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Organisational theory is essential in the determination of the appropriate behaviours and management approaches that would yield the success of an organisation both in the short-term and long-term basis. Organisational theory encompasses “the study of organisations for the benefit of identifying common themes for the purpose of solving problems, maximising efficiency and productivity, and meeting the needs of stake holders” (Armstrong & Daft, 2009, p.34). Topics such as environmental perspectives in enhancing organisational development, neoclassical perspectives, and classical perspectives of approaching organisational management are central to the study of organisational theory. From this perspective, organisational theory acts as a complement for studies in human resource coupled with organisational behaviours. Studying organisational behaviours is integral to the derivation of strategies for organisational management that would result to alignment of all organisational workers to common themes, goals, and objectives that spell out the reasons as to why an organisation is established. Without employees, an organisation cannot exist. For this reason, organisation theory has links with person-environment fit or p-e fit. P-E fit refers to the manner in which organisational environment and individual traits of the employees match (Kristof, Zimmerman, & Johnson, 2005). Individual traits may include psychological and or biological needs, abilities, values, and personalities among others (Cable & Edwards, 2004). These traits determine people’s behaviours, which affect an organisation in various ways. Environmental traits may refer to issues such cultural values, environmental situation such as availability of food, heat, and shelter, job demand and even reward mechanisms in an organisation (Cable & Edwards, 2004). Using the UAE and GCC settings, this paper aims at applying theoretical principles to the understanding of organisational theory and behaviour, organisational development, management of change and innovation, and cross-cultural management in an attempt to show how aspects of organisational theory link with one main aspect of person-environment fit.
P-E fit theory is an essential component of studies for organisational psychology. Organisational psychology helps to explain why people in an organisation behave in certain ways. People working in an organisation coupled with the organisation itself have a central role to play in the determination of the manner in which the organisation’s environment and the persons working for it fit together to enhance organisational growth. Organisations select people based on how they can fit well into the job demands, ease of which the selected persons are able to articulate with changes in job demands in an attempt to adapt to trainings in addition to remaining totally loyal to the operations of the organisation for which they work (Velez & Moradi, 2012). To fulfill these requirements of job environment, a person chosen to work for a particular organisation must possess traits that match the organisational environmental demands. This argument reveals why consideration of P-E fit in studies of organisational behaviour is paramount.
P-E fit is best comprehended as particular facets of interactions between persons and situations, which make specifications of the match that exists between environmental dimensions and specific persons charged with particular roles in an organisation (Cable & Edwards, 2004). In this extent, P-E theory serves as a tool for the provision of theoretical paradigms on conducting assessments, which aid in predicting how traits of people who work in an organisation coupled with the work environment interact jointly to determine “worker well-being and how a model for identifying points of preventive intervention may be elaborated” (Piasentin & Chapman, 2007, p.342). By consideration of how influential person-situation interaction is to the success of an organisation that fosters cross-cultural interaction of people, large bodies of scientific literature exists on person-situation fit from the domain of organisational human resource management (Boon & Den Hartog, 2011). However, confusion persists based on how person-environment fit can be operationalised and or conceptualised (Boon & Den Hartog, 2011). Velez and Moradi (2012) agree with this assertion by pointing out that one of the critical reasons why this confusion exist is because “the person-environment fit encompasses a number of subsets such as person-supervisor fit and person-job fit, which have been shown to be different” (p. 401). In the discussion of P-E fit, the P (characteristics of a given person) implies the abilities and the needs of the person. The E (environmental characteristics) refers to the opportunities and available supplies that are essential for helping a person to meet the demands that are placed to provoke the perception of a person’s abilities and needs in relation to successful achievement of the task requirements. In this perspective, Velez and Moradi (2012) reckon, “demand-ability fit refers to the degree to which the job’s demands are met by the employee’s skills and abilities” (p.401). The statements of goals, objectives, and missions of an organisation set out job demands.
