The Cross-cultural Generalizability of the Theory of Planned Behavior: a study on job seeking in The Netherlands
This study examined the cross-cultural generalizability of the theory of planned behavior (TPB) as applied to job seeking, by comparing samples of native-Dutch and Turkish individuals in The Netherlands. Results supported the equivalence of the measures used. Moreover, the TPB relationships were found to be comparable across the two samples. Contrary to the predictions, intentions of Turkish individuals were not affected more by subjective norms and less by job search attitudes then those of native-Dutch individuals. The Netherlands The theory of planned behavior (TPB) is a widely used theoretical framework that details the determinants of human behavior (Ajzen, 1991). Meta-analysis demonstrated its validity in the prediction of a large variety of social behaviors (Armitage & Conner, 2001). Also in the context of job seeking, research has confirmed the validity of the TPB (e.g., Van Ryn & Vinokur, 1992). Studies on the TPB typically use Western samples, and job seeking has been studied almost exclusively from a Western point of view. Therefore the current study focused on the crosscultural generalizability of the TPB in the context of job seeking. Job seeking is an important aspect of people’s work lives as it determines the opportunity set of potential jobs from which job seekers may choose, and influences employment outcomes such as job attainment and employment quality (Kanfer, Wanberg, & Kantrowitz, 2001). Although a considerable body of research has investigated the predictors of job seeking (see Kanfer et al., 2001), hardly any study investigated the generalizability of models explaining job search behavior to “non-traditional” applicant pools, such as ethnic minorities. The current study aims to fill this gap by examining the predictors of job seeking among Turkish immigrants in The Netherlands. These predictors were examined in the context of the TPB, and were compared with the predictors of job seeking in a representative sample of the native-Dutch population. The Turkish migrant population was chosen because of its substantial size in The Netherlands, their relatively weak position at the labor market, and their cultural differences with the Dutch population. The first generation of Turkish immigrants came to The Netherlands in the late 60s and early 70s. As guest workers, they were mainly employed in lower skilled jobs, to resolve the shortages at the labor market for these jobs. Nowadays they are the largest ethnic minority group, with 2.1% of the total population. However, their position at the labor market is relatively weak, as is indicated by high unemployment rates and overrepresentation in lower skilled jobs. Turkish culture differs from Dutch culture in the level of individualism versus Generalizability of the TPB collectivism (INDCOL). Whereas Dutch culture is a typical example of an individualistic culture, Turkish culture has been characterized as highly collectivistic (Hofstede, 1980; Javidan & House, 2001; Pasa, Kabasakal, & Bodur, 2001). The Turkish and Dutch cultures were selected because differences in INDCOL may affect the relationships as outlined by the TPB. Applied to job seeking, the TPB states that the most proximal determinant of job search behavior is the individual’s intention to engage in job seeking. Job search intention comprises the motivation necessary to engage in job seeking. The more an individual intends to engage in job seeking, the more likely it is that actual job search activities are performed (cf. Ajzen, 1991). Job search intention is predicted by the extent to which a person evaluates job seeking positively or negatively (i.e., job search attitude), by the individual’s perception of social pressure to look for a (new) job (i.e., subjective norm), and by people’s confidence in their ability to perform various job search activities (i.e., perceived behavioral control; Ajzen, 1991). That is, people who regard job seeking as more beneficial and more sensible will be more likely to intend to search for a (new) job than people with less positive attitudes towards job seeking. Also, individuals will be more likely to form job search intentions as they perceive more social pressure from important others to do so. Lastly, people will be more likely to make job search intentions if they are more confident about their ability to perform job search activities. Based on the TPB, we expected: Hypothesis 1: (a) Job search attitude, (b) subjective norm, and (c) perceived behavioral control positively predict job search intention. The TPB was hypothesized to be a valid framework to predict job seeking for both native-Dutch and Turkish-Dutch individuals. However, based on differences in INDCOL we expected differences in the relative weights of the predictors across the two cultural groups. In individualistic cultures people tend to perceive themselves as autonomous individuals who are independent of the group (‘independent self’), and tend to prioritize personal goals over collective goals. Behavior in these cultures is guided more by personal attitudes than by social norms. Conversely, in collectivistic cultures people tend to perceive themselves as interdependent with Generalizability of the TPB their group, and tend to prioritize goals of the in-group over their personal goals. Behavior is guided more by anticipated expectations of others or social norms of the in-group than by internal dispositions such as personality traits and personal attitudes (e.g., Markus & Kitayama, 1998). Applied to the TPB, these theories about INDCOL and the self suggest that in collectivistic cultures perceptions of social pressure (i.e., subjective norm) will predict behavior more strongly than in individualistic cultures. Internal dispositions such as personal attitudes are stronger predictors of behavior in individualistic cultures. Thus, Hypothesis 2: Job search intentions of Turkish immigrants are (a) more strongly predicted by subjective norm, and (b) more weakly by job search attitude as compared to job search intentions of native-Dutch individuals.
|Keywords||Dutchmen, The Netherlands, Turkish, applying, career planning, cross-cultural psychology, intercultural comparisons, purposeful behaviour|
van Hooft, E.A.J., Born, M.Ph., Taris, T.W., & van der Flier, H.. (2005). The Cross-cultural Generalizability of the Theory of Planned Behavior: a study on job seeking in The Netherlands. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, (2006), 1–10. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/6562
|Version of Record finalVersion|