In an era of information explosion, employers' information is often disclosed to employees and potential applicants from multiple channels and angles, which are usually combinations of positive and negative signals. How do such uncoordinated brand signals affect the attractiveness of an organization? Building on micro-corporate social responsibility (CSR) literature and three studies, we found that when potential employees perceived imbalanced brand signals of CSR and corporate ability, the positive impact of CSR on organizational attractiveness was strengthened when the company was weaker in its corporate ability. When they perceived conflicting brand signals of corporate social irresponsibility (CSiR) and corporate ability, the negative impact of CSiR on organizational attractiveness was strengthened when the company was stronger in its corporate ability. Supplementary analyses also demonstrated a significant three-way interaction among CSR, CSiR, and corporate ability. When such conflicting brand signals were presented, CSR weakened CSiR's negative impact when corporate ability was stronger. However, when corporate ability was weaker, CSR strengthened the negative impact of CSiR on organizational attractiveness. Our study offers guidance for companies with mixed employer brand signals and suggests enhancing applicant attraction via synergy among a company's public relations, human resources, and marketing functions.
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- corporate ability
- corporate social irresponsibility
- corporate social responsibility
- employer brand
- organizational attractiveness