A conception framework for P-E fit needs to equate P to E meaning that individuals’ needs and abilities should correspond to and or act as precise reflections of the ability to meet the demands of a job spelt out in the organisations’ missions, goals, and objective statements. Indeed, organisational culture, which spells out the overall acceptable codes of conduct for all organisational employees, is fundamentally rested on the platforms of ensuring that the abilities of the employees and their needs are in harmony with the operations of an organisation. The management arm in an organisation serves as an incredible tool for ensuring that this objective is achieved. This argument perhaps reveals why the study of organisational behaviour from the perspective of P-E fit cannot segregate management theory. Emphasis on the significance of P-E fit is essential since many scholars perceive positive outcomes for P-E fit as having the ability to yield positive outcomes that directly relate with increased employee productivity.
As stated before, the concern of this paper is on person-environment fit. The environment may comprise other people or the organisation. Therefore, person-person fit entangles a conceptualisation of how individual cultural preferences of particular individuals affect or relate with cultural preferences of other people in an organisation. Person- person fit is anchored on the theoretical paradigm of similarity and attraction, which holds, “people are drawn to others based on their values, altitudes, and opinions” (Van Vianen, 2000, p.114). Among the many facets of person-person fit, person-supervisor fit stands out as the most studied. In fact, according to Boon and Hartog (2011), person-supervisor fit is related to positive outcomes among supervisors in terms of supervisors’ satisfaction (p.118).
Person-organisation fit considers the compatibility that exists between people and organisations for which they work. The compatibility occurs in a number of scenarios. One of the scenarios is where entities within an organisation provide what persons working for an organisation need. For this case to happen, an organisation coupled with the people it employees must have some common characteristics. Additionally, according to Kristof (1996) compatibly between the organisation and employees also occurs in case the “high value congruence is a large facet of person–organisation fit, which implies a strong culture and shared values among co-workers” (p.15). Such compatibility has the overall implication of making employees develop a high sense of trust coupled with the creation of a culture of corporate community (Boon & Hartog, 2011). Organisations benefit from value congruence that is created by positive person-organisation fit in the sense that, when an organisation operates in harmony with both its values and the values of the employees, instances of labour turnover are reduced tremendously while organisational commitment and citizenship behaviours are increased (Andrews et al., 2010: Gregory et al., 2010). Gregory et al. (2010) further suggests that people are normally attracted to look out for job opportunities in organisations having high considerations of the fit between person-organisation. Arguably, studies of organisational management explore these concerns, which are specialised to concentrate on the fit between cross-cultural management and person-environment fit. At the heart of the studies is the need to come up with managerial approaches, which curtail incidences of conflict between an organisational cultures and individual cultural preferences of the employees. Conflicts of organisational and cross cultures of employees are particularly significant in the globalisation age in which global organisations cannot avoid employing people from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Organisational behaviour is aimed at providing explanations of the complex functions of organisation coupled with making predictions of outcomes of changes that underlay organisational dynamics. Organisational behaviour can be modelled in a variety of ways, which are collectively termed as organisational behaviour philosophies (Davis 2000). Such areas entangle raising job satisfaction, improvement of performance, promotion of innovation, and encouragement of leadership as the key drivers to organisational success. To achieve these concerns of organisation behaviour, leaders and managers of organisations use different tactics among them being re-organisation of groups, modification of structures of compensation and alteration of the manner in which organisational performance is evaluated.
The management arm of an organisation determines the direction taken by the entire organisation. In the determination of the appropriate direction, employee satisfaction emerges as a central issue that managers have to address (Boon & Den Hartog, 2011). Arguably, employees will be more satisfied if the organisation they work for meets their needs starting from the most basic psychological needs going upwards as Maslow discussed them in his hierarchy of needs. This effort makes sure that organisational behaviour aspect of enhancing job satisfaction is rested on the platforms of good person-organisational fit by noting Chatman’s (2001) argument that organisations are established not only to serve the interests of their owners but also as an obligation to persons they employ. Therefore, if people have some emerging needs, the principles of operation of the organisation, which are often spelt out in the organisational behaviour philosophies, should respond to the needs in the effort to maintain positive fit with employees. In this line of thought, it is imperative to note that a poor fit between an organisation and its employees gives rise to conflicts of interest thus creating situations in which people tend to resist performing the demands placed on them by the organisation. For this reason, human resource management is established to ensure that the behaviours developed by people in response to certain organisational situations do not impair the normal functioning of the organisations (Cooper-Thomas, van Vianen & Anderson, 2004).
Directly congruent with the arguments raised above, Edwards and Shipp (2007) maintain that a person-organisation fit is a function of various situations that are encountered within an organisation, which determines the behaviours of the employees towards an organisation and the behaviour of the organisation towards employees. This argument means that, should polarised situation emerge, an organisation must respond to the situation by developing an action (behaviour) that conforms to the degree of polarity of the situation. In this context, it is arguable that situation and persons are interrelated. The interactions go far in influencing the behaviour of the organisation with the most preferred course of action being to reduce the degree of polarity. Reduction of polarity of situations that may influence performance of an organisation enables employees to gain confidence in the organisation they work for hence helping in fostering job satisfaction. The repercussion is making people develop high commitment to the functions of the organisation as stipulated in the organisational goal and mission statements. In this sense, the pace, the manner and the approach through which an organisation strategically moves to resolve organisation-worker conflicts constitutes a unique organisational behaviour, which helps to foster positive person-organisation fit.
The impacts of the person-organisation fit in influencing the behaviour of an organisation are predominantly the province of the interactions between people and environmental situations. According to Davis (2000), “…people are not passive agents who are subjects of environmental forces” (p.45). Rather, people do select situations in an active manner. Under normal circumstances, people chose situations that are consistent with their ambitions, affiliations, and psychological needs. Therefore, the point is choosing situations and performing in situations that are largely compatible with them. Gustafson and Mumford (1995) amplify the significance of this argument by holding, “high achievers are more compatible since they prefer challenging situations, which require high levels of achievement” (p.167). An organisation should then consider developing appropriate behaviour towards the demand placed by such people in the effort to enhance a good person–organisation fit as tools for success and maintaining workers morale. Indeed, “people tend to be happier when they are in settings that meet their particular needs, or are congruent with their dispositions” (Choi, 2004, p.532). The degree to which an organisation establishes an organisation’s culture (a form of organisational behaviour) that strongly advocates for the centrality of respecting and working consistently to reinforce and respect the concerns of its workers implies a higher probability that it maintains a positive person-organisation fit.
Evaluation of a person-organisation fit is critical in the determination of an appropriate organisational philosophy for coalescing all employees and or orienting their focus to common organisational goals and objectives in the effort to gain both short-term and long- term success. However, it is vital to note that organisations are composed of people who have come from diverse backgrounds. Hence, employees have different personalities and individual affiliations, which may pose threats to the performance of organisations. Consequently, while deriving an organisational philosophy (described by a set of organisational behaviours), the perspectives of diversities of the employees need to be considered by enhancing a positive person-person fit.
People have different cultural preferences, which may influence the way they conduct their daily chores within organisations. To ensure that an organisation is not caught in between the battle of personal preferences between its workers, it is essential for an organisation to prescribe a common organisational culture that merges all individual preferences into a common culture driven by organisational objectives, aims, goals, and missions. Such an attempt encompasses an endeavour to promote a positive person-person fit. As one of the examples of aspects of person-environment fit, person- person fit implies that all people in an organisation are managed such that their differences in abilities, preferences, and even affiliations do not create animosity between them (Kristof, Zimmerman & Johnson, 2005). Various scholars from different person-person fit aspects have considered the manner in which person-person fit influences the adoption of an appropriate organisational behaviour that will result in the success of an organisation. One of such aspects is person-supervisor fit.
Job selection and allocation of tasks are among the principal responsibilities of supervisors. Many approaches may be used to accomplish this task. However, according to Kristof, Zimmerman, and Johnson (2005), many organisations select and allocate tasks to employees based on their capabilities, skills, and abilities to execute specific tasks with both precision and accuracy with minimal effort. A positive person-supervisor fit is thus enhanced in case the supervisor is able to know all the unique abilities of all employees, which enable each employee to execute given tasks with ease. Such a fit facilitates reduction of occupational stress, which “occurs if a person does not fit the environment because of his or her inability to complete the demands of a workplace” (Choi, 2004, p. 549). This case happens in case the task allocated to a given person does not only require skills and abilities that he or she does not have but also when the supplies and funds available do not meet the job demands. For instance, allocating a given task to an employee without provision of the right tools that make the task easy to execute can create a negative person–supervisor fit.
From the arguments raised above, it sounds imperative to advocate for job selection by supervisors based on the objective demands of a particular job. Indeed, this approach yields results for enhancing person-supervisor fit. “The objective requirement of a particular job needs the requirement in terms of P (abilities and needs of a given employee) since the more likely people in the selective jobs should show a good P-E fit regardless of the level of the job demands (E)” (Antonioni & Park, 2001, p.335). The relationship between the supervisor and the employees also determines the degree of motivations and job commitment by the employees. Based on this argument, while noting that an organisation operating in the global space strategically focuses on addressing employees’ diversity showing how it influences their productivity, person-supervisor fit is an incredible tool for enhancing the success of an organisation. The supervisors need to restrain from allowing their cultural influences to control the manner in which they allocate tasks to employees in the effort to enhance positive person- supervisor fit. The requirements need to be incorporated in the formulation of an appropriate organisational behaviour that is the most crucial in enhancing both the short-term and long-term success of an organisation in question.
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Management of change and innovation
Creativity and innovation constitute a high strategic agenda for people who lead, manage, and or those working for organisations. Making an organisation become innovative often calls for “taking a systematic approach focusing on the people involved, the methods that are applied in production processes, the environment in which employees are working in, and the desired innovative results” (Selby et al., 2004, p.221). Although there are several models for innovations, applying any one of them calls for consideration of people as the most indispensable resources to drive creativity and innovation strategies within the organisation. Akkermans, Isaksen, and Isaksen’s (2008) research on the roles of innovation in an organisation evidences that managers and leaders who attempt to bring about organisational change through innovations without paying incredible attention to person-environmental fit are always doomed not to succeed. This argument implies that innovation and creativity are driven by a productive fit between people and the organisational environment.
Organisation, which invests heavily on addressing the challenges of innovation, have the highest chances of outdoing their industry’s competitors with regard to market share capitalisation, profitability, market capitalisation, and growth (Tidd, Bessant & Pavitt, 2005). Additionally, innovative organisations are best placed to mobilise experiences, skills, and knowledge of the employees in an attempt to convert them into products and services while not negating converting them into mechanisms of making things done at a faster pace within the usual resource constraints in an organisation. For this case to happen, a positive fit must exist between persons working in an organisation and the organisation itself (Akkermans, Isaksen & Isaksen, 2008).
To drive the competitive advantage that is sustainable within an origination, innovation and creativity encompasses a key strategy that all organisations need to focus on. Barsh, Capozzi, and Davidson’s (2008) findings support this assertion, which indicated that 70 percent of the senior executives studied recognised innovation as constituting one of the most crucial top three propellers for improvement of performance of organisations. Given this significance of innovation, many scholars have been searching for strategies of making sure that organisations foster and nurture the culture of innovation and creativity. Enhancing positive person-environment fit is one of such strategies.
Innovation arises from the creation of a situation or out of the existing situations calling for the adoption of strategies to resolve them. Consequently, innovation is an organisational behaviour that arises from interactions between people in organisations and situations prompting actions (Choi, 2004, p.531). Organisations should then ensure that they identify environmental situations (both non-interpersonal and interpersonal), which correlate with the personalities of the people they employ (Choi, 2004). This fit enables workers to consider such situations falling within their domains in that no one else would be well positioned to resolve their affiliated challenges even if they have no possible solution at hand. In this end, existence of the best fit between situations calling for innovation and characteristics of people including their abilities and skills results in satisfaction, hiked performance, and a reduction in system stress. Absence of such a fit results in “…decreased performance, dissatisfaction, and stress in the system” (Choi, 2004, p.533). Consequently, an organisation cannot attain optimal creativity and innovation without paying attention to enhancing harmony between the organisation and people working for it.
In the study of P-E fit, there are two main theoretical paradigms, which help in the prediction of behaviour. The first paradigm is inclined on the interactions that exist between people’s abilities and the demands placed on them by the organisational environment (Choi, 2004). From the context of innovation and creativity, the role of an organisation is to create an environmental fit that provides a substrate for the growth of people’s actual and perceived abilities. When perceived abilities are actualised, an organisation acquires new approaches of executing certain tasks, which were otherwise executed in an ineffective way (Gustafson & Mumford, 1995). The second paradigm of P-E fit is related to interactions between preferences of people and opportunities that are created by the environment. This paradigm implies that, unless an organisation enacts strategies for fostering innovative behaviour, innovation cannot flourish (Hunter, Bedell & Mumford, 2007). Therefore, innovation is behaviour that can be enhanced by an organisation through the promotion of a person-organisation fit, which gives employees the opportunity to think beyond compliance to their bureaucratically determined roles, job divisions, and specialisations in an organisation.
In the era of globalisation, organisations employ people of different cultural diversities. The impact is to bring together people with different cultural preferences and affiliations to execute similar or related tasks within an organisation (Sekiguchi, 2006, p.48). Although diversity is beneficial, it creates situations in which some people tend to place emphasis on different things, which an organisation should provide for them to be satisfied with their jobs. This argument means that an organisation has to look for various alternative person-environment fits, which meet the cross-culturally valid preferences and affiliations.
The interplay between P-E fit and cross cultures is evident by considering an organisation in the UAE employing people from only two cross cultures, for instance, collectivist and individualist persons. From the perspective of individualistic cultures, “people tend to care more about ‘with whom’ they want to establish a tie, and go through a more selective process of evaluating the fit in terms of value or personality similarity because the similarity can be beneficial either effectively or cognitively in performing their job” (Lee, Sebastian and Dongmei, 2010) p.164). Consequently, individualist societies concentrate more on deep-level similarities with regard to values and personalities. Such similarities enable individualists to cooperate in an effective manner with their colleagues. This argument can also be extended to other cross-cultural aspects, which create a perception of oneness among various employees within UAE and GCC organisations.
Through a person-organisation fit, an organisation creates an environmental situation that hinders proliferation of cross-cultural attributes, which serve to disintegrate as opposed to integrating people of valid cultural preferences. In this extent, Schaubroeck and Lam (2002) provide a demonstration that deep-level similarities among various work groups produce significant impacts on the integration of peers (persons of valid cultural backgrounds) for the case of collectivist societies while compared to individualistic societies.
For collectivist’s societies, “persons tend to constitute their work relationships on the platforms of broad based commonalities” (Huff & Kelley, 2003, p.82). This case makes the impacts of surface level-based similarities become less pronounced (Kristof, Zimmerman & Johnson, 2005, p.283). Directly congruent with this assertion, Farh et al. (1998) argue that relational demographic aspects such as ethnicity, race, gender, occupations, and education are significant determinants for the extent to which mainland UAE and GCC workers trust their supervisors (p.488). Similarities in places of schooling among workers, villages of origin, and or bearing similar names may help in fostering the creation of a culturally inclined perception of self-belonging (Chen et al., 1998). Hence, it is a key issue to consider in the development of mechanisms for enhancing person-person positive fit in an organisation having cross-cultural employees.
Faced with the challenge of orienting all cross culturally diverse employees to common goals, missions, and objectives of an organisation, leaders and managers have to theorise mechanisms of enhancing interactivity of people. This argument perhaps explains the intensive emphasis on person-organisation fit in the concentration of modern organisations to encourage cute management of cultural diversities among employees of global organisations. Cultural diversity refers to “the variety of experiences and perspectives, which arise from differences in race, culture, religion, mental or physical abilities, heritage, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other characteristics” (Huff & Kelley, 2003, p.82). These dimensions influence motivation, the manner of interactions between persons, success, and performance of employees. To help mitigate the negative impacts of these essential components of cross cultures on the gaining of an organisational success, person-environment fit dimensions need to foster elimination of organisational structures, which emphasise and or create barriers to a positive contribution of organisational diversity to the success of an organisation both in the short-run and long-run. A good initiation point is the creation of an organisational culture, which emphasises more on the purpose of employees coming together to accomplish common goals, missions, and objectives, which only define the reasons why an organisation is established. The success for the flourishing of such a culture is related to the type of person-person fit and person- organisation fit existing in an organisation. For instance, the more the employees see a supervisor as only a senior person serving as a tool for giving directions, as opposed to seeing the supervisor as having different cultural aspects, the better an organisation is placed to increase performance, innovations, creativity, and even profitability because incidences of cross-cultural conflicts become mitigated through a positive person-supervisor fit.
