ASA theory: an empirical study of the attraction proposition

Billsberry, Jon (2004). ASA theory: an empirical study of the attraction proposition. In: Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Aug 2004, New Orleans, Louisiana.


This paper reports an empirical test of Schneider's (1987) attraction proposition that organizations attract people who share the organization's values. The values of 621 applicants to nine utility companies in the United Kingdom were compared to (1) the values of people contiguously seeking similar work, (2) the values of employees they might be working alongside, and (3) the values of the organizations' senior managers. The results show an effect for person–vocation fit, but once this is controlled for all significant effects disappear. These results suggest that applicants choose which organization to apply to based on their desire for a particular type of work rather than their attraction for particular companies, which is contrary to Schneider's attraction proposition. In a conclusion at the end of the paper, possible reasons for the rejection of Schneider's attraction proposition are discussed. It is argued that the factors of familiarity, proximity and exposure are critical to applicants' behavior and should be incorporated into ASA theory.

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