The Instrumental and Symbolic Dimensions of Organisations' Image as an Employer: A Large-Scale Field Study on Employer Branding in Turkey


  • The first two authors contributed equally to this paper; order of authorship was arbitrarily determined. We express special thanks to Ali Ayaz for his valuable help throughout all phases of the data collection. This research was supported in part by a Postdoctoral Fellow grant from the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) awarded to the first author.

Greet Van Hoye, Department of Personnel Management, Work and Organizational Psychology, Ghent University, Henri Dunantlaan 2, 9000 Ghent, Belgium. Email:


Research on recruitment and employer branding has typically been situated in Western countries with predominantly individualistic cultures. The present study investigates the instrumental-symbolic framework for studying organisations' image and attraction as an employer in a non-Western collectivistic culture. In a large nationwide sample of Turkish university students, both instrumental (working conditions) and symbolic image dimensions (competence) were positively related to organisational attractiveness. Moreover, symbolic traits explained significant incremental variance beyond instrumental attributes and accounted for a greater amount of predictable variance. In addition, organisations were better differentiated from each other on the basis of symbolic image dimensions (sincerity and innovativeness) than on the basis of instrumental dimensions (task demands). Overall, these findings provide support for the applicability of the instrumental-symbolic framework across different countries, cultures, and organisations.