Person--job fit: mediating role of job satisfaction & organizational commitment.

AuthorChhabra, Bindu


In this rapidly changing work environment, the accelerated development of high-technology has laid the ground for profound changes in the workplace and has taken the already severe competition to another level. Organizations are facing incredible pressures in multiple areas (economy, technology, structure, society in general) to adjust to the new, evolving demands of their constituencies and to become more efficient and competitive within their environments. These new demands will likely necessitate changes in planning and managing the careers of the employees in an organization. In particular, these situations require the individuals to develop better adaptability and flexibility to meet their job requirements (Pulakos, Arad, Donovan & Plamondon, 2000).

The concept of "fit" is a familiar one for most people working in the organizations. Person-job fit is defined as the fit between the individual characteristics (knowledge, skills, abilities and needs) and the demands of the job or the needs/ desires of a person and the attributes of the job (Edwards, 1991; O'Reilly, Chatman & Caldwell, 1991). P-J fit consists of a large number of elements, and the role these elements play in employees' work-related attitudes has been an area of considerable research.

Previous research in the area has mainly focused on two elements of P-J fit: Demand--Ability (D-A) fit and Need --Supply (N-S) fit. The D-A fit has been defined as the extent to which a person's knowledge, skills, and abilities are congruent with the demands and requirements oftheirjobs (Edwards, 1996; Kristof, 1996; Werbel & Johnson, 2001). On the other hand, N-S fit measures whether the attributes of a job fulfill employees' personal desires, values and needs (Edwards, 1996; Kristof-Brown, Zimmerman & Johnson, 2005). It has been found that employees' subjective assessments of these different aspects of P-J fit make unique contributions in predicting their work-related attitudes and behaviors.

Further, fit can be evaluated subjectively or objectively (Kristof, 1996). Subjective P-J fit refers to individuals' perceptions regarding how well they fit with a particular job. For example, employees may be asked the degree to which they feel their job matches their preferences or needs. Objective P-J fit, on the other hand, pertains to how well individuals' reported preferences or characteristics correspond to job characteristics. For instance, job seekers' preferences may be compared with incumbent employees' evaluations of job characteristics.

Severe global recession since 2008 has forced many organizations to resort to downsizing to survive. Such organizational downsizing often becomes inevitable during difficult economic situations and can be an effective strategy to reduce the company's total operating expenses in terms of employees' salaries and benefits (Mishra & Mishra, 1994). However, this strategy will in all probability lead to insecurity and disengagement of the workforce which remains with the organization. The construct of P-J fit has critical implications both during recession as well as boom scenarios. During recession, when organizations are looking to shed workforce, they are more likely to look at Demand-Ability aspects to see who is the fittest for the job. The objective way of looking at P-J fit will be preferred by the organizations. In a booming economy, where jobs are increasing, the employee's subjective perspective or the Need-Supply fit is likely to gain currency. In both the scenarios, having a satisfied and committed workforce is imperative, as a detached workforce will not be able to perform at an optimum level. Further, retaining this workforce is also a challenge. This study aims to see the impact of P-J fit on the satisfaction and commitment of the employees, which in turn is expected to have an effect on their intentions to leave.

Job applicants choose between organizations on the basis of their perceived fit with jobs and organizations (Judge & Cable, 1997; Saks & Ashforth, 1997), recruiters make hiring decisions on the basis of their perceptions of applicants' fit (Cable & Judge, 1997; Kristof-Brown, 2000), and employees' fit perceptions affect their turnover intentions (Cable & Judge, 1996). Thus, people develop and use perceptions of fit as they maneuver through their professional careers. Studies have shown that perceptions of fit are better predictors of people's choices than the actual congruence between people and environments, since these perceptions are the better determinants of behavior (Cable & Judge, 1997; Endler & Magnusson, 1976; Kristof, 1996).

A fast-growing number of studies have demonstrated that affective work outcomes, such as job satisfaction and commitment to the organization, are determined to a certain extent by the interaction or fit between an employee's personal characteristics and features of his or her job, work team or the organization as a whole (Kristof, 1996). The more an employee matches his or her job or work environment the greater the chance that he or she will be well socialized satisfied and committed. This is because the congruence between individuals' characteristics and their surrounding environments gives rise to positive emotions, attitudes, and behaviors (e.g. Lewin, 1951; Pervin, 1989). As a consequence, the probability that this employee will develop an intention to leave the organization for reasons of discontent is small.

The fit of person and job is a dominant force in employee selection and in explaining individuals' career satisfaction. There is a general recognition that person-job fit has important implications for individual behaviors and work outcomes. Among job applicants in the United States, perceived P-J fit has been found to be related to career choice, perceived organizational attractiveness, and subsequent choices of organizations for employment (Holland, 1985; Saks & Ashforth, 1997; Schein, 1978). Among employees working in organizations, both D-A fit and N-S fit were found to be related to job satisfaction (Amah, 2009; Cable & DeRue, 2002; Edwards, 1996; Livingstone, Nelson & Barr, 1997), organizational commitment (Saks & Ashforth, 2002), the quality of work life (Edwards, 1996; Rice, McFarlin, Hunt, & Near, 1985), intent to leave (Edwards & Cooper, 1990; Saks & Ashforth, 2002) and positive adjustment in new organizations (Spokane, 1985). In sum, there exists extensive theoretical and empirical evidence supporting both D-A fit and N-S fit as distinctive predictors for positive work-related attitudes. Studies have found that decreases in person-job fit, which led to decreases in job satisfaction, were more likely to result in increases in intent to turnover if the individual also perceived alternative job opportunities (Caldwell & O'Reilly, 1990; Griffeth, Hom & Gaertner, 2000; Saks & Ashforth, 1997; Lauver &amp...

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