Who desires to it is in a manager? using the attraction-selection-attrition frame to public connections education

Who desires to be a manager?: using the attraction-selection-attrition frame to public relations education

Christopher Wilson, Brigham Young University


Wilson, C. (2016).

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An underexplored area in the literature on public connections education involves the preconceptions that tempt undergraduate college student to examine public relations. A couple of qualitative and descriptive researches have uncovered that beginning public relations students hold a number of media-influenced misperceptions about the job (Bowen, 2003, 2009; Brunner & Fitch-Hauser, 2009). While this research has actually raised crucial questions about why students choose to examine public relations and the potential aftermath of no attracting “the right” students, it has not occurred or applied a theoretical frame to understand the individual-level factors that contribute to student attraction. This study looks for to determine individual personality traits that play a duty in attracting undergraduate college student to examine public relations by adopting the attraction-selection-attrition (ASA) structure from the personnel psychology literary works (Schneider, Goldstein, & Smith, 1995). This structure has been used primarily to task seekers after ~ graduation. However, it also has been applied to the sorting procedure that occurs as students seek an academic major prior to entering the job sector (Boone, valve Olffen, & Roijakkers, 2004).

Literature Review

Public relationships Management and Education

Because the general public relations role needs a seat in ~ the management table to implement reliable public relations programs (Dozier, Grunig, & Grunig, 1995), scholars have stressed the require for education in windy relations monitoring in the academy (e.g., Kinnick & Cameron, 1994). Nevertheless, research says that many beginning public relations students room not mindful of the management emphasis of the curriculum. Instead, these students are attracted come public relations due to the fact that of perceptions developed through exposure come stereotypical depictions in the news and also entertainment media (Bowen, 2003, 2009). While there is worry that part students might rely on these faulty assumptions to evaluate public relationships as a potential major and future career path, instances of public relations ending up being an integral component of organizational monitoring are on the rise. Therefore, it is likely that a encouraged student seeking information around the self-control could kind preconceptions the public connections as a management function in the procedure of investigating the major.

Attraction-Selection-Attrition Framework

One way to know the role that preconceptions pat in attracting college student to study public connections is to examine the issue through the lens of the attraction-selection-attrition (ASA) frame (Schneider, Goldstein, & Smith, 1995). According to the ASA framework, project seekers space attracted to details organizations since they check out a fit in between their individual personalities and also an organizationís culture. Whereas organizations commonly hire, or select, applicants with individualities that resonate with their goals and also culture. Finally, the framework says that employee who are not “a fit” because that the organization pick to leave v attrition. Experimental research has actually supported the relationship between personality kind and organizational attraction (e.g., Cable & Judge, 1996).

Boone, van Olffen, and also Roijakkers (2004) provided the ASA frame to investigate whether a similar process applies come the selection of majors by college undergraduates. Castle reasoned that students suffer a similar process as they select a major. Namely, some students might be attracted to a ar of research that will result in a career course that suits their personality. However, other students will make an initial decision around a major only to find that the result career course is not a great fit, leading to them to change majors. Your research discovered support because that the attraction step of the ASA cycle by analyzing the relationship in between student personality form and the relationship of information used to decision on a major.

Need for achievement and require for Power

The individual personality traits selected because that the current study were require for achievement and require for power. This personality characteristics come native research around the influence of individual requirements on an inspiration and actions (McClelland, 1985). This personality traits have actually been offered consistently in organizational habits research top top leadership and managerial efficiency (e.g., Stahl, 1983). Research study has uncovered that these traits space not support exclusive (Taormina, 2009) and also are present in comparable levels because that both male and female managers (Chusmir, 1985).

Individuals through a high require for accomplishment have a solid desire to meet standards of excellence collection by us or rather (McClelland, 1961). Their emphasis is on doing something well. These individuals tend to interact in difficult activities the involve skill, effort, planning, and also goal setting. Additionally, they seek out activities that require an individual responsibility and also feedback about their performance. Therefore, students v a high need for accomplishment may be attractive to examine public connections if they have management-related preconceptions that the function, such as goal-setting, strategy planning, and also evaluation.

Individuals that exhibit a high require for power are motivated to exert emotional and behavioral influence over others and also receive recognition for your actions (Winter, 1973). Their focus is on do an impact. From an business perspective, a high need for power urges and allows managers to influence subordinates to accomplish organizational purposes (McClelland & Boyatzis, 1982). Students through a high need for power may be attracted to study public connections if they have actually preconceptions the they can have an impact on the organization through the public relationships function, such together counseling senior management or participating in organizational decision making.

The existing study focuses only ~ above the attraction phase of the ASA cycle by evaluating the relationships among studentsí separation, personal, instance personality traits, their preconceptions about public relations as a administration function, and their perceptions of public relations career fit. The adhering to hypotheses were proposed:

H1: Undergraduate studentsí need for accomplishment will it is in positively regarded their preconceptions that public connections as a management function.H2: Undergraduate studentsí need for power will be positively pertained to their preconceptions that public relations as a management function.H3: Undergraduate studentsí preconceptions of public relationships as a management function will have a positive influence on their testimonial of the potential right of public relationships as a career.



The population of interest for this research was undergraduate student enrolled in 2 sections of the introductory public relations course in ~ a university where the curriculum adheres to the the supervisory board on Public relationships Educationís (CPRE, 2006) guidelines. A total of 307 students to be enrolled in both classes. An online survey was administered at an early stage in the second month of the fall 2012 semester. Through this point, both part of the food had disputed the meaning and evolution of public relations, ethics and also professionalism, and the differences between departments and firms.


