Title

The Role of Individual Differences in the Job Choice Process

Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Department

Psychology/Industrial-Organizational

First Advisor

Margaret Brooks

Second Advisor

Milton Hakel (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Dale Klopfer (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Senthilkumar Muthusamy (Committee Member)

Abstract

Job choice process research focuses on how job seekers make judgments and decisions regarding job positions. A job seeker can use one of two main types of decision strategies to choose job(s): non-compensatory and compensatory. A non-compensatory decision strategy is one where people choose an option using a few attribute(s). In compensatory decision strategy, the decision-maker makes comparisons among all attributes when choosing an option. The decision strategy a job seeker uses depends on two main factors: situation encountered and personal characteristics. This paper examined whether choice set size (a situational characteristic) and individual differences (a personal characteristic) affect people's job choice decision strategy. Results found that choice set size, and only one of the five individual differences, need for cognition, affected decision strategy. In addition, there were interaction effects between choice set size and two individual differences (i.e., maximizing tendency and indecisiveness) to affect decision strategy. However, the interaction pattern for indecisiveness was in the unexpected direction. These findings imply that job choice and decision-making research should include individual difference variables to increase explanatory power in understanding and predicting people's decision strategy.