Theory Associated With Shift Work: Person-Environment Fit Theory

Subject: Workforce
Pages: 10
Words: 2935
Reading time:
11 min
Study level: PhD

Introduction

Person-environment fit theory is defined as the degree of match between personal and situational variables in producing a significant selected outcome (Muchinsky & Mohanan, 1987). The person-environment fit theory relates to how a person fits into a workplace environment, it discusses the various factors affecting how a person relates to the workplace environment (Caplan, 2009).

In only 3 hours we’ll deliver a custom Theory Associated With Shift Work: Person-Environment Fit Theory essay written 100% from scratch Get help

Relationship of the Theory with Management

Management of an organization is concerned with ensuring that the organization attains its goals and they do so through effective employee management.

The person-environment fit theory review fits the literature by Edward (1991), which identified job satisfaction, job stress, motivation of the employees, the performance of the employees, work attendance by the employees, and retention as outcomes that are positively affected by the person-environment fit theory. When the person-environment fit is assessed as the match between what an employee wants and receives from performing the job, it has correlated with improved job satisfaction, adjustment, and organizational commitment as well as reduced intentions to quit (Edward, 1991). Thus, this theory can help managers’ ineffective selection of employees in comparison to unstructured techniques (Buckely & Russel, 1997). The person-environment fit evaluations or holistic judgments about applicants fit with their organizations in the actual selection process and thus refer to the process of employee interview to show that the theory plays a crucial role in the recruitment and selection of employees. Therefore, the theory is ideal for the human resource department in the hiring decision-making process (Gerbart, 1990). The person-environment fit theories guide research into job

satisfaction, job stress experienced by employees of an organization, vocational choice by employees who seek new employment avenues, recruitment and selection of employees and organizational climate and culture (Zimmerman & Johnson, 2005). Person-environment fit emerged as a core concept in research on job satisfaction (Locke, 1976), job stress experienced by employees (French, Caplan & Harrison, 1982), vocational choice (Holland, 1997), recruitment and selection of employees by organizations (Wanous, 1992) and organizational climate and culture (Chatman, 1989).

Person-environment fit theory strongly relates to occupational stress because if a person does not fit into their workplace environment, they will be stressed and thus reduce their productivity. Moreover, “occupational stress can also occur because a person may not fit into the environment work place because of the inability to complete the demands of a work place importance to match their abilities with the job demands” (Caplan, 1998, p. 267). Holland (1959) points out that people seek vocations that have career environments that match their own interests. A high person-environment fit results in job satisfaction, vocational stability and achievement, whereas low person-environment fit is likely to result in dissatisfaction and ultimately leaving that occupation. This model is rather static than dynamic (Ostroff, et al, 2002), and therefore in order to better understand the dynamic interaction of the person and the environment, we should consider developing a more dynamic models of person-environment fit in which both individuals and environment changes over time.

This theory can help address conflicts at work place, and thus as a student, this theory can be applied at work place to ensure sufficient success of the business. In the management field, the person-environment fit theory has been utilized in employee recruitment and selection research (Edwards, 1991). The theory helps the human resource department in employee selection, the concept of person-environment fit, which is defined as the degree of match between a person and the environment and has been prevalent in management literature (Schneider, 1987). An employee experiencing excess work demands may seek training to enhance his or her abilities or attempt to negotiate a decreased workload with her or his supervisor (Harrison, 1985) and this will enhance the production capability of the employee thus leaving the employee satisfied and thus highly motivated to discharge his or her duties. Therefore, the theory is of great help to the managers in ensuring that management goals associated with effective employee management are met.

Historical Development of Person-Environment Fit Theory

The review encompasses “person-environment fit theories that span nearly a century ago and guide research into job satisfaction, job stress experienced by employees of an organization and vocational choice by employees who seek new employment avenues” (Zimmerman & Johnson, 2005, p. 255). Others are recruitment and selection of employees and organizational climate and culture. Although the major concept of the person-environment fit theory dates back to work of Plato (Dumont & Carson, 1995), contemporary person-environment fit research is often traced to works of Parsons (1909), who developed a matching model to describe the fit between attributes of the person and the characteristics of different vocations. Subsequent theoretical person-environment work that laid the foundations for person-environment fit research includes Murray’s need-press model (Murray, 1938, 1951) and Lewin’s field theory (Lewin, 1935, 1951). The theories generated the modus operandi B= F (P, E) that stipulates that the conduct/manners is a function of the individual and the surroundings. Person-environment fit emerged as a core concept in research on job satisfaction (Locke, 1976), job stress experienced by employees (French, Caplan & Harrison, 1982), vocational choice (Holland, 1997), recruitment and selection of employees by organizations (Wanous, 1992) and organizational climate and culture (Chatman, 1989).

