Title: The Magnetism of Organizational Values: Examining Person-Organization Fit Theory versus Self-Determination Theory in Job Search
Authors: Vanderstukken, Arne
Van den Broeck, Anja
Proost, Karin
Issue Date: 2013
Conference: VvE-day of Economic Research location:Hasselt date:13 December 2013
Abstract: The war for talent rages on in certain occupations, despite a current lag in the economy (Beechler & Woodward, 2009). Qualified job seekers can apply for different jobs in a variety of organizations. Choosing among these vacancies is often complicated by the fact that little is known of a company as an employer (Barber, 1998). To fill information gaps, job seekers can rely on advertisements containing information about organizational values, since these are indicative of other organizational attributes (Cable & Turban, 2001). However, a clear consensus on which organizational values appeal to potential applicants does not exist in the literature. More specifically, person-organization fit theory (PO fit theory, Kristof, 1996) and self-determination theory (SDT, Deci & Ryan, 2000; Kasser, 2002) result in conflicting views when applied to the recruitment context. PO fit theory argues that job seekers strive for a match between their own values and those projected by the organization, because this creates the anticipation of a trusting work environment where psychological needs can be satisfied (Cable & Edwards, 2004). SDT, on the other hand, only deems a match in values beneficial if these values relate to personal growth, contributions to society, or social relationships (intrinsic values; Deci & Ryan, 2000). The pursuit of values indicative of a focus on external evaluation (such as status or wealth; extrinsic values) decreases well-being, especially when promoted by the work environment. Therefore, according to SDT and contrary to PO fit theory, both intrinsically and extrinsically oriented job seekers might prefer an organization projecting intrinsic values, and thus not always supporting their current aspirations. We contrasted both views (SDT and PO fit theory) in an experiment on 93 business administration students. First, respondents read a fictional job advertisement containing organizational value information (intrinsic or extrinsic, depending on the condition). Next, they completed a questionnaire on their personal values and the attractiveness of the organization described in the advertisement. Results uncovered two relevant effects: attraction was higher in the extrinsic organizational value condition, and extrinsically oriented respondents in the extrinsic organizational value condition showed more attraction than their counterparts in the intrinsic organizational value condition. This study provides partial support to PO fit theory.

Reference list
Barber, A. E. (1998). Recruiting Employees: Individual and Organizational Perspectives. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Beechler, S., & Woodward, I. C. (2009). The global “war for talent.” Journal of International Management, 15(3), 273-285.
Cable, D. M., & Edwards, J. R. (2004). Complementary and supplementary fit: a theoretical and empirical integration. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89(5), 822-834.
Cable, D. M., & Turban, D. B. (2001). Establishing the dimensions, sources and value of job seekers’ employer knowledge during recruitment. In G. R. Ferris (Ed.), Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management (Vol. 20), 115-163. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The “What” and “Why” of Goal Pursuits: Human Needs and the Self-Determination of Behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11(4), 227–268.
Kasser, T. (2002). The high price of materialism. London: MIT Press.
Kristof, A. L. (1996). Person-Organization Fit: an Integrative Review of Its Conceptualizations, Measurement, and Implications. Personnel Psychology, 49(1), 1–49.
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: AMa
Appears in Collections:Research Centre for Work and Organisation Studies (WOS Bxl), Campus Brussels
Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) - miscellaneous

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