Journal of Business and Psychology

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 415–431 | Cite as

The Moderating Role of Intergroup Contact in Race Composition, Perceived Similarity, and Applicant Attraction Relationships

  • Yin Lu NgEmail author
  • Carol T. Kulik
  • Prashant Bordia
Original Paper



This study investigated the moderating effect of intergroup contact on the relationship between the race composition of organizational representatives, perceived similarity, and minority applicant attraction.


344 minority Malaysian-Chinese university students read a job advertisement that varied the racial composition of organizational representatives (100 % Malay or 50 % Malay–50 % Chinese or 100 % Chinese). Of these participants, 161 were Malaysian-Chinese in Malaysia (high intergroup contact location) and 183 were Malaysian-Chinese in Australia (low intergroup contact location). After reading the advertisement, participants responded to a series of scale items (e.g., perceived surface-level similarity, perceived deep-level similarity, and applicant attraction).


Results showed that the effect of race composition on attraction was stronger for minority participants in Australia than for minority participants in Malaysia. Perceived deep-level similarity mediated this moderated relationship.


The study findings suggest that organizations should include minority representatives in their recruitment advertising to attract minority applicants, particularly to attract minorities in locations with few opportunities for intergroup contact.


By testing the mediating effects of perceived surface-level and deep-level similarity, this study contributes to our understanding of the mechanism linking the interaction between race composition and location with applicant attraction.


Race composition Similarity-attraction Social identity Intergroup contact 


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyHELP UniversityKuala LumpurMalaysia
  2. 2.Centre for HRM, School of ManagementUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.Research School of Management, College of Business & EconomicsThe Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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