Wanted: Knowledge workers for foreign firms in developed markets

Date created: 
Organizational attractiveness
Cultural intelligence
Knowledge worker

Competition in attracting talented employees can be tough, particularly for firms looking for knowledge workers. How will foreign firms fare in this competition, if potential employees assess their own level of person-organization fit, based on the firms’ country of origin (COO), long before any job offer is made? In order to explore the question of what influences an individual’s attraction to a foreign firm, I conducted a mixed-methods investigation of the organizational attractiveness (OA) of foreign firms that enter developed markets, from the perspective of person-organization fit. First, I developed a model that illustrates the effect of various factors on the OA of foreign firms in developed markets. The first of the factors that may influence a potential applicant’s assessment of their fit with a generic foreign firm was predicted to be the applicant’s perception of tone of news coverage of the firm’s COO in the media. A second factor is the prior experience that potential applicants may have had with people from the foreign firm’s COO. Both of these factors were predicted to be moderated by the potential applicants’ level of cultural intelligence and their affinity with the firm’s COO. A third factor was the potential applicants’ preference for a type of psychological contract. An online survey of knowledge workers in Canada tested this model. The perception of tone of news coverage showed a positive, significant relationship with OA. Many firms utilize the assistance of labour market intermediaries to attract potential employees. Thus, my second study in this dissertation investigated how the foreignness of firms affected the work of headhunters as they sought to attract candidates for the firms. Due to the exploratory nature of this research, I conducted interviews to address these questions.

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This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
Mila Lazarova
Beedie School of Business Faculty: Segal Graduate School
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.