Manipulation CheckThree items displaying the participants’ perceptions regarding the entrepreneurial orientation of the job-advertisements, the advertising organization, and employees working at the advertising organization were used to verify the manipulation efforts. They were averaged due to their high intercorrelation (?=0.77). The 2 (gender: men vs. women) × 2 (job-advertisement wording: entrepreneurial vs.
neutral) ANOVA revealed that participants who read the entrepreneurial job-advertisement (M = 5.60 on a 1 strongly disagree to 7 strongly agree scale, SD = 0.74) scored significantly higher on this entrepreneurial-orientation scale than those who read the neutral worded job-advertisement (M = 5.13, SD = 0.84), F(1, 104) = 9.
65, p < 0.01, ?² = 0.09, observed power = 0.87.Hypotheses TestingThe results of conditional process analysis are presented in Table 2 (p.
18). The table displays the unstandardized regression coefficients of the predictors of perceived gender diversity (Model 1), expected treatment (Model 2), and organizational attractiveness (Model 3).It was predicted that job-seekers perceive a lower proportion of women working for the advertising organization if they read the job-advertisement with a higher proportion of entrepreneurial words compared to those who read the neutral worded job-advertisement. The conditional process analysis revealed that advertisement wording (dummy coded: 0 = neutral worded, 1 = entrepreneurial worded) predicted perceived gender diversity (b=-1.25, p< 0.01), so that participants expected less women in the advertising organization if they read the entrepreneurial worded job-advertising. Additionally, a 2 (condition: entrepreneurial vs.
neutral worded) × 2 (gender: men vs. women) ANOVA found a significant main effect of the wording, F(1, 104) =21.13, p < 0.01, ?² = 0.
17, observed power = 0.995. More importantly, the wording x gender interaction did not emerge, F(1, 104) = 1.
23, p = 0,27 ?² = 0.01, observed power = 0.19. Hence, women and men similarly perceived a lower proportion of females working for the advertising organization after reading a job-advertisement containing a higher percentage of entrepreneurial words. Therefore, hypothesis 1 is supported.The analysis further stated that the reduction in the perceived proportion of female employees resulting from the entrepreneurial signals of the job-advertisement predicts organizational attractiveness (b= 0.33, p<0.01) whereby a significant main effect of gender (b= 2.
62, p<0.01) and a significant interaction effect (b= -0.53, p<0.01) occurred. Hence, in general, men score higher on organizational attractiveness than women and significant differences regarding the effects of women and men on different values of the predictor variable (i.e.
gender diversity) exist (gender was dummy coded: 0 = women, 1 = men). The conditional effects of the focal predictor (see also plotted interaction in Figure 2, p. 17) displayed that women who perceive more female employees (i.
e. more gender diversity) in the advertising organization feel more attracted to this organization (b= 0.33, p<0.01) while men rate the organization as less attractive when perceiving more gender diversity and thus a higher proportion of women in the organization (b= -0.2, p<0.05).
Concluding from this, hypothesis 2 is supported. Figure 2. Conditional effects of gender diversity perceptions on organizational attractiveness perceptions among male and female job-seekers.Looking additionally at the indirect effect of job-advertisement wording on organizational attractiveness via perceived gender diversity, this indirect effect was found to be significant (b= 0.66, 95% CI 0.29, 1.
12). Concerning a gender difference, women who read the entrepreneurial worded job-advertisement found organizations less attractive, at least in part, because of the corresponding decrease in perceived female employees (b= -0.41, 95% CI -0.74, -0.
14). Men on the other side who perceived the entrepreneurial signals of the recruitment material were more attracted to the organization, partially because they expect less women working for the advertising organization (b= 0.26, 95% CI 0.
08, 0.48).Gender was additionally assumed to influence the relationship between perceived gender diversity and expected treatment whereby female job-seekers who perceive a higher percentage of women working in the advertising organization believe to receive more favorable treatment.