Academic experts
available
We will write a custom Workforce essay specifically for you for only $16.00 $11/page Learn more

Person-environment theory has been reviewed in narrative summaries (Edward, 1991; Spokane, 1985; Spokane, Meirs & Catalano, 2000; Arthur, 2006). Based on these reviews “it can be concluded that person-environment fit theory research is thriving and productive, yielding evidence that has been used to evaluate, modify and extend theories of person-environment fit” (Worher, 2005, p.150). Moreover, person-environment fit theory research has repeatedly run through the cycle linking theory and empiricism that generates scientific progress (Runkel, 1972), such that the most current person-environment fit theories is remarkably more superior to their previous predecessors. In addition, they are of more help to the organizations that utilize them in running their affairs, in terms of stress evaluation of its employees and employee selection and recruitment.

As reviewed in various articles(Edwards,1991,Sekiguchi 2006),several distinct constructs have evolved from the person-environment fit theory concept, including individual fit with job, individual fit with groups, individual fit with the organization and the individual fit with the occupation.

Core Elements of Person-Environment fit theory

Person and environment- Objective and subjective representations of the person and environment, Objective person refers to attributes of the person, as they actually exist, whereas the subjective person signifies the person’s perception of his or her own attributes. Objective environment includes physical and social situations and events, as they exist independent of the person’s perceptions, whereas the subjective environment refers to situations and events as encountered and perceived by the person (Harrison, 1985). French et al. (1974) identify four key types of correspondence between person and environment. They include objective person-environment fit, which refers to the fit between the objective person and the objective environment and subjective person-environment fit that refers to the fit between the subjective person and subjective environment. Others are contact with actuality that implies the extent to which the subjective setting matches to the objective surroundings and the correctness of self-appraisal, which stands for the match between the objective human being and the prejudiced human being.

Dimensions of person-environment fit theory

The “first dimension of person-environment fit theory is the supplementary versus the complementary distinction, supplementary fit occurs when a person supplements or possesses characteristics that are similar to other individuals in an environment” (Spokane & Catalano, 2005, p.180). In such situations, people perceive themselves as fitting in the environment because they are a like or similar to other people possessing these characteristics in the same environment. Therefore, it is essentially a model of person-person fit. Complementary fit occurs when an environment or a person add to what is missing, the basis of a good fit is the mutually offsetting pattern of relevant characteristics between the person and the environment (Muchinsky & Monahan, 1987). Muchinsky & Monahan (1987) differentiates environment in the two models in that, in supplementary model, environment is described according to people who inhabit it, and in the complementary model, the environment is defined apart from its inhabitants, it is described according to its demands and requirements.

Second dimension of person-environment fit theory is the needs-supplies versus demands-abilities distinction, an environment supplies financial, physical, and psychological resources as well as task-related, interpersonal, and growth opportunities that are demanded by individuals, when such resources from the environment meet an individual needs, needs-supplies fit is achieved (Harrison, 1985). Similarly, an environment may demand contributions from individuals in terms of time, effort, commitment, knowledge, skills and abilities, demand-abilities fit is achieved when the individuals contribution meets the environment demands (Kristof, 1996).

Third dimension of person-environment fit theory is the perceived (subjective) versus actual( objective) distinction, perceived or subjective is defined as the judgment that a person fits well in the environment, on the other hand, actual or objective fit is the comparison between separately rated individuals and environmental characteristics (Kristof,1996) of the person-environment fit theory.

