Person-Environment Congruence, Self-Efficacy, and Environmental Identity in Relation to Job Satisfaction: A Career Decision Theory Perspective

Article excerpt

This study explored the relationship between person--environment congruence, self-efficacy, and environmental identity and job satisfaction. Participants were 198 employees of a multinational telecommunications corporation. The predictor domain included the lachan Index (R. lachan, 1984), the Mahalanobis Distance Index (L. J. Cronbach & G. C. Gleser, 1953), the Self-Efficacy Scale (M. Sherer et al., 1982, 2000), and the Environmental Identity Scale (G. D. Gottfredson & J. L. Holland, 1996; J. L. Holland, 1997). The criterion domain included 6 components of job satisfaction. A canonical correlation analysis identified 2 significant roots labeled organizational mission satisfaction and work task satisfaction. Implications for career decision making are discussed.


Job satisfaction is an important issue for individuals, organizations, and society as a whole. On an individual level, the ability to effectively adjust to a work setting, perform at a level commensurate with one's potential, and enjoy work tasks affects psychological adjustment and life satisfaction (Chacko, 1983; Judge, Locke, Durham, & Kluger, 1998). On an organizational level, the degree to which individuals are able to find and maintain satisfying work affects the productivity and success of organizations (Iaffaldano & Muchinsky, 1985). On a societal level, job satisfaction may be correlated with the healthy employment of a nation, reinforcing its ability to sustain itself through effective work organizations (Howard, 1995; Sheppard & Carroll, 1980). Thus, understanding the determinants of job satisfaction is of great importance to counselors, psychologists, and human resource personnel in helping individuals identify and select appropriate work environments in which to implement a career choice.

Several researchers have conducted studies to identify the correlates and predictors of job satisfaction. Studies have identified correlations between job satisfaction and a variety of individual and career-related variables, such as subjective well-being, educational attainment, supervisory leadership style, gender, work and family stress, and life satisfaction (Chacko, 1983; Judge & Locke, 1993; Lain, Zhang, & Bantu, 2001; Packard & Kauppi, 1999; Parasuraman, Greenhaus, & Granrose, 1992; Tait, Padgett, & Baldwin, 1989; Tang & Talpade, 1999). Other studies have investigated the relationship between job satisfaction and structural and organizational factors (O'Reilly & Roberts, 1975), mental health (Wiener, Vardi, & Muczyk, 1981), and intent to turnover (Gregson, 1990). Thus far, no studies have investigated a multivariate relationship between a set of predictors relating to individual characteristics based on career decision theory and a set of criterion variables constituting the complex domain of job satisfaction within an organization reflective of employment in the modern postindustrial society (Cascio, 1995; Howard, 1995).


According to the cognitive information-processing approach to career decision theory (Peterson, Sampson, Lenz, & Reardon, 2002; Sampson, Lenz, Reardon, & Peterson, 1999), once individuals have identified a first choice of occupation based on an examination of interests, abilities, and values, they then move on to the execution or action phase of the decision process, which entails conducting a job search for appropriate employment opportunities in organizations. The present study was framed according to three important questions involved in the identification and selection of appropriate work environments for employment (Reardon, Lenz, Sampson, & Peterson, 2000):

1. What is the match between my interests and the job that I am considering?

2. Do I believe I have the ability and self-confidence to perform the work?

3. Do I perceive the mission, rules, and vision of the organization to be consistent and clear? …