Story-Selling: The Persuasive Effects of Using Stories in University Recruitment
Burns, Michael Edward
More InformationShow full item record
The purpose of this dissertation was to examine the persuasive effects personal stories have on the university recruitment process. Specifically, this study explored how Fisher's (1984) concepts of narrative probability and fidelity influenced Ajzen's (1991) theory of planned behavior model using a four-staged quasi-experimental study. Jablin's (1982) anticipatory socialization phase of organizational assimilation theory acted as a context for this applied dissertation. This study evolved over four stages while working with the North Dakota State University Office of Admission. The first stage provided qualitative data exploring students' opinions of using story-based recruitment material. Focus groups also revealed what types of stories would be helpful for prospective students during the college admission process. Stage two developed and tested the narrative probability and fidelity scales based on Fisher's (1984) narrative paradigm. These newly created scales were used to determine the level of narrative probability and narrative fidelity in each of the experimental conditions. Stage three consisted of the creation and testing of the recruitment videos used in each experimental condition. The final stage tested the story-based recruitment and control videos on prospective students visiting North Dakota State University. The results of this dissertation were obtained using a series of ANOVAs, regression analyses, and path model testing techniques. Overall, the results suggested that high levels of narrative probability and narrative fidelity do positively influence prospective students' attitudes toward choosing a university and have a less powerful, but still positive, influence on their subjective norms beliefs and perceived behavioral control of choosing a university. The theory of planned behavior model was also supported by this data. The results of each stage of this study produced theoretical and practical implications. This dissertation concludes with a discussion of the results, implications, limitations, and future research opportunities.