Applicant Reactions to Rejection: Feedback, Fairness and Attributional Style Effects



While applicant reactions to selection (un)fairness have often been investigated, less is known about applicants’ attributions and reactions to specific performance feedback. This paper discusses two studies into the influence of fairness perceptions and attributional processing on well-being and organizational perceptions after rejection. In both studies, distributive fairness and attributional style interactively influenced post-rejection well-being, with optimistically attributing individuals showing higher well-being when fairness perceptions were low. In Study 2, performance feedback negatively influenced rejected individuals’ well-being, and influenced the interaction effect of fairness and attributional style. Distributive fairness positively affected post-rejection organizational perceptions. Finally, performance feedback and attributional style interactively influenced post-rejection organizational perceptions. Implications for future research and practice concerning this issue are considered.


Schinkel, S., Van Dierendonck, D., Van Vianen, A.E.M., & Ryan, A.M. (2011). Applicant reactions to rejection: Feedback, fairness and attributional style effects. Journal of Personnel Psychology, 10(4), 46–156.