Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

A Question of Culture: The Impact of College Major and Personality on Pursuits of Different Types of Company Culture

Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

A Question of Culture: The Impact of College Major and Personality on Pursuits of Different Types of Company Culture

Article excerpt


In the job search process, there are two sides looking for a beneficial outcome: the job seeker and the hiring manager. From the job seeker's perspective, there is a struggle to determine what to do with one's future and career. It is not simply a matter of finding a job that is the means to the ends of economic value, but rather a career in which they will find meaningful work that will drive them to success (Michaelson et al., 2014; Tummers Sc Knies, 2013). Furthermore, this career happiness can be derived from many attributes including appropriate pay, satisfaction with their job tasks, and their company's culture. This last attribute is possibly the hardest to define and measure. Prior research has indicated that a job seeker evaluates the match between the company culture and his or her personality when deciding which job offer to pursue (Amos Sc Weathington, 2008; Judge Sc Cable, 1997; Schneider, 1987).

From a recruiter's perspective, the search is for a job candidate that has the knowledge to complete the required job-related tasks and a manner and personality that will match the corporate culture and fit in with the people with whom the new employee will be working. As a result, recruiters need to evaluate not only the job candidate's factual knowledge but also the candidate's personality and "fit to mission" with the company (Coldwell et al., 2008; Lado Sc Wilson, 1994; Murphy, 1986).

This research will analyze college-aged job applicant's views of what type of company culture they would like to work for upon graduation and how their majors and personalities may affect this intent to pursue. The sections below examine the prior research in the areas of company culture, the linkage between individual personality and college major, and the influence of person-organization fit on the pursuit of a career with a company.

Company Culture

The phrase "company culture" consists of many attributes and as a result is difficult for job applicants to define and measure for themselves. One of the most popularly accepted definitions of company culture in prior literature comes from Schein (1992), which defined culture as:

A pattern of shared basic assumptions that the group learned as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems (p. 17).

It is important to note that in Schein's definition the emphasis is placed on group understanding and acceptance of the cultural components. The attributes of a company's culture are ones that have been adopted over time by the people of the organization because they are what best fit the company members' values, experiences, and ways of getting tasks done (Post, Lawrence, & Weber 2002). He further described culture as being seen on the surface level of the organization as the business mechanics and written codes of conduct, but also works on a deeper level of organizational "reality" (Schein 1992). What is especially impactful about this definition is that this "culture" is not simply what the company claims that they do, but it is also the reality of working there.

Others have defined company culture similarly to Schein (1992) but provided additional insights. For example, Kilman, Saxton, and Serpa (1985) defined culture as the values, attitudes, and norms that are shared within an organization and characterized them on this deeper level of reality. Not only is the culture the thing that holds a company's members together, but it is what they can leverage to set themselves apart to applicants and customers. Similarly, Harrison and Stokes (1992) defined company culture as the personality of the company and what sets a company apart from the competition.

In an effort to define types of company culture, prior research has employed the Competing Values Framework (Büschgens, Bausch, & Balkin, 2013; Hartnell, Ou, & Kinicki, 2011; Tharp, 2009; Quinn & Rohrbaugh, 1983; Quinn & Spreitzer, 1991; Van Muijen & Koopman, 1994; See Figure 1). …

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