Viewing Person-Environment Fit Through the Lenses of Organizational Change: A Cross-level Study
Caldwell, Steven Douglas
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Organizational behavior literature has not typically viewed person-environment (PE) fit as an outcome of organizational change. Although organizations consider PE fit of their employees to be important to the success of both parties, the study of antecedents to individuals fit with their work environment has largely been restricted to the selection and socialization of newcomers. This study investigates effects of several change factors (e.g., the extent of change and how it was managed), as well as the cross-level interaction between the change factors and individual differences (e.g., motivational orientations) on PE fit of individuals who participated in various organizational changes. PE fit was evaluated along three dimensions (Person-Job, Person-Group, Person-Organization). Results show that change is a complex phenomenon and is best understood by interactions between the extent of change, characteristics of the change process, and differences in individuals motivational tendencies. Specifically, the study showed that the fairness of the change process was typically associated with PJ and PO fit, whereas management support for the change generally related to PJ and PG fit. In addition, limited support was found for hypothesized effects of motivational orientations. As expected, Mastery related positively with PE fit, while positive effects of Competitiveness (an externally cued Approach orientation) on PE fit depended on high levels of management support. Surprisingly, it was low Avoid individuals (not high) where the extent of change related negatively with aspects of PE fit. A discussion of the results, as well as limitations and implications of this study, is provided for consideration on future research in this area.