Organizational Textual Analysis: On Job Descriptions and Company Culture


(NOTE: References included in the Word portion of the paper).

Employers must invest a great deal of time and capital into hiring good, qualified workers. Those who are seeking jobs hope to locate a company that meets and exceeds their expectations with regards to work-life balance, chances to advance within the company, and other, nonfinancial benefits.

For these and other reasons, both parties (employers and job seekers) rely on the job description. This document, usually associated with a given position and more often than not these days found online, must convey enough information for potential applicants to decide whether they might be a “best fit” for the organization, whereas the company hopes that its denoted criteria has indeed led to a desired match as well (Berkelaar & Buzzanell, 2014).

A company’s fit can in many respects be most said to refer to its actual or expected culture. Organizational culture is that which defines how people interact with each other and the environment, as well as the general practices that go into decision-making and satisfying would-be consumers (Backhaus, 2004). As such, some language to this extent is usually present in         a job description; from the general wording that defines a company’s overall goals to the more specific, subcultural context wherein the position resides.

This project has as it’s aim the goal of analyzing one job description provided by National Public Radio (NPR) using content analytical methodology (Backhaus). The analysis will look at which words are used, (content) and how these words line up with categories generated in the meta-analysis study. It will also compare them to a set of practical guidelines for good culture in the text of Eisenberg, Goodall and Trethewey, (2010).


There are several reasons why one might find the study of expected or actual company culture as conveyed through a job description to be a useful endeavor. These are summed up nicely by an article found at the Commongood Careers online knowledge center (2016). They all emphasize the importance of effective communication both by job seekers and employers, and especially that those who are doing the hiring should remember that the person searching for a job also wishes to obtain an adequate fit. This article has a distinct slant towards nonprofit entities, but could likely be applied more broadly to for-profit enterprises as well. They note, and so too is much of the idea on which this project is based, that certain elements of a description such as organizational mission, sought-after diversity levels, work-life balance, and promotional opportunities must be featured prominently in any good description of a position.

It would thus be interesting to see how an organization with the reputation of NPR, as well as it being a nonprofit, measures up in advancing these protocols in the initial contact with potential candidates. Which kinds of wording do they use? Are there portions of each description that are the same? Is a person likely to get a clear understanding of the kind of organization NPR is, such that they would be able to ponder whether or not they would fit generally, as well as within the specific context in which they have expressed interest? These are all questions that this analysis seeks to explore.


Author: johnmill79

33, currently residing in Durham, NC. I have a somewhat tedious job, but it's helping me live a bit of the good life until I get things going. Here, I'll blog about things I encounter in my daily life, my continuous search for a career path, entertainment, books I like, etc. Hope you enjoy.

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