The Implications of Workplace Spirituality for Person–Environment Fit Theory

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Abstract

Person–environment (PE) fit theory is based on the premise that people flourish in work settings that are compatible with their skills, interests, values, and other characteristics. While the premise of PE fit theory appears to be straightforward, it is actually a complex and evolving framework with much left to be understood about what exactly “fit” encompasses and how it relates to human behavior and organizational outcomes. In contrast to the vast literature on PE fit theory, which dates back more than 100 years, workplace spirituality is a more nascent research domain that has gained traction primarily within the last decade. Research on workplace spirituality has been informed not only by traditional organizational behavior (OB) theories, but also has developed in a similar fashion with the positive organizational scholarship (POS) movement in that both seek to more fully examine the humanistic nature of individuals at work, such as whether employees experience their work as fulfilling a higher “calling” for meaning and purpose. The current article seeks to integrate these 2 research domains with the following 3 goals: (a) illustrate similarities between 3 workplace spirituality dimensions and 3 PE fit dimensions, (b) highlight the unique contribution that workplace spirituality can add to traditional PE fit theory, and (c) outline a future agenda for research which integrates workplace spirituality and PE fit theory to further our understanding of the human experience of work as it relates to important individual, group, and organizational outcomes.

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