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The Formative Nature of Perceived Person-Environment Fit Open Access

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This dissertation explores the concept of person-environment (PE) fit. There has been a push recently to move beyond unidimensional definitions of fit and to consider fit at a variety of levels simultaneously. This has led to questions about how this multidimensional construct should be conceptualized. The study focused on two main research questions. First, is PE fit a formative or reflective construct? Second, how does specifying PE fit as formative or reflective affect the prediction of outcomes? Six hundred and eighty-eight employees rated their fit with various aspects of their work environment and several attitudinal and behavioral outcomes. The results supported the hypotheses that PE fit should be conceptualized as a formative construct. Model fit was better for formative models than for the reflective models, both before and after outcome variables were included. The results also suggest that formative models slightly improve the prediction of outcomes. This suggests that the dimensions and levels of fit combine to form employees' perceptions of fit. Researchers and practitioners should consider a variety of individual and contextual characteristics when studying PE fit. Future work should also focus on how fit at differing levels of the work environment combine to form overall perceptions of fit. Limitations, directions for future research, and implications for theory and practice are discussed.

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