Public Employer Attractivity of German State-owned Enterprises
Last registered on November 02, 2018

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Public Employer Attractivity of German State-owned Enterprises
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0003477
Initial registration date
October 30, 2018
Last updated
November 02, 2018 5:48 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Zeppelin University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Zeppelin University
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2018-11-01
End date
2019-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Public sector faces severe challenges by an aging workforce and the war for talents – personnel capacity gaps threaten the effective and efficient provision of basic services of public interest (Ingraham, 2005; Korac, Saliterer, & Weigand, 2018; Linos, 2018; OECD, 2007; Pollitt, 2016). A significant share of public services and critical infrastructure is provided by state-owned enterprises (SOEs) (Bruton, Peng, Ahlstrom, Stan, & Xu, 2015; Daiser, Ysa, & Schmitt, 2017; Florio & Fecher, 2011; Grossi, Papenfuß, & Tremblay, 2015; Millward, 2011; OECD, 2005), which find themselves in the difficult situation of positioning themselves in public personnel marketing between private firms on the one hand and core administration on the other hand. Based on the person-organization fit concept of the Attraction-Selection-Attrition (ASA) model (Christensen & Wright, 2011; Perry & Wise, 1990; Schneider, 1987), this study points out a social media field experiment, as proposed by recent literature (Jilke, Lu, Xu, & Shinohara, 2018), with SOEs.
The goal of this study is to examine how the public sector can attract more and different candidates at least without reducing the quality of applicants, with a specific focus on the use of PSM in the digital public personnel marketing of SOEs.
The study contributes to the existing scientific knowledge by examining three important calls for further research of the public management literature:
Firstly, the call for research with a focus on branding/marketing in the public sector, focusing the aspect of public employer attractivity against the background of the human capital crisis threatening public sector organizations. Especially, the paper tests the often recommended implication to use the concept of Public Service Motivation (PSM) in recruitment and personnel marketing of public sector organizations (cf. review of Ritz, Brewer, & Neumann, 2016)
Secondly, the call for more research on SOEs, which empirically are of high relevance for public service provision but seem to be treated like a neglected Cinderella by public management research (Bruton, Peng, Ahlstrom, Stan, & Xu, 2015; Daiser, Ysa, & Schmitt, 2017; Florio & Fecher, 2011; Grossi, Papenfuß, & Tremblay, 2015; Millward, 2011; OECD, 2015).
Thirdly, the call for more behavioral, experimental research in public management by providing three large scale field experiments implemented on the social media platform Facebook (Jilke, Lu, Xu, & Shinohara, 2018), offering evidence of several field experiments that allow to address endogeneity and selection issues that arise in observational studies (cf. Andersen & Moynihan, 2018).
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Keppeler, Florian and Ulf Papenfuß. 2018. "Public Employer Attractivity of German State-owned Enterprises." AEA RCT Registry. November 02. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3477-1.0.
Former Citation
Keppeler, Florian, Florian Keppeler and Ulf Papenfuß. 2018. "Public Employer Attractivity of German State-owned Enterprises." AEA RCT Registry. November 02. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3477/history/36686.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The study uses a large-scale online field experiment on the social media platform Facebook by purchasing ads using Facebook’s advertisement facilities. These ads (personnel marketing measures) were designed to solicit applications to real job offers of the participating SOEs.
Intervention Start Date
2018-11-01
Intervention End Date
2018-11-30
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our primary outcome of interest is subjects’ revealed intention to apply; i.e. we measure whether the advertisements encourage people to click on them.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
In line with an established branch of (marketing) literature (Jilke et al., 2018, pp. 8–9; Zhang & Mao, 2016), we interpret a link click as an intention to apply because the personnel marketing measure solicit applications by encouracing people to click. Clicking is commonly seen as a proxy for pursuit of intentions in the marketing literature (Zhang & Mao, 2016). We examine whether emphasizing Public Service Motivation (PSM), Job Security and Performance Orientation makes more people click on the personnel marketing measures (have the intention to apply for a job).
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Our secondary outcome of interest is whether our advertisements really resulted in more applications.
Our third outcome of interest is whether our personnel marketing measures really influenced the quality of applications.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
We measure how many applications explicitly referred to one of our Facebook personnel marketing measures and compared that to applications referring to other channels (newspaper, career site, etc.). We examine whether emphasizing Public Service Motivation (PSM), Job Security and Performance Orientation attract more applications for a job at a SOE.

Further, we explore how applications which referred to one of our Facebook job advertisements are different in comparison to applications referring to other channels (newspaper, career site, etc.), e.g. in terms of grades, social engagement, etc. We examine whether emphasizing Public Service Motivation (PSM), Job Security and Performance Orientation correlates with the quality of applications (e.g. grades) for a job at a SOE.
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
This study exploits a social media field experiment in Germany conducted in cooperation with German SOEs. The study uses a large-scale online field experiment on the social media platform Facebook by purchasing ads using Facebook’s advertisement facilities.
Experimental Design Details
We exploit at least three social media experiments; three SOEs allowed us to access their Facebook advertisment facilities and exploit the social media experiment. We randomly allocate clusters of Facebook users to four different personnel marketing treatments. We stratified Facebook users into clusters of users by zip code, age, gender (cf. e.g. Jilke, Lu, Xu, & Shinohara, 2018). Depending on experimental conditions, these ads included information cues about three different employer attractivity factors (Public Service Motivation, Job security, Performance Orientation) and in one case no such information (control group).
Randomization Method
Cluster randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
For our experiment, we randomized demographic clusters of Facebook users, rather than users nested within these clusters. Doing so, we first collected 170 zip codes from the periphery of each SOE-headquarter. In a second step, we grouped respondents of 20 to 40 years into three age categories (20–26, 27–33, and 34–40). We composed these three groups to have an approximately equal “potential reach” across strata (potential reach refers to the approximate number of Facebook users that can be exposed to an ad). Next, we created 1,020 clusters by taking 170 zip codes * 3 age categories * 2 genders. These 1,020 clusters were randomized into one of the three experimental groups and one control group, so that each of the four groups ended up with 255 clusters with a potential reach of at least 100,000 Facebook users.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
1,020 Clusters of Facebook users
Sample size: planned number of observations
potential reach of at least 400,000 Facebook users for each social media experiment
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
255 clusters for each of the three treatment arms and the control group, each arm with a potential reach of at least 100,000 Facebook users
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Zeppelin University Independent Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
2018-10-12
IRB Approval Number
N/A
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers