Exploring Person-Organization Fit and Gender Bias in the Hiring Process of Engineering Firms: Is Selection Impacted?
Knerly, Vicky W.
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This study sought to discover whether intentionally considering person-organization (P-O) fit during the selection process of workforce planning is impacted by gender bias on the part of the hiring manager. Utilizing a comparative case study of hiring managers and employees of small, for-profit engineering firms, the study attempted to discover whether firms that specifically screen applicants for fit with the organization also exhibit gender bias in their selection decisions and whether this differs from firms that do not necessarily hire or rigorously screen for fit with the organization. The theoretical framework for the study follows the Attraction-Selection-Attrition (ASA) framework first proposed by Benjamin Schneider in 1987. The premise of that framework was that the work environments chosen by workers are similar to the workers who join them, because employees prefer a work environment with the same ‘personality’ profile as themselves. Conversely, those who do not fit within an organizational environment will tend to leave it. Subsequent research on P-O fit regarding the outcomes of job satisfaction and turnover has been mixed, with the majority supporting, to varying degrees, an increase in job satisfaction and a decrease in turnover intention. While gender bias in selection has also been studied extensively, no studies have researched the effects of both P-O fit considerations and gender bias simultaneously. Previous studies have overwhelmingly studied the constructs separately, mostly from an employee’s interaction within the organization after employment. If P-O fit is an intentional consideration from the beginning of the workforce planning process, studies have shown that employees who are hired as a result will either be a homogeneous, tight-knit but less innovative group, or they will be a more diverse, innovative group. While not a specific focus of the study, resultant perceived job satisfaction and intention to remain with the organization will be observed as an outcome of selection decisions and an indication of whether there is a relationship between hiring for fit and operationalization of gender bias. The implication of the existence of P-O fit and gender bias is the effect on the long-term outcomes of job satisfaction and tenure within a firm.