suggest that search objectives are important for understanding job seekers’ search behavior and support the view that job search is a self-regulatory process that begins with objectives which activate search behavior.
The mobility of the workforce has increased drastically over the last decade as individuals search for work following job loss and pursue opportunities to advance their careers (Saks, 2005). Job search has become so pervasive and frequent that it is now considered to be an integral part of people’s worklife (Kanfer, Wanberg, & Kantrowitz, 2001). At the same time, there has been a dramatic increase in research on the prediction of job search behavior and employment outcomes (Saks, 2005). In their meta-analysis, Kanfer et al. (2001) found that personality traits, self-evaluations, motives, social context, and biographical variables were significantly related to job search behavior and that job search behavior was related to employment outcomes. Given that job search is typically conceptualized as a self-regulatory process initiated by goals (Kanfer et al., 2001 and Saks, 2005), an important limitation of previous research has been the failure to consider the role of job search objectives. As noted by Boswell, Boudreau, and Dunford (2004), there is little understanding of job seekers’ goals or objectives for engaging in job search. This is perhaps not so surprising given that most research assumes that the main if not only objective of job seekers is to find a new job (Kanfer et al., 2001). However, job search does not always result in turnover or employment and there are many other reasons for job seekers to engage in job search, especially for employed individuals, such as seeking bargaining leverage to improve one’s present job situation (Boswell et al., 2004). Research on job search objectives is important because job seekers’ search behavior is likely to depend in large part on their job search objectives. For example, if job seekers’ objective is to develop a network of professional relationships, they might make more use of search methods allowing them to meet and talk to other people. Thus, the study of job search objectives is important for better understanding the job search process (Kanfer et al., 2001). In addition, previous research has typically operationalized job search behavior as overall job search intensity, a composite measure of various search methods (Kanfer et al., 2001). Although some research has investigated general job search categories (e.g., preparatory versus active, Blau, 1994) or strategies (e.g., focused versus exploratory versus haphazard, Crossley & Highhouse, 2005), we know very little about job seekers’ use of specific job search methods. However, a few recent studies have found that job seekers vary in their use of particular search methods (e.g., looking at job ads versus contacting employment agencies, Wanberg, Glomb, Song, & Sorenson, 2005) and that some methods (e.g., networking) have specific determinants (e.g., networking comfort) that are not predictive of other methods (Wanberg, Kanfer, & Banas, 2000). Along these lines, the present study contributes to the job search literature by investigating the relationship between distinct job search objectives (i.e., what the job seeker wants to achieve) and specific job search methods (i.e., the activities that the job seeker will engage in to achieve his/her objectives). We believe that job seekers’ variation in the use of specific search methods might be explained by the extent to which they are pursuing different job search objectives. On a theoretical level, the current study aims to enhance our understanding of job search as a self-regulatory process that begins with objectives that activate job search behavior. While most unemployed job seekers probably engage in job search primarily to find a job, employed individuals are likely to show more variation in their pursuit of job search objectives. Therefore, similar to Boswell et al. (2004), we test our hypotheses in a sample of employed job seekers. In Section 2, we discuss job search objectives in more detail followed by the study hypotheses.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The present study contributes to and extends the job search literature by examining the relationship between four types of job search objectives and six specific search methods in a sample of employed job seekers. Our study yields several important conclusions that enhance our knowledge of the job search process. First, we found that job search objectives explained incremental variance in employed job seekers’ use of particular search methods, beyond their level of satisfaction with their current job. Moreover, job satisfaction was no longer a significant predictor of search methods once the objectives were entered into the regression analyses. Given that previous research has found job satisfaction to be a strong predictor of employees’ search behavior (Blau, 1994, Bretz et al., 1994 and Van Hooft et al., 2004), this finding provides an important extension of research on job search and employee turnover. Second, we found that job search objectives were differentially related to job search methods, indicating that they can help explain variation in job seekers’ use of distinct search strategies (Wanberg et al., 2005). This is in line with Kanfer et al.’s (2001) conceptualization of job search as a self-regulatory process, “that begins with the identification and commitment to pursuing an employment goal. The employment goal, in turn, activates search behavior designed to bring about the goal.” (p. 838). This suggests that different objectives are likely to elicit the use of different search methods that are most suited to accomplish those objectives. In line with our expectations, we found that job seekers who engaged in job search to find a new job/pursue turnover were likely to use all job search methods more frequently. This corroborates previous research reporting a positive relationship of general job search intensity with voluntary turnover (Griffeth et al., 2000) and with finding new employment (Kanfer et al., 2001). Furthermore, this suggests that finding a new job/turnover remains an important objective for explaining employees’ job search behavior. However, the extent to which employed individuals engaged in various job search activities was predicted by other objectives as well. In fact, for some search methods, the finding a new job/turnover objective was not the strongest predictor. This is in line with previous research indicating that job search behavior does not always result in turnover (Bretz et al., 1994). As predicted, passive job seekers who engaged in job search to stay aware of alternative job opportunities were more likely to use passive job search methods such as looking at job ads and visiting job sites. This supports Boswell et al.’s (2002) finding that the staying aware objective was more strongly related to preparatory than to active search behavior. However, given that job search is a dynamic, recursive process, the results of this passive job search (e.g., the identification of attractive job alternatives) might subsequently stimulate job seekers to pursue a finding a new job/turnover objective, which in turn would trigger other search methods as well (Griffeth et