Mapping organizational members' sense of fit

Billsberry, Jon; Marsh, Philip and Moss-Jones, John (2004). Mapping organizational members' sense of fit. In: Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Aug 2004, New Orleans, Louisiana.


Despite its importance in the organizational behavior literature, person–organization (P–O) fit remains an elusive construct. One reason for this is the lack of research about organizational members’ own sense of their P–O fit. In this paper we report an empirical study that explored organizational members’ own sense of fit using storytelling and causal mapping techniques. The results suggest that organizational members categorize their perceptions of their fit into five discrete domains (job, people, employment, values, and extrawork) comprising thirteen subdomains: nature of work, profession or vocation, skills and knowledge, emotions, relationships with colleagues, relationship with line manager, physical environment, conditions of employment, opportunities for growth and development, organizational values, mission, family and personal life. Reviews of respondents’ causal maps and interview transcripts gave some insight into the consequences of organizational members’ perceptions of fit and provided further insights into the nature of fit. These insights included the fragility of fit, how the degree of seniority changed the emphasis in organizational members’ fit, and the role and nature of trigger events that change people’s sense of fit from good fit to misfit.

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