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Literature Review – Realistic Job Previews

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Prior to the commencement of any occupation, every potential employee will want to know what jobs/duties they will be expected to undertake. However, how much information should potential employees have and to what degree does giving a realistic job preview translate into staff retention/profit to the business. This literature review will firstly look at what a realistic job preview is and its associated benefits. Secondly, examine some tests that have been conducted to justify its use. Thirdly, analyse issues regarding employee attraction.

Fourthly, evaluate what variables affect realistic job previews.

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Lastly assess how realistic job previews should be administered for the greatest success. A realistic job preview (RJP) is a concept within selection and recruitment where potential or new employees are made aware of the actual tasks and duties they are likely to perform while undertaking their job. This is a valuable function, as it exposes employees to all positive and most importantly possible negative functions within their roll.

However in most cases this is a complex activity for both prospective employees and members within the organisation as Dugoni and Ilgen (1981) explain. Both parties need to gather relevant information on one another, whilst still looking attractive’.

Nevertheless, if this is overcome and RJP’s are carried out effectively, they can build trust, minimises the shock associated with starting the new job, build understanding of what is to be expected and as Dean and Wanous (1984) claim, it significantly reduce staff turnover. For example, Dean and Wanous (1984) tested ‘the effects of realistic job previews on hiring bank tellers. ’ They studied 249 new hires over 48 weeks and compared their results with two other control groups.

These new employees had a specific job preview that clearly and significantly had lower initial job expectations compared to the other two groups. Their results showed that there was no difference in initial attitude towards the organisation or in job performance. However the rate at which turnover occurred was significantly different, with quite a few of the control group leaving after a couple of weeks, compared to the group that had RJP which only started to leave after the twentieth week. Another interesting test onducted to examine the effects of realistic job preview was carried out by Meglino (1988). He examined 533, male and female US Army trainees and the effects of two different realistic job previews with regards to turnover and changes in processing responsibilities. The two RJP’s administered looked at the enhancement of overly pessimistic expectations and reduction of overly optimistic expectations.

Their results indicated, “(a) that trainees exposed to the combined previews had significantly (p <. 5) lower turnover, (b) that those exposed only to the reduction preview had significantly (p <. 05) higher turnover, and (c) that the previews administered in all experimental conditions were more effective in reducing turnover (p <. 05) among more intelligent trainees and those initially more committed to the Army” “(a) (trainees) saw the Army as more caring, and trustworthy and honest, (b) were more committed to the Army and more satisfied with their jobs, and (c) experienced less role ambiguity. These results from both the bank teller and US Army trainees are interesting, as far as both represent completely different occupations, which needed to address vastly different realistic job preview issues. However with effective RJP strategies they were both able to reduce staff turnover. There are three main theory’s surrounding why realistic job previews reduce staff turnover rates. Firstly as explained by Porter and Steers (1973) “Prior to employment, such subjects apparently adjusted their job expectations to more realistic levels.

These new levels were then apparently more easily met by the work environment, resulting in reduced turnover. ” In other words the reason why realistic job previews reduce job turnover is most likely due to the fact that it lowers an employee’s job expectation to a level that matches what is actual practice within the work environment. Secondly, as Ilgen and Seely (1974); Dean and Wanous (1984) discussed, another reason why RJP’s reduce turnover is by improving the way a new employee copes on the job, and thus reduces stress.

The hypothesis is, “if employees are made aware of problems to be faced on the job, they cope with such problems better when they arise, either because they are less disturbed by problems about which they have been forewarned or because they may pre rehearse methods of handling these problems. ” The last theory of why RJP reduces turnover is as Dugoni and Ilgen (1981) explains ‘the organisation is forming a sense of honesty and openness to create trust within the recipient. ’ This in turn will create a sense of attractiveness to the employee and subsequently they will not be as likely to leave the organisation.