An virtual questionnaire was emerged for this study consisting of four principal sections: personality traits, management preconceptions, perceptions of career fit, and also demographics. Dependability for each scale was evaluated making use of Cronbachís alpha. The personality traits require for achievement and require for strength were measured utilizing eight items native Steers and also Braunsteinís (1976) Manifest needs Questionnaire. Both needs were measured by separate four-item scales (need for achievement, a = .66; need for power, a = .83). Topics were asked come agree or disagree v statements around how they commonly behave in a work setup using a seven-point, Likert-type range anchored through “strongly disagree” and “strongly agree.” In the current study, require for power (a = .82) had an acceptable alpha while the alpha for need for achievement (a = .64) to be low but similar to the alpha reported because that the original scale. Together a result, caution must be provided in interpreting analysis involving this certain scale as result of substandard interior consistency.

Management preconceptions to be measured using Lauzenís (1992) four-item manager duty aspirations scale (a = .87). This scale was occurred to measure up the “managerial tasks they would ideally prefer to do” (p. 73). Respondents to be asked to report how often they would choose to perform 4 managerial tasks in their best public relations job using a seven-point, Likert-type scale anchored by “never” and “always.” Cronbachís alpha for administration preconceptions in the present study (a = .86) to be acceptable.

Perceived job fit was assessed by modifying three items emerged by Cable and Judge (1996) (a = .68). The modified items were: (1) “To what degree do friend feel your personality is a ‘match’ or fit because that a career in publicly relations?”; (2) “Do you think the values and also ‘personality’ of the public relations sector reflect your own values and also personality?”; and (3) “My personality matches those of present public relationships practitioners.” Participants to be asked to respond to the an initial question making use of a seven-point, Likert-type range anchored by “not at all” and also “completely.” They were asked to respond come the second and 3rd questions utilizing a seven-point, Likert-type scale anchored by “strongly disagree” and “strongly agree.” Cronbach’s alpha because that career to the right in the current study (a = .84) was acceptable.


Sample Description

Of the 307 students invited to take part in the study, 262 perfect the virtual survey because that a response rate of 85%. An ext than three-quarters the the attendees (76%) to be female and less than one-fourth (24%) to be male. The majority of respondents to be sophomores (39%) or juniors (39%). However, the sample additionally included seniors (18%) and also freshmen (4%). In terms of majors, 40% of the respondents established themselves as public connections majors. Nearly the very same number (38%) established themselves together majors indigenous a various discipline (e.g., English, marketing, sporting activities management, finance, politics science). Students majoring in heralding (15%), telecommunications (5%), and also journalism (3%) were additionally represented in the sample. A majority of inspection respondents were in the 19 to 20 period group (66%), while practically a 4 minutes 1 were in the 21 come 22 age group (23%). Additionally, 8% of respondents to be in the 17 come 18 age group and also 3% to be in the 23 to 35 period group. Caucasians consisted of 60% of the sample, followed by african Americans (21%), spain (12%), Asian/Asian american (3%), and also Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander (1%).

Studentsí typical scores for both need for accomplishment (M = 5.3; SD = 0.75) and need for strength (M = 5.1; SD = 0.93) were over the midpoint the the seven-point measure up scale. Similar mean scores likewise were acquired for studentsí monitoring preconceptions (M = 5.2; SD = 1.1) and also perceived career fit (M = 5.2; SD = 1.1).

Personality Traits and also Management Preconceptions

Pearson correlations were calculated to check H1 and H2. Administration preconceptions had significant positive relationships through both need for achievement (r = .44, ns


This study found that students require for achievement and gift a claimed public relations significant were positively related to preconceptions of public connections as a administration function. This results suggest that the higher a studentís require for success the more he or she thinks around public connections in regards to management. The results also suggest that students who have already declared public connections as their major are more likely to think the public connections as a management role than students indigenous other techniques who select to study it. This finding gives some empirical support for the proposition that students through a high require for achievement are attractive to research public relations due to the fact that of their preconceptions that public relations as a management role that entails skill, effort, planning, and goal setting.

Interestingly, the results likewise show that require for strength is not associated to management preconceptions. This is likely because undergraduate students through a high need for power execute not view an chance in the public relationships manager role, as defined by the 4 items adopted in this study, to influence subordinates and reach top-levels of management.

This study likewise demonstrates that administration preconceptions have actually a far-reaching positive connection with regarded career fit. Special, the results suggest that the much more a college student considers public relationships to be a management function, the higher the studentís awareness of job fit. In addition, the results demonstrate that students that possess a high need for power or that have already declared their significant to it is in public relationships are most likely to have actually perceptions that high job fit. One explanation of why students high in need for power check out public relations as a career fit elevation of management preconceptions might be that these students host a misperception around the actual power and also influence that public connections in organizations. That is possible that they host preconceptions of public connections as a powerful organizational role that will permit them to influence the behavior of others within the organization.


Students through a high require for achievement likely room attracted come the major because lock have emerged preconceptions of public relations as a monitoring function. This view of publicly relations demands to be promoted with these students for this reason they will develop a better sense of career fit. In addition, educators need to explain how public relations gains power and also influence in institutions so students v high require for power will have specific evaluation of job fit. Because students with a high power an inspiration have the potential to come to be high-level executives, public connections programs need to hold on to these students by cultivating their interest in the field. Moreover, this study provides a foundation for future research investigating the ASA design in public relationships education.


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Bowen, S. A. (2003). I believed it would certainly be much more glamorous: Preconceptions and also misconceptions of publicly relations among students in the ethics course. Public relations Review, 29, 199ñ214.

Bowen, S.A. (2009). Every glamour, no substance? how public relations majors and also potential majors in one exemplar regime view the industry and also function. Public connections Review, 35(4), 402-410.

Brunner, B. R., & Fitch-Hauser, M. E. (2009). Iím a civilization person! A look at public relationships majorsí awareness of why they made decision public connections as your major. To teach Public connections Monograph, 76, 1-4.

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