What matters when: A multistage model and empirical examination of job search effort

Virginie Lopez-Kidwell, Travis J. Grosser, Brian R. Dineen, Stephen P. Borgatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


We develop a multistage self-regulatory perspective on job search effort assuming active job seekers conducting job searches within a job search goal life span. Specifically, we propose that time pressure increases as the goal of finding employment becomes more proximal, while job search uncertainty decreases. Drawing on these premises, we integrate social comparison theory, control theory, and the attentional focus model of time pressure to hypothesize how various intrapersonal (i.e., prior effort, job search progress) and sociocontextual (i.e., effort put forth by peers in a social network) factors relate to job seekers' self-regulation of effort at different stages (i.e., preparatory, active-extensive, and active-intensive) of a job search process. In two studies of job seekers, we found that (1) prior job seeker effort is positively related to current effort across stages, (2) average peer job search effort is more strongly and positively related to job seeker effort earlier in job search, and (3) job search progress (i.e., the ratio of interviews to applications in Study 1 and perceived progress in Study 2) is negatively related to job seeker effort later in job search. Theoretical implications and future research directions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1655-1678
Number of pages24
JournalAcademy of Management Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


Dive into the research topics of 'What matters when: A multistage model and empirical examination of job search effort'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this