Person-environment fit as a parsimonious framework to explain workplace bullying
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Managerial Psychology. 2020, 35 (5), 317-332. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMP-08-2018-0342
Purpose: This study tested whether person-job fit (PJ-fit), person-group fit (PG-fit) and person-organization fit (PO-fit) relate to exposure to and enactment of workplace bullying (WB), mediated by strain and conflict. Design/methodology/approach: Data from 1,077 employees were analysed using multiple mediator structural equation modelling (Mplus 8.0). Findings: PJ-fit, PG-fit and PO-fit all related to WB. PG-fit accounted for most explained variance. PJ-fit, PG-fit and PO-fit related to bullying through strain; only PG-fit also related to bullying through conflict. Research limitations/implications: PE-fit is valuable to parsimoniously investigate WB's multi-causal nature; and strain and conflict partially explain the associations. Future research may shed more light on the direction of these effects. Practical implications: So far, scholars assumed that job design prevents WB (work-environment hypothesis). This study revealed that prevention should also focus on the fit between employee and group/organization. Social implications: WB has high societal costs. The authors introduce a new angle to WB prevention. To counteract WB, practitioners should also look at PJ-fit, PG-fit and PO-fit. This is not only important for recruitment, but also for tenured employees (e.g. because of changes in employees' needs, the job, the group or the organization). Originality/value: This study was the first to investigate the multi-causal nature of both WB exposure and enactment, by applying the lens of PE-fit, and testing explanatory mechanisms.