al., 2000, Kanfer et al., 2001 and Steel, 2002). By comparison, job seekers who were motivated by the objective to develop and maintain a network of professional relationships were more likely to apply search methods involving human contact such as networking and contacting employers, and to a lesser extent contacting employment agencies and submitting applications. Conversely, the network objective was not a significant predictor of more passive methods such as looking at job ads and visiting job sites, which would not allow job seekers to meet other people who might be able to assist them in their work or career (Forret & Dougherty, 2001). This demonstrates how understanding job seekers’ objectives for engaging in job search helps to explain their use of particular search methods aimed at obtaining those specific objectives. With respect to the objective of obtaining bargaining leverage against a current or potential employer, we only found a positive relationship for contacting employers and not for submitting applications. This was unexpected given that the pursuit of job offers (through submitting applications) is likely to enhance job seekers’ bargaining position by compelling the employer to make a better counteroffer (Boswell et al., 2004). However, the results of previous research have been mixed as well. Whereas Boswell et al., 2002 and Boswell et al., 2004 observed a positive relationship between the leverage objective and employees’ use of job alternatives as bargaining leverage against their employer, the objective to obtain leverage was not significantly related to active job search behavior. Future research might shed more light on this issue by including the actual number of job offers received by job seekers as an outcome. 6.1. Implications for research and practice The results of this study support the call for future research on job search objectives to enhance our understanding of job search and job seekers’ use of particular search methods (Boswell et al., 2002 and Boswell et al., 2004). A first interesting avenue for future research would be to investigate search objectives among unemployed job seekers. Even though most unemployed people are likely to engage in job search primarily to find a job, they might have additional reasons for applying specific search methods, such as developing their professional network. Moreover, other objectives might be relevant for unemployed job seekers (e.g., searching to comply with the requirements for receiving unemployment benefits). A second fruitful area for future research would be to broaden the criteria of job search success. Most previous studies have operationalized job search success as the number of job offers, search duration, and finding employment (Kanfer et al., 2001). However, the current study suggests that job search outcomes should be measured in terms of job seekers’ specific objectives (Kanfer et al., 2001) as different objectives might be related to different outcomes. Along these lines, Boswell et al. (2004) found that the obtaining leverage objective was related to actual leverage use but not to turnover, whereas the turnover objective was associated with turnover but not with leverage use. A third area for future research would be to investigate the relationships between job seekers’ objectives, use of particular search methods, and success in obtaining their objectives. Although the current results indicate that search objectives are associated with specific search methods, we do not know if those search methods lead to the accomplishment of the objectives. This is an important topic for future research to provide guidance to job seekers as to which methods are most effective for achieving particular objectives. A final promising direction for future research would be to investigate personality and situational variables as predictors of different job search objectives to better understand why job seekers have particular search objectives (Kanfer et al., 2001). For example, Boswell et al. (2004) found that work attributes and individual differences (e.g., importance of work-related rewards) predict leverage-seeking and separation-seeking search objectives. Several practical implications follow from our study. Both employed and unemployed job seekers should first identify their search objectives as part of a job search strategy and carefully consider what specific search methods to use to accomplish those objectives. Job search and career counselors should help job seekers in identifying their search objectives and choosing appropriate search methods in light of those objectives. In addition, organizations should be aware that not all employees who engage in job search activities are actually looking for a new job and are going to quit. Similarly, not all job seekers who apply to an organization are intending to accept job offers. Thus, organizations might benefit by better understanding the search objectives of employed and unemployed job seekers as it has implications for employee retention (e.g., what to do when an employee has a finding a new job/turnover objective versus a networking objective) and applicant attraction (e.g., how to attract job seekers with a finding a new job/turnover objective versus a leverage objective). 6.2. Study limitations This study has a number of limitations that require some caution in the interpretation of the results. First, we relied on self-report measures gathered by a single survey. As a result, the relationships between the variables in our study might be partly a result of common method variance. In addition, the cross-sectional design does not allow us to draw causal conclusions between search objectives and search methods. Moreover, consistent with previous research (Blau, 1994, Boswell et al., 2002 and Boswell et al., 2004), participants were asked to report their job search objectives and methods for the past six months. Therefore, it might be that their responses were to some extent affected by retrospective bias. Along these lines, future longitudinal research with multiple time waves or a diary design would help to better capture the dynamic nature of the relationship between job search objectives and methods. In addition, even though we found that job search objectives were differentially related to job search methods, we were not able to determine their relationship with specific job search outcomes (e.g., turnover, network extension). As noted above, future research should investigate the relationships between job search objectives, methods, and outcomes. Finally, in line with previous research (Boswell et al., 2002 and Boswell et al., 2004), we tested our hypotheses in a sample of employed job seekers. Therefore, our results cannot be generalized to unemployed job seekers without further research. On the positive side, our sample included managerial and non-managerial employees from two countries which should increase the generalizability of the results to other employed job seekers. In conclusion, the results of this study indicate that job seekers have different job search objectives that are differentially related to their use of job search methods. This finding supports the view that job search is a self-regulatory process that begins with search objectives and goals that activate job search behaviors.