Post-Hire Human Resource Management Practices and Person-Organization Fit: A Study of Blue-Collar Employees

Article excerpt

Over the past two decades, organizational research has increasingly focused on employee perceptions of fit with the work environment, and how organizations actively alter perceptions of fit via human resource management (HRM) practices, such as socialization. Organizational scholars commonly define Person-Organization Fit (POF) as the degree of congruence or compatibility between an individual and the organization (Chatman, 1989; Kristof, 1996). Moreover, POF is often conceptualized as either supplementary or complementary. Supplementary fit, the more common conceptualization, describes an individual's perceptions of fit as a match of individual characteristics with the current characteristics of the organization, while complementary fit addresses the fulfillment of needs that are yet unfulfilled within the organization (Kristof, 1996). Schneider (1987) outlined the basis of supplementary fit through his attraction-selection-attrition (ASA) framework. Schneider et al. suggest that individuals assess fit "based upon an implicit estimate of the congruence of their own personal characteristics and the attributes of potential work organizations" (1995: 749). This view of fit has been useful for understanding the attraction phase of recruiting (Cable and Judge, 1996) and the interviewing process during selection (Cable and Judge, 1997).

Most of the research examining POF, its antecedents, and its consequences has done so during the early phases of the employment cycle (recruiting and selection). However, recent research has begun to assess POF post-hiring during the initial phases of actual employment when organizational socialization and training are taking place. Socialization refers to the processes by which individuals are integrated into an existing organizational culture (Jones, 1986; Cable and Parsons, 2001), and organizations often implement tactics to facilitate this integration (Van Maanen and Schein, 1979). If an organization successfully socializes a new employee, so that the individual and the organization come to possess more similar values, goals, or beliefs, the new employee may exhibit greater organizational commitment (Cable and Parsons, 2001). Increased organizational commitment often leads to reduced voluntary turnover (Meyer et al., 2002). Thus, by concentrating on POF during the early stages of employment, organizations can maximize the effectiveness of recruiting and selection systems.

Several studies have examined the concepts of POF and post-hire organizational HRM practices independently. However, little research has directly addressed the influence of these post-hire activities on perceptions of POF (Cable and Parsons, 2001). Research performed by Cable and Parsons (2001) currently represents the strongest contribution in this area. Cable and Parsons (2001) examined the POF/socialization relationship, focusing on the fit-related outcomes of socialization delivery within the first two years of employment. Within the socialization timeframe of employment, they discovered that aspects of formal socialization related differentially to perceptions of POF. They suggest that content and social tactics of formal socialization sufficiently foster POF of employees because these tactics are associated with strong in-group expectations of behavior. That is, the content of socialization and the social environment in which formal socialization is delivered create strong perceptions of fit between employees, resulting in an increased overall perception of POF.

While Cable and Parsons' (2001) work provides the critical foundation to understanding the relationship between post-hire HRM practices and POF, we believe that viewing supplemental POF as a multidimensional construct could enhance their findings. Our conceptualization of POF might also allow for an examination of the differential influence of socialization and training on POF. Judge and Ferris called for "research mapping the construct of fitto articulate more precisely the nature of the fit construct" (1992: 61). …