Whilst there is evidence that realistic job previews can help the long term success of an organisation through reduced staff turnover, there can be downsides if undertaken in an incorrect manor. For example Bretz and Judge (1998) looked at aspects of applicant attraction. ‘This included the weight prospective employees place on negative information in comparison to other factors such as pay level, promotional opportunity and whether the “best” applicants react differently to negative information, in comparison to other applicants. Their results found ‘that applicants place a reasonably high negative association with negative job information. The results also discussed adverse self-selection of the best applicants, meaning that the best applicants may be less willing to undertake a job for which negative information has been presented, as there is a significant opportunity cost connected with their decision. ’ These results show how whilst staff turnover can be decreased, this does not mean that all RJP strategies will be effective.

This is because there may be a chance that the job preview will put off top talent from working with the organisation. Due to the fact realistic job previews are not always effective, it is important to consider the applicant related variables that can influence prospective employees to ensure that wasted time/money and negative results do not ensue. Suszko and Breaugh (1986) wanted to see if applicants would react differently depending on the economic condition. They did this by asking employees “If you had not taken this job, how easy would it have been for you to find another one just as good? This is important as the RJP initiatives may work in different ways depending on how available work is. Their results suggest that, “RJP recipients were more likely to decline job offers… when an RJP is used in conditions in which applicants lack realistic expectations and have the ability to turn down a job they did not see as attractive. ” This leads on to another factor of whether the applicant already has realistic job expectation. As Breaugh (2008) discusses, for many occupations applicants may already have realistic job previews.

A case in point would be applying for a job at the checkout of the local supermarket, most people would know what tasks would be expected of them before they start as they are exposed to the job in their everyday lives. Thus there is no point carrying out RJP activities. Contrary to the factor above Breaugh (2008) explains, it may also be the case that even if an employer attempts to inform a prospective employee of duties they are likely to undertake, the effectiveness of the RJP may be limited due to ‘a of lack experience/self-insight leading to inaccurate predictions’.

For example an employee may be told “you will be on your feet all day,” however unless they have been in a similar job where they have in fact ‘been on their feet all day’ they may dismiss the comment and just presume that they can do it. Therefore it is important to understand a realistic job preview is only as effective as the comprehension ability of the recipient. In order to address the issues associated with applicant related variables, it is important to understand the different methods of RJP to get the best outcome.

Research conducted by Colarelli (1984) which coincidentally also looked at bank tellers, compared the differences between using a 1,500 word brochure, a conversation with an incumbent and a control group. His results found that that the voluntary turnover rate of the three groups within a two months period was, “conversation (13%), brochure (39%), and control group (28%). ” This gives a clear indication that conversation is far better than brochures in conveying realistic job previews that result in reducing turnover.

One can make the assumption that this maybe due to the fact that conversations bring a level of personalisation that the other groups missed out on. Other research in this area conducted by Iles and Robertson (1989) suggested that whilst booklets and videos are the most widespread form of conveying realistic job previews, providing a job simulation to new recruits will supply a superior insight into what abilities will be needed on the job. This is also validated by Breaugh (2008) who also recommends another interactive form of conveying RJP’s would be workplace tours.

This would provide prospective employees a chance to see the organisation ‘physical environment (noise/temperature), degree of workplace interaction (is there an emphasis on teamwork or individual work) and demographics (what are the people working within the organisation like)’. Thus what can be ascertained from the research in this field is that a high level of interactive RJP’s can convey more personally relevant information to prospective employees than conventional methods. With this said RJP’s should be incorporated into a multi staged approach as Breaugh (2008) argues.

This could start initially with the job advertisement and through the company website, followed by further information in a telephone screening interview. For final applicants there could be a worksite tour and a simulation activity. Having multi staged, realistic job previews makes the most sense as within each of these steps the applicant will get a better understanding of what the organisation/job is about and eliminate any chance of misunderstanding from the applicant related variables that were discussed above.

In conclusion, realistic job previews are an effective tool to make sure new employees are aware of the actual tasks and duties they are likely to perform while undertaking their job. It has been proven that because of this newly formed awareness, that employee turnover can be dramatically reduced. However RJP’s must be done in the correct manor as there could be ramifications of deterring top talent away from the organisation. In order to prevent this, the job related variables must be understood and catered for, ideally with in a multi staged process.

Cite this Literature Review – Realistic Job Previews

Literature Review – Realistic Job Previews. (2016, Oct 16). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/literature-review-realistic-job-previews/

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