The role of situational strength in organizational attraction: an interactionist approach
Burrus, Carla Jean
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Organizational environment (broadly conceptualized) has been shown to have an important influence on job choice (Chapman, Uggerslev, Carroll, Piasentin & Jones, 2005). Controversy exists, however, regarding how to operationalize organizational environment in a way that is both useful and parsimonious. Consistent with the perspective that situational strength meets these criteria (Meyer & Dalal, 2009), the present study found that participants were attracted to hypothetical organizations that were strong with respect to clarity, consistency, and consequences, but weak with respect to constraints. Further, individual differences in various psychological needs were shown to influence the strength of the relationship between situational strength and organizational attraction; for example, those with a high need for achievement were particularly attracted to organizations that were high with respect to consequences. These results not only contribute to the job choice literature, but also suggest that situational strength is more than just a moderator of personality-outcome relationships – it is an important psychological construct in and of itself, with its own nomological network that is worthy of continued research attention.