Job seekers looking to land a role in an altruistic organization may feel too guilty to demand higher pay, according to a new study from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin.
Both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations are increasingly using what is called “social impact framing,” which asserts that their work has social benefits for society.
Although companies may have quite noble intentions when using social influence framing, a recent study by Texas McCombs Assistant Professor of Management, Insiya Hussain shows how it can work against potential employees during salary negotiations. Specifically, job candidates who have been exposed to such letters feel it would be against company standards to ask for higher pay.
“This speaks to a broader social phenomenon around the way we view money when it comes to doing good,” Hussain said. “There is an implicit assumption that money and altruism don’t mix. Money spoils attempts to do good. Even if job candidates don’t necessarily agree with that view, they assume hiring managers will.”
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Hussain and co-authors Marco Pizza and Michael Shearer of Singapore Management University and Stephan Tho of INSEAD found that job candidates who were subjected to social impact framing refrained from negotiating for higher salaries because they felt uncomfortable with the ‘question’.
They were concerned that demanding greater material reward when the organization emphasized altruistic goals might be seen as inappropriate by those with employment power, and thus might be viewed unfavorably.
The researchers describe this situation as the “self-censorship” effect, which Hussain said is a new finding for research into social influence framing and wage demands. Previous work assumed that candidates sacrificed wages for meaningful work. Hussein and colleagues show that this effect may be driven by job candidates feeling uncomfortable with such negotiations.
It is unclear whether companies intentionally use the social impact framing to suppress wages. But, regardless, the researchers suggest that managers be aware of what it might cost the company in terms of human resources. They suggest that if managers are educated about their motivation purity bias, they can improve their approach to potential employees who ask for material rewards.
They also recommend that managers create greater transparency about the company’s standards and values regarding compensation, and that they offer job rewards based on objective criteria rather than salary negotiations.
“Job seekers can consider whether companies that emphasize social impact take care of their employees – financial or otherwise,” Hussain said. Nor should companies assume that extrinsically motivated workers have no interest in the job and are not willing to work hard in order to perform well.
Insiya Hussain et al., Wage suppression in contexts of social impact: How framing work around the common good prevents job candidate compensation demands, Organization flag (2023). DOI: 10.1287/orsc.2023.1675
the quote: Altruism Can Make Job Seekers Afraid of Salary Negotiation (2023, May 4) Retrieved May 4, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-05-altruism-jobseekers-salary.html
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