Testing a Multidimensional Theory of Person-Environment Fit

Edwards, Julian and Billsberry, Jon (2020). Testing a Multidimensional Theory of Person-Environment Fit. Journal of Managerial Issues, 32(1) pp. 8–25.


This paper explores the multidimensionality of employees’ fit. In particular, the aim of the present paper is to test the long-term temporal stage of the multidimensional model of Person-Environment (PE) fit advanced by Jansen and Kristof-Brown (2006) empirically. The notion of multidimensional fit has emerged as a reaction to the difficulty that researchers have had pinning down the concept of fit. Whereas most people understand what being a “misfit” is like, e.g., not getting on with people, feeling like an outsider, a desire to leave the organization (Schneider, 1987) or looking for bolt holes in which to shelter from the storm (Van Vianen and Stoelhorst, 2007), they do not naturally have an understanding of what being a “fit” is (Billsberry et al., 2005). Researchers have had similar difficulties conceptualizing fit despite efforts to provide a definition of the term (Cable and Edwards, 2004; Harrison, 2007; Kristof, 1996; Ostroff and Schulte, 2007). This has resulted in considerable variation in the way that researchers conceptualize fit in their studies (Harrison, 2007). Consequently, “fit” is regularly termed an “elusive” concept and one that defies definition (Edwards and Shipp, 2007; Harrison, 2007; Jansen and Kristof-Brown, 2006; Judge and Ferris, 1992; Kristof, 1996; Rynes and Gerhart, 1990).

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