Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

Person-Organization Fit: Using Normative Behaviors to Predict Workplace Satisfaction, Stress and Intentions to Stay

Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

Person-Organization Fit: Using Normative Behaviors to Predict Workplace Satisfaction, Stress and Intentions to Stay

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

With the increasing use of technology keeping employees in closer contact with the office and blurring the lines between work and personal time, the need to understand how and why employees thrive in certain organizational settings becomes a real concern for organizational researchers and practitioners. Person-organization (P-O) fit is one approach that has attracted a great deal of attention in recent years as a method of determining whether an employee might succeed and enjoy being in a given work environment, or fall short and ultimately choose to leave the organization or be let go. There is clear indication in the literature that P-O fit is related to organizational commitment, job satisfaction, turnover intentions, and employee stress (Chapman, Uggersleve, Carroll, Piasentin, & Jones, 2005; Kristof-Brown, Zimmerman, & Johnson, 2005; Verquer, Beehr, & Wagner, 2003; Kristoff, 1996).

While P-O fit research has received a surge of interest in recent years, its precise conceptualization, measurement and use is of some debate. For example, the literature on P-O fit suggests that academic researchers and practitioners disagree not only on the measurement of the P-O fit construct, but if and when it should be used in applied settings (Schneider, Smith & Goldstein, 2000). Specifically, the academic literature suggests that P-O fit research has failed to demonstrate extensive evidence of its utility, especially when applied as a predictor of various occupational outcomes such as employees' job satisfaction or psychological and physical wellbeing (Hesketh & Myors, 1997; Tinsley, 1999). On the other hand, from a practitioner's perspective, it seems somewhat intuitive that the use of such a construct (i.e. the "fit" between an individual and his/her organization) would assist organizational researchers and managers in understanding the relation between employee and organization. It is these contrasting views that have sparked a debate between organizational researchers and practitioners.

The purpose of the present study is to build upon the existing fit literature by applying an approach to the operationalization and measurement of the P-O fit construct that focuses more on expectations of how employees should behave rather than on the formal and tacit values of the workplace. In particular, the present study will use the fit between perceived actual and ideal workplace behavioral norm expectations to predict individual employee workplace stress and intention to stay. To date, P-O fit research using preferred and actual organizational culture as a fit dimension has focused on a values-based approach, and has therefore operationalized fit as the correspondence between the values of the employee and those of the organization (Piasentin & Chapman, 2006; Billsberry, Ambrosini, Moss-Jones and Marsh, 2005; Kristof-Brown, Zimmerman & Johnson, 2005; Kristof, 1996). This approach has been criticized on the basis that an organization's values may be implicit and therefore unknown to the employee and, as a result, difficult to articulate (Billsberry et al., 2005, Kristof-Brown, et al., 2005). By using overt workplace behavioral norms that are at the superficial level of the organization's culture, we hope to address this criticism and improve the predictive validity of P-O fit when using actual and ideal organizational culture as a fit dimension.

Since organizational culture itself is predictive of a number of individual-level outcomes, it is important to determine the extent to which P-O fit can explain workplace outcomes above and beyond organizational culture alone. This type of analysis will assist in determining the degree of unique variance in job satisfaction, intention to stay and stress that is explained by the P-O fit construct as operationalized by behavioral norm expectations. Such an analysis has not yet been explored, and would address specific criticisms related to the predictive ability and meaningful application of the P-O fit construct beyond the direct main effect of the work environment. …

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