TitleDyadic Fit and the Process of Organizational Socialization
Publication TypeBook Chapters
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsKammeyer-Mueller, JD, Schilpzand, P, Rubenstein, A

Person-environment fit matters. Research has repeatedly shown that employees who fit with their jobs, their work groups, and their organizations are more committed and more satisfied (Kristof-Brown, Barrick, & Stevens, 2005). However, despite the demonstrated importance of person-environment fit, there has been a notable absence of research on interpersonal, dyadic fit at work (Ferris, Liden, Munyon, Summers, Basik, & Buckley, 2009). This is a surprising omission, because most people only feel like they really “fit” in a job if they have positive dyadic relationships with their co-workers and supervisor. As such, our understanding of behavior at work is incomplete if we fail to take the role of person-to-person relationships into account. There is also a practical, operational side to understanding dyadic relationships at work, because they facilitate the exchange of information and resources (e.g., Ibarra, Kilduff, & Tsai, 2005; Labianca & Brass, 2006; Nebus, 2006). Unfortunately, research on social relationships at work does not yet reflect the rich body of knowledge that has been amassed in other fields (Barry & Crant, 2000). Thus, while we know that interpersonal relationships are important, we currently do not know a great deal about these relationships in organizational contexts.
In this chapter, we outline a model of how person-environment fit develops in the course of social interactions among established organizational members and those who are new to the organization. The focus on the initial period of relationship development (i.e. organizational socialization) will help to illustrate a number of important processes that occur primarily in the initial acquaintance phase and unfold as individuals come to know one another better. Our theoretical development will proceed from a relationship science perspective (e.g., Berscheid, 1999; Kelley et al., 1983). This perspective offers insights that have been unexplored in both the person-environment fit and organizational socialization literatures, including an increased understanding of how people come to have close affective bonds with one another, a better set of tools for discussing the processes of social acceptance (and rejection), and a useful typology for differentiating types of relationships. To date, there has been only limited transfer of this material into the organizational behavior literature (for exceptions, see Ferris et al., 2009; Poteat, Shockley, & Allen, 2009; or Ragins & Dutton, 2007).

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