Conversely, men perceiving more women in the prospective organization will expect less favorable treatment by the future employer. The conditional process analysis (Model 2) showed that perceived gender diversity significantly affected expected treatment (b= 0.31, p<0.01). Additionally, a main effect of gender (b=1.
28, p<0.01) and the interaction term (b= -0.2, p<0.05) occurred. Looking at the specific values of the moderator gender, it is displayed that for male job-seekers, the relationship between perceived gender diversity and expected treatment is insignificant (b= 0.
1, p=0.13) while it is significantly positive for women (b= 0.31, p<0.01). Hence, while for women the expected treatment by the future employer is influenced by the perceived proportion of women working for the advertising organization, men's treatment expectations are not impacted by the perception of gender diversity. In conclusion, the hypothesis 3a can only be partially supported.Hypothesis 3b states that regardless of gender the treatment expectations are positively related to organizational attractiveness.
The output of the conditional process analysis revealed that indeed treatment expectations are significantly positively related to the ratings of organizational attractiveness (b= 0.8, p<0.01). An additional moderation analysis revealed that no differences between women and men occur (b= 0.45, p=0.06) and that female as well as male job-seekers feel more attracted to the organization when they expect a more favorable treatment (b= 0.65, p<0.
01). Hypothesis 3b is therefore supported.Table 2Results from Conditional PROCESS AnalysisVariable Model 1Outcome Variable Perceived Gender Diversity Model 2Outcome Variable Expected Treatment Model 3Outcome Variable Organizational AttractivenessIntercept 5.
14** 3.54** -0.90Job-Advertisement -1.25** – -Perceived Gender Diversity 0.31** 0.33**Expected Treatment 0.80**Gender 1.28** 2.
63**Interaction Effects Gender X Perceived Gender Diversity -0.20* -0.53** Female Job-Seekers 0.
31** 0.33** Male Job-Seekers 0.10 -0.
20* R²-Change 0.05 0.29F-Test 20.
42** 9.27** 26.26**Note. n = 108. Job-advertisement: neutral worded = 0, entrepreneurial worded = 1. Gender: female= 0, male = 1* p < 0.
05, ** p < 0.01The fourth hypothesis concerning the moderated serial mediation model expects that the proportion of entrepreneurial words observed in start-up job-advertisements influences organizational attractiveness via perceived gender diversity and the treatment expectations. Moreover, conditional dependencies on gender are assumed.
A higher proportion of female employees will lead to favorable treatment expectations among women and to higher organizational attractiveness. Contrarily, male job-seekers perceiving a higher proportion of female employees in the organization will have lower expectations of favorable treatment and perceive the organization as less attractive. The results of the conditional process analysis showed that overall the indirect effect via the two proposed mediators is not significant (b= 0.2, 95% CI -0.03, 0.44). Examining the indirect effects separately for female and male job-seekers, it is displayed that for men the indirect effect is negative but insignificant (b= -0.1, 95% CI -0.
32, 0.04) while it is significantly negative for women (b= -0.31, 95% CI -0.55, -0.13).
Therefore women, who perceived the entrepreneurial signals of the recruitment material, are less attracted to the organization because they expect less women working for the advertising organization and cue that they will be treated unfavorably by the prospective employer. The main reason for the absence of the indirect effect for male job-seekers is caused by the fact that men’s expected treatment was not predicted by their perception of gender diversity (b= 0.1, p=0.13). As a significant indirect effect was only found for female job-seekers, hypothesis 4 is partially supported.DiscussionThis study proposed that depending on the wording used by start-ups in their job-advertisements, job-seekers would differently perceive attractiveness of start-ups and this depended on their own gender. Partial support for the proposed model was found. First, when a job-advertisement contained a higher number of entrepreneurial words, a lower gender diversity was identified based on the expectations that a lower proportion of female employees work for the advertising organization.
