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Unpacking Employer Branding in the Information Technology Industry

Time: Tue 2020-04-21 15.00

Location: Vid fysisk närvaro eller Du som saknar dator/ datorvana kan kontakta (English), Stockholm (English)

Subject area: Industrial Economics and Management

Doctoral student: Amir Dabirian , Industriell Marknadsföring och Entreprenörskap

Opponent: Professor John Ford, Old Dominion University, USA

Supervisor: Universitets lektor Terrence E. Brown, Industriell ekonomi och organisation (Inst.)

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Attracting and retaining the best talent is a concern, particularly for knowledge-based firms in high-turnover industries, which rely on a limited supply of highly qualified individuals (Ewing, Pitt, De Bussy, & Berthon, 2002). In 2014, 36% of global employers criticized talent shortages, and in a 2015 study, 73% of CEOs reported being concerned about the availability of workers with key skills (Mosley, 2015). Employer branding is a key human resource and marketing strategy that contributes to the company’s brand, enhances the firm’s reputation as a great place for employees to work, and attracts a new workforce (Ahmad & Daud, 2016). An employer brand’s and its employer branding value propositions’ (EBV) ability to attract new employees and increase retention will provide benefits for the entire organization.

EBV defines the employer’s attractiveness (Berthon et al., 2005), is a key aspect of the employer branding process, and provides differentiation for the firm (Alnıaçık & Alnıaçık, 2012; Backhaus & Tikoo, 2004; Berthon et al., 2005; Leekha Chhabra & Sharma, 2014; Moroko & Uncles, 2008) to attract and retain employees. Existing research viewed employer branding and its EBV from one or two views—employee or employer—and lacked multiview approaches to employer branding and employer attractiveness. This research focused on a holistic approach and addressed the question: “How do different EBVs affect the perceptions of employer attractiveness? To answer this question holistically, the following research subquestions emerged:

RQ1: How do employees perceive the EBV of employer attractiveness?

RQ2: How do current and former employees perceive the EBV of employer attractiveness?

RQ3: How do potential employees perceive the EBV of employer attractiveness?

RQ4: How do employers manage how employees perceive EBV?

This research consisted of four empirical papers and focused on the information technology (IT) industry context. The first study focused on employee views from all industries, whereas the second study concentrated on the IT industry and compared current and former employees. Study 3 considered potential employees in the IT industry and operationalized the employee attractiveness construct and EBVs. The final study explored EBVs from the employer’s view in an IT firm and compared its employees’ views regarding the psychological contract. The design of this research is a mixed approach with descriptive and exploratory methodologies. IBM Watson’s artificial intelligence content analysis was used in Studies 1, 2, and 4.

Contributions to the body of knowledge includes operationalizing the employee attractiveness construct as a set of EBVs. This research viewed EBVs holistically and extended the set of EBVs from five to eight value propositions for the IT industry. It also defined employer brand intelligence as a tool for practitioners to develop insights for their employer brand.

The document is organized with an introductory chapter describing the overall research approach, followed by a literature review chapter, methodology chapter, and summary of findings and contributions. The four papers are included in the final chapter.