A Review of the Person-Environment Fit Theory

Person-environment fit theory is defined as the degree of match between personal and situational variables in producing significant selected outcome (Muchinsky & Mohanan, 1987). The person-environment fit theory relates to how a person fits into a work place environment, it discusses the various factors affecting how a person relates to the work place environment (Caplan, 2009). The person-environment fit theory review fit the literature by Edward (1991) that identified job satisfaction, job stress, motivation of the employees, performance of the employees, work attendance by the employees and retention as outcomes that are positively affected by the person-environment fit theory. When the person-environment fit is assessed as the match between what an employee wants and receives from performing job, it has correlated with improved job satisfaction, adjustment and organizational commitment as well as reduced intentions to quit (Edward, 1991). Thus, theory is of great help in effective selection of employees in comparison to unstructured techniques (Buckely & Russel, 1997). The person-environment fit evaluations or holistic judgment about applicants fit with their organizations in actual selection process and thus refers to process of employee interview to show that the theory plays a crucial role in recruitment and selection of employees (Gerbart, 1990). The person-environment fit theories guide research into job satisfaction, job stress experienced by employees of an organization, vocational choice by employees who seek new employment avenues, recruitment and selection of employees and organizational climate and culture (Zimmerman & Johnson, 2005). Person-environment fit emerged as a core concept in research on job satisfaction (Locke, 1976), job stress experienced by employees (French, Caplan & Harrison, 1982), vocational choice (Holland, 1997), recruitment and selection of employees by organizations (Wanous, 1992) and organizational climate and culture (Chatman, 1989).

15% OFF Get your very first custom-written academic paper with 15% off Get discount

Person-environment fit theory strongly relates to occupational stress because if a person does not fit into their workplace environment, they will be stressed and reduce their productivity. Holland (1959) points out that people seek vocations that have career environments that match their own interests. High person-environment fit results in job satisfaction, vocational stability and achievement, whereas low person-environment fit is likely to result in dissatisfaction and ultimately leaving that occupation and thus this model is rather static than dynamic (Ostroff et al, 2002). In order to understand the dynamic interaction of the person and the environment, we should consider developing dynamic models of person-environment fit in which both individuals and environment changes over time.

This theory can help address conflicts at work place, and thus as a student, this theory can be applied at work place to ensure sufficient success of the business. In the management field, the person-environment fit theory has been utilized in employee recruitment and selection research (Edwards, 1991). The theory helps the human resource department in employee selection, the concept of person-environment fit, which is defined as the degree of match between a person and the environment and has been prevalent in management literature (Schneider, 1987).

The theory describes the process by which person and the environment jointly influence strain, it does not specify the content of person and the environment dimensions, to this extent, it is only regard as a pure process theory (Campel et al., 1970), and thus the content of person and the environment dimensions must be obtained from other theories. This theory only identifies a set of possible relationships. Furthermore, evidence suggests that the relationship between person-environment fit and strain may differ not only across content dimensions and indices of strain but also across occupation (Caplan et al., 1980). Harrison (1985) defines stress, in that stress arises when, the environment does not provide adequate supplies to meet the person’s needs, and the abilities of the person fall short of demands that are prerequisite to receiving supplies. Second, contrary to some definitions of stress ( Shiron, 1982), this definition stipulates that misfit between demands and abilities itself does not constitute stress,rather,excess demands generates stress only if meeting demands is required to receive supplies or if demands have internalized as goals.

Criticisms of the person-environment fit theory

The theory is criticized as expressing a static view, because most person-environment models focus on the relatively stable aspects of the person and the environment (Sekiguchi, 2004). Person-environment fit is typically only assessed at one point of time, either when the selection or job choices is being made or later at some point during the person’s organizational tenure( Spokane, Meir & Catalano, 2000).

Holland (1959) points out that individuals seek out vocations that have career environment that matches their own interests, thus high person-environment fit results in job satisfaction, vocational stability and achievement, whereas low person-environment fit is likely to result in dissatisfaction and ultimately leaving that occupation and thus this model is rather static than dynamic (Ostroff, et al, 2002). In order to understand the dynamic interaction of the person and the environment, we should consider developing dynamic models of person-environment fit in which both individuals and environment changes over time (Welch, 2008b).

Whether a good fit today will be a good fit tomorrow depends on the stability of the variables, the individual and the environment (Muchinsky & Mohanan, 1987). Some characteristics of the person and the environment are more stable, other characteristics may be personality that is more changeable, and values are considered relatively stable, whereas, values are less stable than personality and more susceptible to the variety of changes in society and the influences of new environment (Ryan & Kristof, 2003).

Failure of the theory to define job stress, some presentations of person-environment fit theory have defined stress (Caplan et al., 1980; French et al 1982), others have avoided the term (Caplan, 1983, French, et al. 1974). In spite of stress being central to this theory, its meaning has generated considerable debate in the area of stress (Schneider, 1980) and thus proposing a definition of stress consistent with person-environment fit theory may help position the theory within the broader stress literature and thus facilitate its comparison with other theories. Harrison (1985) defines stress, in that stress arises when, the environment does not provide adequate supplies to meet the person’s needs, and the abilities of the person fall short of demands that are prerequisite to receiving supplies. Second, contrary to some definitions of stress (Shiron, 1982), this definition stipulates that misfit between demands and abilities itself does not constitute stress,rather,excess demands generates stress only if meeting demands is required to receive supplies or if demands have internalized as goals (Sekiguchi, 2004).

