ERMeCC Lunch Seminar

Tuesday 9 May 2023, 12:00 - 13:00
Spoken Language
Langeveld 2.16
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Our next ERMeCC lunch seminar will take place Tuesday, 9th May, 12:00 - 13:00, in Langeveld 2.16. This seminar is hosted by the ROCCS research cluster, and will also be accessible online. Please contact if you would like to join via Zoom.

‘It is all in the name: Toward a typology of public relations professionals’ ethical dilemmas’

Ahmed Gaara, Muel Kaptein, and Guido Berens (RSM)

Although scholarship discussing public relations professionals’ ethical dilemmas has been abundant, a theoretically-derived typology explaining the origin of these dilemmas and categorizing them into distinct profiles has been so far lacking. We address this lacuna by utilizing role theory to elucidate the origin of these ethical dilemmas and employ a deductive approach to extricate them from each part of the name “public relations professional.” Specifically, we portray public as the midpoint on a continuum, with the organization at one end and society at the other; relations as the midpoint between transactions and bonds; and professional as the midpoint between employee and citizen. This gives rise to a multidimensional typology encompassing six categories of ethical dilemmas: deformation, divarication, desertion, detention, diminution, and dissimulation. We advance extant scholarship by explaining the origin of public relations professionals’ ethical dilemmas and unifying such dilemmas in an exclusive-inclusive typology.


‘Employers Know Better: Two empirical studies on mitigating stereotypes about older workers’

Linda van den Heijkant (ASCoR, UvA) and Martine van Selm (ESHCC)

Linda van den Heijkant and Martine van Selm will present two empirical studies that were conducted as part of the project Employers Know Better- a collaboration between EUR, UvA, AWVN (the largest employers’ association in the Netherlands), and RADAR (agency for equal treatment and against discrimination), funded by the Goldschmeding Foundation. The first study, entitled ‘Countering biases in employer communicating towards older job seekers: Does perspective-taking work?’ examines how to reduce age-biases in employer communication targeting older job seekers. The study builds upon theoretical insights about stereotypes and perspective-taking (i.e., actively considering the mental state of stereotyped groups), and questions whether perspective taking can influence employers’ evaluations of older workers, and if so, whether the empathy mechanism or the cognitive mechanism is most effective.The second study entitled ‘Employer as ambassador? Examining the effects of message style in employer-endorsed communication to counter age bias among employers’, focuses on the extent to which different message styles in employer-endorsed communication aimed at reducing age bias can improve the perception of older workers’ employability among employers. The study uses theoretical insights about two approaches to reduce stereotypical thinking induced by media content: the media-literacy information strategy and counter stereotypical information strategy to neutralize stereotypical beliefs about stigmatized groups. Both studies employ an online survey experiment among employers, managers, and HR professionals, with respectively 186 respondents and 444 respondents. In the first study, we found a positive impact on employers’ evaluations of older workers if we presented them with realistic facts and knowledge about older workers’ capacities before reviewing an older applicant’s resume, as opposed to asking them to ‘feel along’ with the difficult position of older workers. The second study showed that an ambassador’s message style combined with a realistic, positive facts about older workers ‘did you know’ message, is most effective in improving employers’ perceptions of older workers’ employability, whereas a didactic message style is least effective, also compared to the control condition. The impact of this study extends beyond academia, as our aim was to create an evidence- based training and communication tool for employers based on the findings of our empirical studies. In collaboration with societal partners, the effective elements of the perspective- taking technique have been translated into a training aimed at employers, whereas the ambassador’s message style (including the ‘did you know’ message) was translated into a communication tool by and for employers. Employers are considered active agents that communicate beliefs about older workers, including possible prejudice, both at the work floor and in corporate communication outlets. Therefore, mitigating age bias amongst employers can ultimately lead to setting up more age-inclusive strategic communication.

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