Employer attractiveness and employee commitment: the case of a large multinational software company in Ireland.
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This research succeeds in two aspects. Firstly, it gauges the attractiveness of a multinational software company in Ireland (Company X) from the perspective of Masters and undergraduate software engineering students at an associated third level institute (College Y). Secondly, it gauges the commitment type held by existing employees within this company who have graduated from the same third level institute, based on their psychological contract fulfilment. Five recognised dimensions of employer attractiveness, consisting of numerous organisational factors, were adopted in order to identify the factors of most importance to College Y students when evaluating a prospective employer. These five dimensions of employer attractiveness were again used in relation to Company X, as comparative parameters to evaluate how well the students believed Company X succeeded in providing such factors. As empirical research emphasises, employer attractiveness is a result of a process known as ‘employer branding’. Therefore, Company X’s employer branding effectiveness was also evaluated in this context. Findings revealed that considerable importance was placed on all organisational factors under the five dimensions, especially development factors, by College Y students. However, some negative beliefs around Company X existed regarding its provision of certain organisational factors, as well as the effectiveness of its employer branding processes and practices to attract College Y students. Additionally, a number of existing employees’ perspectives were included in terms of their commitment towards Company X, based on the extent to which their implicit expectations had been met post-employment. These implicit expectations, developed prior to and during employment, are otherwise known as the ‘psychological contract’. Based on whether or not their psychological contracts had been fulfilled, and additional reasons given for their commitment, these employees’ commitment types (affective, continuance, normative) were identified. Both the primary and secondary findings revealed that a presence or absence of affective commitment (wanting to stay with an organisation) is strongly influenced by the extent to which a psychological contract is fulfilled. Furthermore, unfulfillment of a psychological contract during employment results in a lack of affective commitment. Research on both the prospective and existing employees’ perspectives in this context has not been previously carried out and posits a 360-degree view of one multinational company in the Irish software industry. This serves as a basis for filling future gaps in the Irish research field, particularly by focusing on a larger and different sample. The method of analysis adopted was a sequential mixed methods approach to include distribution of online surveys to 111 College Y students of which a 49.5% response rate was achieved. This gauged the attractiveness of Company X as a potential employer as well as its employer branding effectiveness. Following this, five semi-structured interviews were carried out with Company X employees who had also studied in College Y, which succeeded in gauging their commitment type. The recommendation put forward by the current research is for future researchers to adopt a similar strategy for evaluating the attractiveness of an organisation and the commitment to it by a specific sample group. However, focusing on a different and larger set of students within a different industry in Ireland would posit greater results. The need for such research is supported by the limitations posed by the small sample size and scope of the current research and the lack of similar research carried out in Ireland, where there are multiple third level colleges.
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