“Forces of Tension: The Development and Impact of Misfit During the Job Search Process” by Mr David W. Sullivan
Mr. David Sullivan
OB/HR Doctoral Candidate
Mays Business School, Texas A&M University
Through the study of active job seekers, this dissertation seeks to illuminate the processes underlying the development and manifestation of anticipated misfit during the recruitment and job search process. While research regarding the development and experience of misfit for current employees is beginning to emerge, consensus regarding the development and influence of anticipated misfit by job seekers is less clear. To address the dearth of research regarding misfit and its role during the job search—and in particular how it impacts job seekers’ attitudes and behaviors—this research explores two distinct types of anticipated misfit: discordant misfit (as experienced via person-organizational culture) and deficient misfit (as experienced via idiosyncratic recruitment deal-breakers). Drawing upon the job search and fit literatures, this study explores the theoretical mechanisms related to the manifestation and impact of anticipated misfit on the critical job search outcomes of organization aversion and job search withdraw intentions. Two studies were conducted to examine these processes as they pertain to actual job seekers. The first study examines the validity of newly developed anticipated misfit measures as they pertain to the job search process; the second study examines anticipated misfit with active job seekers across a four-month period. Overall, this dissertation seeks to provide important contributions to the misfit/fit literature, elaborate on the theoretical processes leading to the manifestation of anticipated misfit, and advance the misfit-job search literature.