Get your customised and 100% plagiarism-free paper on any subject done for only $16.00 $11/page Let us help you

Although the theory describes the process by which person and the environment jointly influence strain, it does not specify the content of person and the environment dimensions, to this extent, it is only regard as a pure process theory (Campel, et al. 1970), and thus the content of person and the environment dimensions must be obtained from other theories. The theory only identifies a set of possible relationships. Futhermore, evidence suggests that the relationship between person-environment fit and strain may differ not only across content dimensions and indices of strain but also across occupation (Caplan, et al. 1980).

The theory is typically based on the assumption that perfect fit reduces stress and enhances well being. However, this assumption may not hold for various reasons, excess abilities may decrease stress if they promote the fulfillment of needs on the other dimensions (Spokane, 1985). Person-environment fit theory strongly relates to occupational stress because if a person does not fit into their workplace environment, they will be stressed and thus reduce their productivity (Caplan, 1998). Moreover, occupational stress can also occur because a person does not fit into the work place environment because of the inability to complete the demands of a work place importance to match their abilities with the job demands (Harrison, 1993).

Conclusion

Managers of organizations can highly utilize this theory, in their employee recruitment process, this is necessitated by the f that workers seek working environment that is attractive to them, where the abilities they possess can be able to meet the demands of the jobs assigned to them. As pointed out by Schneider (1987), managers should strive to foster a high person-environment fit for their employees, through job reviews and analysis at the same time, providing training for the employees to enhance their abilities that will ensure that they meet the demands of their job tasks. This will ensure high job satisfaction and organizational commitment from them. In addition, this can reduce the rate of workers quitting their jobs and thereby enhance high rate of work turnover and performance. More research review on this theory ought to be undertaken with more regard to job stress, which has not been adequately addressed in the previous studies, despite it being a major influence on employee performance.

References

Caplan, D. & Harrison, R. (1993). Person-Environment fit theory: Some history, recent developments and future directions. Social science, Vol. 49, pp. 253-275.

Chatman, A. (1989). Improving interact ional organizational research: Person-Environment fit theory. Academy management review, 14(3), pp. 333-349.

Edwards, J. & Harrison, R. (2006). Person-Environment fit theory: Conceptual foundations, empirical evidences and direction for future research. Social science, Vol. 13, pp. 336-370.

French, J. & Harrison, R. (1982). Person-Environment fit theory: Mechanism of job stress and fit. Job stress, Vol. 49, pp. 253-275.

Holland, D. (1959). Action selection framework: Person-Environment fit theory: Academy management review. pp. 333-34.

Kristof, L. & Bono, J. (1999). Actual Person-Environment fit: Recent developments and future directions. Management review, Vol. 49, pp. 253-275.

Lewin, K. (1938). Dynamical psychology: Actual Person-Environment fit: Chicago. pp. 253-275.

Muchinsky, M. & Manahan, J. (1987). Person-organization fit: employee selection Management review, Vol. 23, pp. 137-187.

Ostroff, et al., (2002). Person-Environment fit theory: A review and consideration. Rational behavior, Vol. 23, pp. 137-187.

Ryan, B. & Kristof, L. (2003). Actual Person-Environment fit: Recent developments and future directions. Management review, Vol. 24, pp. 204-238.

Sekinguchi, T. & Harrison, R. (2006). Person-Environment fit theory: A review of the literature. Osaka Keidia, Vol. 54, pp. 178-190.

Spokane, A. & Catalano, M. (2005). Person-Environment and Holland theory: A review and consideration. Rational behavior, Vol. 57, pp. 137-187.

Welch, A. (2008b). Myths and Modes of Mobility, Byram, M., and Dervin, F., (Eds.) Academic Mobility. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press.

Worher, M. (2005). Person-Environment and Holland theory: A review and consideration. Management review, Vol. 57, pp. 137-187.

Zimmerman, D. & Johnson, R. (2005). Person-Environment fit theory: Some history, recent developments and future directions. Social science, Vol. 41, pp. 253-275.