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).