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Psychological Reports, 1988, 62, 167-173. © Psychological Reports 1988

ORGANIZATIONAL ATTRACTION AND
THE PERSON-ENVIRONMENT FIT1

VIRGINIA E. SCHEIN AND THOMAS DIAMANTE
Gettysburg College Philip Morris USA

Summary.—The purpose of the research was to test the hypothesis that
individuals who score high on a particular personality characteristic are more
likely to be attracted to an organization reflective of that characteristic than
individuals who are low on that characteristic. Three empirical studies using
a total sample of 385 advanced management candidates tested the hypothesis.
Each study focused on one particular personality characteristic: Dominance,
Nurturance, or Autonomy, as measured or perceived from the individual and
the organizational perspective. In all three studies there was a significant rela­
tionship between a person-environment fit and organizational attractiveness.
Implications for organizational and individual outcomes and suggestions for
research are discussed.

Why are people attracted to an organization? Why do people choose to
work for a particular organization? Despite the importance of these questions,
little research has been done in this area. Rather, as noted by Schneider ( 1972,
1985), the bulk of research has focused on the selection process. How do we
select the best person from among the candidates in the applicant pool? Much
less research emphasis has been placed on examining why people are attracted
to or choose to apply to a particular organization.

The theories of person-environment fit (Holland, 1973, 1985) that have
guided vocational choice research are applicable to research on organizational
attraction and choice. Vroom (1966), for example, in the process of selecting
an organization in which to work, found that a match or fit between 49 grad­
uare students’ individual goals and the beliefs that an organization could provide
goal fulfillment was related to organizational attractiveness. The job goals were
factors such as salary and opportunity for advancement.

Hall (1976) extended the person-environment fit to include individual
needs and personality variables, as well as the more objective factors measured
by Vroom. According to Hall, individuals with high achievement needs may
choose aggressive achievement-oriented organizations. Power-oriented people
may choose influential, prestigious organizations, and affiliative people may
choose warm, friendly organizations.

Tom ( 1971 ) and Burke and Deszca ( 1982 ) tested the personality-environ­
ment congruency hypothesis. Tom assessed the personalities of 100 students

Requests for reprints should be sent to Virginia E. Schein, Department of Management,
Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, PA 17325. A major portion of this research was con­
ducted at Baruch College. City University of New York, where the first author was Asso­
ciate Pr

Annu. Rev. Psychol. 2013. 64:361–88

First published online as a Review in Advance on
July 30, 2012

The Annual Review of Psychology is online at
psych.annualreviews.org

This article’s doi:
10.1146/annurev-psych-113011-143809

Copyright c 2013 by Annual Reviews.
All rights reserved

Keywords

organizational behavior, organizational effectiveness, data
aggregation, linkage research, organizational values, levels of analysis

Abstract

Organizational climate and organizational culture theory and research
are reviewed. The article is first framed with definitions of the con-
structs, and preliminary thoughts on their interrelationships are noted.
Organizational climate is briefly defined as the meanings people attach
to interrelated bundles of experiences they have at work. Organizational
culture is briefly defined as the basic assumptions about the world and
the values that guide life in organizations. A brief history of climate re-
search is presented, followed by the major accomplishments in research
on the topic with regard to levels issues, the foci of climate research,
and studies of climate strength. A brief overview of the more recent
study of organizational culture is then introduced, followed by samples
of important thinking and research on the roles of leadership and na-
tional culture in understanding organizational culture and performance
and culture as a moderator variable in research in organizational behav-
ior. The final section of the article proposes an integration of climate
and culture thinking and research and concludes with practical impli-
cations for the management of effective contemporary organizations.
Throughout, recommendations are made for additional thinking and
research.

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Organizational Climate
and Culture
Benjamin Schneider,1 Mark G. Ehrhart,2

and William H. Macey1

1CEB Valtera, Rolling Meadows, Illinois 60008, 2Department of Psychology, San Diego
State University, San Diego, California 92182; email: [email protected],
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