Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Business Administration

First Advisor

Thacker, James,


Business Administration, Management.




The purpose of this study is to investigate factors which affect the perceived credibility of letters of reference. More specifically, two factors, those being length of the letter and quality of writing style, are examined. The study questions whether longer or shorter reference letters have different levels of perceived credibility. It also proposes that as the quality of writing style of reference letters improves, their perceived credibility increases. Participants in the study included a random sample of 110 recruiters from various companies in Canada, particularly in the Toronto, Ontario area. Each participant received one of six variations of reference letters representing either or a long or a short version of length and a good, average or poor version of quality. One standard questionnaire regarding the letters of reference was also received by each subject. Results of the empirical study suggest that the length of a letter does not affect perceived credibility. Findings also indicate that writing style does affect the perceived credibility of reference letters, although not exactly as predicted. Finally, additional analysis was conducted to determine whether letter length and quality of writing style affect a recruiter's overall assessment of a candidate. However, closer examination revealed that the analysis of overall assessment was measuring a similar construct to that of perceived credibility. Thus, the additional analysis was not examined to a greater extent. Implications of these findings and possible future research on this topic are discussed. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1995 .J86. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 34-06, page: 2192. Adviser: James Thacker. Thesis (M.B.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1995.