This paper explores a systematic inconsistency in the impact of social information on reactions to hypothetical job descriptions. When evaluating hypothetical job offers separately, individuals tend to be influenced more by social information, such as information concerning the outcomes of comparison others and procedural justice information about the job, than by their own outcome. In contrast, when making choices among multiple offers, individuals rely more on their own outcome. We argue that when individuals have only a single offer, they use the salaries of comparison others and procedural justice information concerning the job to interpret the worth of that offer because they lack an alternative referent. However, when they have multiple offers, they can easily compare their own outcomes across offers and thus rely less on comparison others and procedural justice information. In Study 1, we examined the relative importance of absolute salary versus relative salary (difference in salary from comparison others) in hypothetical job choices. Subjects exhibited greater concern for relative salary when evaluating single job offers than when evaluating multiple job offers simultaneously. In Study 2, we examined the relative importance of absolute salary versus procedural justice in hypothetical job choices. Subjects exhibited a greater concern for procedural justice when evaluating single job offers than when evaluating multiple job offers simultaneously.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||27|
|Journal||Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes|
|State||Published - Dec 1994|