Person-environment fit among the UAE women entrepreneurs
As argued before, person-environment fit may take a variety of forms since environment is a composition of many things including people, job, and organisations amongst other parameters. One of such aspects is the job implying a p-e fit that exists between the traits possessed by an individual and the traits of the job done by the individual (Kristof-Brown & Guay, 2011). Although professional achievements of people in comparison to the job demand determine whether an individual fits well to a specific job, traditional views on job selection, which emphasise various job-matching strategies, are crucial in the determination of a person-environment fit.
In the UAE, the person-environment fit is function of acceptable roles in the society of the persons filing specific jobs. The acceptability of the roles of different people in taking part in particular jobs is based on the traditional perspectives on the do and the don’ts. This case is often ingrained in the cultural attitudes of people. For instance, in the traditional culture of the UAE, women are required to take part only in domestic roles (Chatman 2001). The requirement is based on the perception that women should not engage in tasks in which they would touch people especially men, they do not know. When the job undertaken by women does not involve men, women are not also required to take part in any job that would see them come home beyond 10.00 pm (Heather, 2005). Since the entrepreneurial job does not precisely follow this requirement, in the context of the UAE, cultural perspectives, which define the jobs that women should engage in, it does not fit them well. In fact, entrepreneurship entails undertaking tasks that involve constant interactions with people of all diversities in the effort to successfully place ones products into the market. Where women own the entrepreneurship organisations, it would cost women dearly since they would need to work even late in the night to enhance the success of their entrepreneurial ventures. However, this case would amount to breaking the traditional taboos on the roles and duties of a woman in the society. Consequently, entrepreneurship would amount to a poor person-environment fit for the UAE women.
According Chatman (2001), “among the UAE nationals, it is generally considered inappropriate for women to speak to men they are neither married nor related to in public” (Para.5). Although currently, interactions with male workmates is becoming acceptable in the UAE, for those who still cling on the traditional taboos, the flourishing of women entrepreneurs is immensely difficult since women-discriminating cultures create impressions that women do not fit in certain jobs especially, which violate the traditional cultural affiliations. Entrepreneurship is one of such jobs because it will evolve contact and close communication with people of all genders and other demographic differences. Consequently, it arguable that interpretations of the roles of women in the society among the UAE nationals only serve to foster poor p-e fit when it comes to entrepreneurship as a challenge undertaken by women. This case is attributed to the persisting culture that curtails interactions of women with certain groups of people in the society. Hence, if women have to participate in the entrepreneurial ventures, they have to do businesses only with their fellow women while still adhering to other limitations spelt out to them by the society. Such preconditions impair the person- entrepreneurial job fit for the UAE women.
Organisational behaviour is one of the essential coma nets of any organisation. It prescribes the norms of doing specific things within the organisation in question. This crucial organisational aspect determines a lot when it comes to organisational performance. An organisation that embraces behaviours that match with the set goals and objectives or behaviours that foster employees’ output has to success by the end of the day as opposed to one whose practices do not coincide with the organisational deliverables. Although organisations have different focuses in their organisational behaviour models, any model deployed should serve to foster positive interactions between employees and the organisations. The paper argued that such an approach to organisational behaviour is essential in helping to foster a positive person-environment fit that would aid in the reduction of frictions between employees and the organisation that employs them. It encourages innovation and creativity besides helping in reducing the negative impacts of cross-cultural preferences between people coming from diverse multicultural environments. Although there are many aspects of person- environment fits, this paper predominantly focused on the person- organisation fit and person-person fit with specific emphasis on person-supervisor fit within the UAE and GCC contexts.
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