Title: The importance of fitting in for teachers in secondary schools: a network approach
Authors: Meredith, Chloé ×
Struyve, Charlotte
Gielen, Sarah #
Issue Date: Oct-2014
Conference: Belgian Network Research Meeting (BENet) edition:4 location:Brussels date:3 October 2014
Abstract: For many years, educational research has focused on the job satisfaction of teachers to explain well-being, absenteeism, school quality and the decision to stay or leave the profession (Ingersoll & Smith, 2003). Job satisfaction is therefore one of the most frequently investigated job attitudes and can be defined as “the pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job and job experience” (Locke, 1976, p.1300). Recent decades, researchers in organization studies increasingly used the social integration or ‘fit’ in the organization to explain job satisfaction from a contextual perspective. Based on the literature, this fit in an organization can be conceptualized in several ways. One way is person-organization fit (P-O fit), which reflects the compatibility between a person and the organization (Kristof, 1996). P-O fit can be measured on various dimensions, but this study uses value congruence, one of the most commonly used measures. Multiple studies already provided evidence that the value congruence of an employee is linked to his or her job satisfaction (Bretz Jr & Judge, 1994; Silverthorne, 2004). A second way to conceptualize the fit of an individual is the social-structural position in the organizational network. Studies using embeddedness theory as a framework indicate that the ‘links’ a person has are crucial for the social integration in the organization (Granovetter, 1985). ‘Links’ can then be described as the amount of ties individuals have with other people and activities at work (Mitchell, Holtom, Lee, Sablynski, & Erez, 2001). Thomas and Feldman (2007) indicated that the more links a person has, the more professionally and personally tied this person will feel to the organization. Often, researchers investigate which network configurations lead to a higher job satisfaction (Lee & Kim, 2011). Previous research in non-educational settings proved that the centrality of an actor has positive effects on the job satisfaction (Kilduff & Krackhardt, 1994) and the employee retention (Mossholder, Settoon, & Henagan, 2005). In educational research, there has been a limited amount of attention for the fit of teachers in their school, especially focusing on the integration or isolation of teachers. Bakkenes, De Brabander & Imants (1999) proved that teacher isolation causes absenteeism and low job satisfaction. Skaalvik and Skaalvik (2011) found that the extent to which teachers share values with other school team members in their school is important for their job satisfaction. Others have argued that collegial relationships and integration are important predictors for the satisfaction teachers perceive from doing their job (Xin & MacMillan, 1999). However, limited attention has been paid to the PO-fit and social-structural fit of teachers. Given that organizational attitudes and behaviours are socially constructed, this study aims to provide clarity on whether and to what extent the fit of teachers can be associated with their job satisfaction. To provide an answer, both attribute and social network data of approximately 1050 school team members, working in 14 secondary schools in Flanders were gathered. The attribute data that were collected concerned several attitudes about the profession and the school as a workplace, such as job satisfaction and the desired and actual collaboration in the school. Based on the latter two, different measures of value congruence can be calculated: perceived P-O-fit and objective P-O fit (O'Reilly, Chatman, & Caldwell, 1991). Perceived P-O fit is constructed by calculating the difference between the individual’s desired collaboration and how the individual perceives the actual collaboration in the school, while objective P-O fit compares the individual’s perception on the desired collaboration with the perception of the school team on the actual collaboration. Although both operationalize the concept of P-O fit, previous research found disparate findings due to the difference in measurement (Verquer, Beehr, & Wagner, 2003). As this study is one of the first to explore the P-O fit of teachers, both measures will be included in the analyses. Relational data were derived from two sociometric questions concerning the information and the social support network. Social network analysis is the most appropriate method to analyse relational data whereby relations are seen as the linkages between agents (Scott, 2004). The basic building block of social networks is the tie and the presence or absence of it, which makes it possible to calculate several network measures, such as indegree centrality, betweenness centrality and closeness centrality (Borgatti & Foster, 2003). UCINET (Borgatti, Everett, & Freeman, 2002) will be used to compute the network centrality measures. To investigate if and to what extent the several measures of fit can be related to teachers’ job satisfaction, regression models will be conducted.
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: AMa
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Campus Kulak Kortrijk – miscellaneous
Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences - miscellaneous
Educational Effectiveness and Evaluation
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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