These perceptions further led women to believe that they will face unfavorable treatment within this organization and they were less attracted to the organization compared to men. Conversely, men who perceived less women within the advertising firm rated the organization as more attractive whereby this relationship was not explained by treatment expectations such as in the case of female job-seekers. The latter finding that men’s attraction toward an organization is not dependent on their perception of gender diversity is in line with the results of Gaucher et al. (2011) who believe that masculine wording in job-advertisements mainly keeps women out of stereotypical male occupations.
Interpretation of Findings and Theoretical ContributionsFirst of all, by investigating the effect of entrepreneurial wording on perception of gender diversity, this research contributes to the growing body of recruitment literature examining the effects of signals in recruitment material. Entrepreneurial wording was found to induce a perception of a masculine dominated workforce in the advertising organization which highlights how gender and occupational stereotypes can explain gender inequalities found in start-ups. Entrepreneurship is stereotypically associated with masculine traits (Gupta et al., 2009; Rauch & Frese, 2007; Short et al., 2010) and the results of the present study confirm this assumption as the entrepreneurial worded job-advertisements were identified as more entrepreneurial as well as more masculine than a neutral worded job-advertisement. Therefore, support for signaling theory is found which points out that job-seeker use the available information to evaluate organizational characteristics (e.g.
masculinity of the occupation). Moreover, as the stereotype of entrepreneurship being male dominated holds, the conclusion can be made that wording in job-advertisements influences, at least in part, women to avoid entrepreneurial activities because the occupation ‘entrepreneur’ does not match their own characteristics (Celani & Singh, 2011). Women in this study were found to be more attracted to an organization when they perceived higher gender diversity concerning the workforce while men generally scored higher on organizational attractiveness in the presented study. The latter might display a confirmation of entrepreneurship being a male-stereotyped occupation. Contributing to the increasing examination of barriers that arise already prior to the hiring act and factors which prevent women’s inclusion in traditionally masculine occupations (Bian et al., 2017; Gaucher et al., 2011) the results point out that entrepreneurial wording and stereotype beliefs might present an aspect that explains gender inequalities in start-ups. Furthermore, the results underline the assumption that gender stereotypical language is most appealing if it is conformable with peoples’ own gender (Gaucher et al.
, 2011).Next to that, a contribution is presented to the research field of person-organization fit by explaining how perceptions of gender diversity can lead among men and women to different ratings of organizational attractiveness based on their perception of value fit between their own and the organization’s values. As displayed in the results, women cue a more unfavorable treatment the less women they perceive in the advertising organization, and they further feel less attracted to this organization. This finding supports the idea inherent to person-organization fit which proposes that a higher fit of values leads to higher commitment and attraction among employees (Kristof-brown, Zimmerman, & Johnson, 2005). Although findings show that men feel more attracted to an organization if they expect dominantly male employees, their level of attraction was not influenced by their treatment expectations. Hence, the assumption might arise that men do not cue more or less favorable treatment depending on the gender diversity they perceive in an organization.
Limitations and Directions for Future ResearchNext to the valuable contributions provided by this study, there are some limitations too. First, the method of collecting data via questionnaires displays the problem that this study was not able to capture individual socialization processes and identification with gender stereotypes. Extended knowledge about a person’s gender identification (instead of simply displaying the sex) and the beliefs about gender stereotypes would have displayed valuable additional information to judge the findings regarding the influence of entrepreneurial wording on gender diversity perceptions. Moreover, the cross-sectional design of the experiment makes it impossible to examine the proposed model over time thus causality between the focal variables cannot be determined.
Furthermore, by measuring organizational attractiveness the actual behavioral intention to apply was not captured (Gaucher et al., 2011) which is the ultimate aim of the recruiting organization. Even though organizational attractiveness is seen as a precondition for job pursuit intentions (Highhouse et al., 2003) future researcher should include this variable into their model to measure actual job choice. In the same vein, the experimental design and its practical constraints only allowed for a hypothetical job-advertisement which limits the value of the outcomes.
