Person-Environment Fit: Theory & Model

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  • 0:57 Four Models of Fit
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley
The concept of person-environment fit is designed to help you find a job you like. In this lesson, you'll learn about person-environment fit, the theory underlying it, and some ways the theory is modeled. A short quiz is provided after the lesson.

What Is a Person-Environment Fit?

Person-environment fit is the degree of fit, or match, between you and your work environment. The theory behind person-environment fit is that everyone has a work environment with which they are most compatible. The idea of PE is grounded in Kurt Lewin's maxim, the behavior is a function of person and environment. Characteristics on the person side of the equation include interests, preferences, KSAs (knowledge, skills and abilities), personality traits, values, and goals. The environmental factors may include such things as vocational norms, demands of the job, job characteristics, and organizational culture and values. The basic rationale of the theory is simple: if you work in an optimally compatible environment, all sorts of good things happen, such as improved work attitude, performance, and less stress.

Four Models of Fit

Person-environment fit research has focused on four different sub-categories of environmental fit. Let's take a brief look at each of them:

Person-Vocation Fit

Person-vocation fit is a fit between you and a specific vocation. This is the broadest form of PE and is defined by how closely an individual's interests match the interests of others who are members of the vocation. For example, if you love science, learning about the human body, and helping people, nursing or medicine may be a good vocational fit.

Person-Job Fit

Person-job fit is a fit between you and a particular job. It is a fit between your knowledge, skills, and abilities and the requirements of the job; or your needs and interests and the resources that can be provided to you by the job to fulfill them. For example, you may enjoy medicine but don't have a good bedside manner and you don't want to develop one. You do enjoy research and find that a position as a medical researcher would be good fit.

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