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Is It Possible for Organizations Operating in Dynamic Environments to Achieve Person-Organisational Fit to Improve Organizational Effectiveness?

Today we live in a world where change is inevitable. Organisations today face dynamic environments characterized by substantial and often unpredictable technological, political and economic changes. The key to survival and succeeding is adaptation, in dynamic environments often an organisations only option is to literally “do or die” with regard to change.

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Tyagi & Gupta (2005) indicates that the central point of personal and organisational effectiveness is a sense of being able to make contributions and make somewhat of a difference in any way possible.

As individuals we feel content and fulfilled when we make positive contributions to our communities, families and organisations. Similarly organisations can only achieve their potential when they positively impact the lives of various stakeholders and related entities. However the opportunity to contribute only arises if there is a fit between what people want to achieve and what the organisation wants to achieve. Thus creating a fit between the person and organisation allow both to be effective.

In the past few years the concept of Person-Organizational fit (P-O) has been in a state of flux, with many theorists putting forward conflicting views on the conceptualization of fit, its measurements and its boundaries. In the broad sense of the word it is defined as the compatibility between the person and the organisation (Li, 2006). As many organisations operate in dynamic environments; many changes take place and organizations have to cope with these changes by adapting their business and strategies to the turbulent environments.

This essay goes on to explore the effects the changes mention have on the P-O fit and if dynamic environment allow organisations to achieve person-organisational fit in order to enhance and reach organisational effectiveness. According to evidence it can be seen that it is possible to achieve P-O fit in dynamic environments however it would not be the ideal tool to implement to improve effectiveness due to the evolving nature of the environment as it hinders growth and discourages innovation which would not lead to organizational effectiveness (Tyagi & Gupta, 2005).

P-O fit refers to the extent to which and individual and the employing organization are compatible. There are however many definitions that have been put forward over the years such as value congruence (O’Reilly et al. , 1991), Goal congruence (Vancouver et al. , 1994), needs and supplies demand abilities (Edwards,1991) in addition a personality-climate fit (Ryan and Schmit, 1996). However the most commonly used definition is the value congruence perspective. Verquer et al (2003) value congruence as the extent to which individual and organizational values match.

Rynes and Gerhart have gone a step further and pointed out that the P-O fit is more than a mere match, as it usually implies a sense of chemistry (Bellou, 2009). Another way of conceptualising the compatibility between the person and organisation uses the distinction between supplementary and complementary fit. Supplementary fit occurs when a person supplements or possesses characteristics that are similar to other individuals in an environment. This congruence can be differentiated between complementary fit, which occurs when a person’s characteristics make whole the environment or add to what is missing (Tyagi & Gupta, 2005).

Further more Cable and Parsons (2001) states that P-O fit is a crucial factor in maintaining a flexible workforce and creating a high degree of organizational commitment in a tight labour market and a competitive business environment. Supporters of P-O fit state that the construct is crucial in the study of organizational effectiveness because it has made improvements to the traditional view of matching skills, knowledge and abilities in predicting if an individual will be successful in a particular organization (Chuang & Sackett, 2005).

Ambrose et al, 2008 posit that individuals whose values will result in positive contributions to organizational effectiveness and lower turnover. These models may be under the assumption of static environments; one must apply the dynamic nature of the current environments organisations operate in today. Kammeyer-Mueller (2007) proclaims that even though static and dynamic perspectives are portrayed as mutually exclusive alternatives, they need not be opposed to one another.

Research goes on to show that constant external shocks injected into the organisations may result in changes been implemented that affects the P-O fit. These changes may sometimes lead to negative results such as turnover and intention to leave as the employees feel they no longer “fit” with the organisation. In addition Chatman et al (2008, p. 64) notes that, because a lack of congruence is aversive, “misfits” are unlikely to remain with that organization.

There are also instances when individuals no longer are compatible or unhappy with the fit between the organisations and themselves due to adaptations the company undergoes however choose to remain with the organisation solely because they have no other job options. In instances where “misfits” remain as they perceive that it is their only choice they bring about many negative aspects into the organisation such as demotivation, low commitment, this is mainly because they try to overcompensate and manipulate the work input output equation to fill the missing void.

On the other hand the Social identity theory suggests that another mechanism by which individual dispositions might influence fit within a dynamic context. The social identity argues that the self-concept is a patchwork of various identities, such as demography, occupation, organization, department and workgroup which provide proscriptions for behaviour (Ashworth & Johnson, 2001). It also states that depending on the pressures applied the identity a person adopts will differ.

This however does not change the fact that the individual still has within himself or herself, the same core set of identities. Interestingly at least in Oriental Chinese societies, leaders or managers may change their leader behaviours to create a better person-organisation value fit. This study shows that behaviours have positive effects on person-organisational fit. A crucial finding in this study was that even among employees who have been below average O-P fit can be influenced in terms of motivation commitment and trust in their leader by leader behaviours.

For example employees working under high team oriented leaders had higher motivation and commitment and trust compared to those under low team oriented leaders. This goes on to show that even though the dynamic environment may affect and the person-organisation fit and sometimes lowers the P-O value fit , organisations can still effectively operate and manage those employees with the proper management and leadership methods (Li, 2006).

However this method might not an appropriate universal method to implement as business environments vary across nations due to cultural, legal and other aspects that are followed. However the P-O fit may not be in the best interest of the organization at times and lead to negative results. For example, extremely high levels of person-organization value fit may lead to high levels of conformity and homogeneity.

High levels of conformity and homogeneity will bring about a range of adverse effects which may hinder the success of the organisation, by making the organisation and its members far less adaptable to the changes surging in the dynamic environment as well as less innovative (Li, 2006). Some evidence even go to the extent of pointing out that organisations with slight internal variation in employees perspective lead to better performance in the short run but worse in the long run , presumably as a result of inferior adaptation (Li, 2006).

Person-Organisation Fit in theory sounds like a tool that should be implemented by every organisation. Taking a closer look one can see that even though initially achieving a fit will lead to organisational effectiveness in the long run it will cause the organisation more harm than good. This is due to the fact that organisation operating in dynamic environments thrives on adaptability and innovation which is opposed by the negative by products of long term P-0 which include homogeneity and high levels of conformity.

This does not mean that the concept of P-O should be completely ignored as evidence shows that it has a greater impact on individuals in an organisations resulting in positive results in comparison to organisations as a whole. In an ideal situation the individuals should adapt with the environment and perceive the changes as a learning experience to mould them to achieve the best, keeping in mind that sometime change is the key.

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