Another limitation due to the sample specification is that the results do not offer any insights regarding actual job-seekers. It would be of interest to repeat this study with participants who developed work experiences and whom are currently looking for employment. Regardless of gender or employment situation, there is a strong ground to believe that job-seekers do react differently to signals from job-advertisement based on their individual values and characteristics (Gully, Phillips, Castellano, Han, & Kim, 2013; Kim & Gelfand, 2003; Phillips, Gully, Mccarthy, Castellano, & Kim, 2014; Rau & Hyland, 2003). Therefore, measures of individual differences such as the Big Five or self-efficacy should be included as moderating effects in future models. Another limitation of the study is that no conclusion can be made about how the positioning of entrepreneurial words might have an effect or if certain words were more powerful than others. Future research should take the features of wording in the job-advertisements into account.
It might be that the location of the entrepreneurial wording had an impact on the applicant’s perception whereby entrepreneurial wording used in the company description could lead to a more general perception of entrepreneurial orientation of the firm. The entrepreneurial wording used in the description of tasks that need to be performed could lead job-seekers to believe that predominantly the job instead of the whole organization is entrepreneurial orientated. Regarding the analyses undertaken, it should be noted that the PROCESS version 3.0 with the feature of self-conceptualizing models was shortly released and lacks verification. In addition, due to the constrains of the new feature it was not possible to conduct the analysis with the recommended 10,000 bootstrap samples for such a complex model (Hayes, 2013). This research was further not able to include control variables in the conceptualized model. However, mean comparisons showed beforehand that participants in the two conditions did not significantly differ on the key variables. The same was found while comparing women and men.
Practical ImplicationsLooking at the results one could assume that entrepreneurial words should be banned from start-up job-advertisement to attract women as well to entrepreneurial jobs. However, the wording needs to be considered carefully to improve recruitment outcomes. Entrepreneurial words do signal important characteristics of new ventures such as openness to explore new things or willingness to take risks which are important values necessary for employees to possess when working for a new venture.
If start-ups would leave these words out the chance of a good person-organization fit could be undermined (Cardon & Stevens, 2004; Moser et al., 2017; Phillips, Gully, & Castellano, 2014). Nevertheless, strategically worded job-advertisements may provide the potential to improve the recruitment outcomes for start-ups. Through the study’s findings, organizations have a better understanding of the influence that entrepreneurial wording has on male and female job-applicants as well as their treatment expectations and attraction toward the organization. Therefore, start-ups can facilitate their gender diversity by attracting more women if they thoroughly deliberate on the proportion of entrepreneurial words in their job-advertisements. Moreover, valuable information for organization can be found in the fact that favourable treatment expectations are directly positively related to organizational attractiveness which shows the importance of the need to increase the perception of good treatment to enhance their appeal among job-seekers (Jones et al.
, 2014).As well as providing theoretical ramifications, this study contains many practical implications of relevance for people in the field of HR management. Indeed, the results will enable organizations to better understand how job-seekers react on entrepreneurial recruiting messages and this may help start-ups to enhance the quality and fit of applicants. Furthermore, it may act as a guide on possible alternatives regarding how to generate job-advertisements with the aim to decrease barriers for women to enter the field of entrepreneurship. Hence, this research may offer explanations of how to create equal job-opportunities.
Finally, the study contributes to the broader society by eventually eliminating possible barriers for women which in return fosters the opportunity for increased economic activity, innovation and the creation of jobs (Kelley, Singer, & Herrington, 2012; Shane & Venkataraman, 2000; Sweida & Reichard, 2013).Overall, this research proposes that entrepreneurial wording in start-ups’ job-advertisement influences the stereotype of the entrepreneurial occupation as being masculine and further leads to less attraction among female job-seeker. A neutral worded job-advertisement increased the perception of gender diversity and enhanced the appeal women have towards the advertising organization. The wording of start-up job-advertisements therefore, highlights at least in part, an explanation for the gender inequality in the field of entrepreneurship.