‘It’s Not You, It’s Us’ – The P-O Fit In Organisation – Pooja, TISS Mumbai

Think back to your interviews, think back to your organisations. Think back to your boyfriends, your clubs and your groups. At some point in your life till now, you must have received an answer, ‘We don’t think you would be a right fit for this place/organisation/my life…’

Quite contrary to the popular opinion, ‘right fit’ is not the mysterious answer HR gives when they want to BS you. What HR means by that is ‘Person-Organisation fit’ (Or maybe they want to say you are cuckoo but are too polite to say so. Take your pick!)

Person-Organisation fit, or P-O fit is a concept that refers to the compatibility between the characteristics of an organisation and an individual. It is based on Schneider’s attraction-selection- attrition (ASA) framework of interactionist psychology. The ASA framework says that individuals are attracted to organisations whose members are similar to them in terms of values, personality, interests etc. Organisations are also more likely to end up choosing people who have common attributes, but they may not share common competencies. Finally, people tend to leave places where they do not fit in.

So why do organisations place an importance on P-O fit? Research has shown that Person organisation fit can be tied to three outcomes – Work attitudes, Turnover and job performance. If a person fits in the organisation, it is more likely that she would have higher levels of job satisfaction and organisational commitment increases. The Turnover or the rate at which employees leave a workforce and are replaced has a significant cost implication for any organisation. Hence, a person who fits in an organisation is less likely to leave it – leading to reduced turnover costs. Think about the organisation you feel you fit best in, and then think about where you did not – was there a difference in your performance at these two places? When people feel that they do not fit in they do put in an adequate amount of effort at work, leading to poor performance.

So the next time some organisation turns you down, pause. Instead of throwing yourself heart and soul into an existential crisis think about these things. Then feel free to sulk away.




About the Author: 


Pooja Wanpal considers reading the sole aim of her life. She is obsessed with trekking, pani puri, and adores travelling. She is a freelance content writer, and has penned the novel, ‘Love and Lokpal’. She is currently studying Human Resource Management and Labour Relations at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. She is also a part of the InsideIIM Student Team 2016-17.