To determine whether person-environment fit and organizational commitment are impacted by socialization content, a survey was administered to 500 recent college graduates across the United States. The variables examined for the study were: socialization content (performance proficiency, people, politics, language, organization goals/values, and, history), person-environment fit (person-organization fit, and two conceptualizations of person-job fit, needs-supplies, and demands-abilities fit), organizational commitment (affective), and demographic factors (age, gender, ethnicity, tenure, college major).
The theoretical framework for this study used the Socialization Content Model developed by Chao et al. (1994). The three survey instruments used were: The Socialization Content Scale, Affective Commitment Scale, and the Person-Environment Fit Scale. A demographic questionnaire was also utilized to collect respondent data.
The relationship between socialization content and affective organizational commitment were found to be mixed. Positive and slightly significant relationships were found between five of the six socialization content dimensions and three of the person-environment fit-types. A positive and significant relationship was found between affective organizational commitment and each of the three person-environment fit-types. One demographic variable was positively and significantly related to affective organizational commitment. There were mixed findings between the demographic variables and each person-environment fit-type variable.
The study implications provide evidence to support that recent college graduates perceive a level of commitment to the organization, albeit not strongly. However, when socialization content fosters a sense of person-environment fit, the degree of commitment among recent college graduates increases significantly. The findings also suggest that a multi-dimensional construct of person-environment fit is present in the workplace and that recent college graduates distinguish the organizational-unit from the job-unit in terms of socialization content.
Considering the current economic climate and high rate of unemployment, which followed the study, the relationship between employer and recent college graduate may shift, yielding a different dynamic among the variables of socialization content, person-environment fit and organizational commitment. In light of an evolving global marketplace, organizations are encouraged to maintain a fluid response and be prepared to restructure socialization content that fosters positive fit perceptions, thereby ensuring a committed workforce capable of meeting market demand.