User:Mediation4u/DeletedPagesArchive/Human fit

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Human Fit, in the sense of the lived experience, emerges from the relational nature of human existence, at the contact boundary between the individual and anything else they encounter. This echoes the Gestalt notion of a contact boundary.


Fit is used to frame interpersonal relationships in multiple contexts e.g. business, politics, team sport etc. It is there in the language we use e.g. "there was a poor cultural fit", "we want to get into bed with them", "they are our kind of people, "there is chemistry between us" etc.

'Fit' is particularly prevalent as a construct within organisations and organisational discourse e.g. 'organisational fit’, ‘cultural fit’, ‘interpersonal fit’, ‘team fit’, ‘management style fit’. The ultimate objective of any professed desire or need in this territory is what might be termed 'good fit', the opposite of which would be 'bad fit'.

Both are subjective constructs that are configured by the individual's phenomenological map of the world. Whilst the literature on, say, cultural fit is broad and deep, to date that on interpersonal fit, or how fit emerges in the moment in human systems, is limited.

Human Fit and Organisations[edit]

Organisational fit is often framed around issues of 'culture',[1] which in organisational terms is

"difficult to define, but you generally know when you have found an employee who appears to fit your culture. He just 'feels' right."

Source: [1]

The notion of a 'fit' between person and organisation[2] is both explicit and implicit. Organisational culture is often defined as being constructed from elements not dissimilar to that of an individual person(ality) i.e.

"the values, beliefs, underlying assumptions, interests, experiences, upbringing, and habits that create a person’s behavior."

Source: [2]

These shared values, beliefs and assumptions in turn drive behaviour within the organisation, such that 'culture' can be seen to equal the behaviours of those people within the system.

How that behaviour is experienced in turn drives the experience and perception of 'fit'. This relationship between behaviour and how it is constructed within the individual personalities within a system can equally be found in the constructs of 'Team Fit',[3] 'Management Style Fit'[4] and 'Interpersonal Fit', all of which appear within the literature and rhetoric of person-organisation relations.

Fit Discourse[edit]

In person-to-person relationships, common metaphors/synonyms include 'chemistry' and 'rapport'.[5][6] Organisationally, metaphors of human relationships and desire are common, particularly in the literature regarding mergers & acquisitions[7][8][9][10][11] e.g.: 'marriage',[12] 'get in to bed with' etc.

Literature on the shadow side of organisational life,[13] emotion[14][15] and more recently the role of desire in decision making[16] offer alternative lenses through which to reflect on the nature of 'human fit' in organisations.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ BROWN, A. (1998) Organisational Culture, FT Pitman Publishing, 2nd Edition
  2. ^ KRISTOF-BROWN, A.L. and JANSEN, K.J. (2007) Issues of person-organization fit. In Ostroff, C. and Judge, T.A. (Eds.) Perspectives on Organizational Fit, 123-153. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. (Patrick)
  3. ^ DERUE, D.S. and Hollenbeck, J.R. (2007) The search for internal and external fit in teams. In Ostroff, C. and Judge, T.A. (Eds.) Perspectives on Organizational Fit, 259-285. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. (Patrick)
  4. ^ DATTA, D.K. (1991) ‘Organizational Fit and Acquisition Performance’ in Strategic Management Journal Vol. 12, pp281-297
  5. ^ NADLER, J. (2003) ‘Rapport in negotiation and conflict resolution’ in Marquette Law Review 87:875-882
  6. ^ NADLER, J. (2007) ‘Build Rapport – and a Better Deal’ in Negotiation March 2007, pp9-11
  7. ^ CARTWRIGHT, S. & COOPER, C.L. (1993) ‘The role of culture compatibility in successful organizational marriage’ in Academy of Management Executive Vol. 7 No2 pp57-70
  8. ^ CARTWRIGHT, S. & COOPER, C.L. (1995) ‘Organizational marriage: “hard” vs. “soft” issues” in Personnel Review Vol. 24 No 3 pp32-42
  9. ^ MARKS, M.L. & MIRVIS, P.H. (2001) ‘Making mergers and acquisitions work: Strategic & psychological preparation’ in Academy of Management Executive Vol. 15, No. 2 pp80-92
  10. ^ LEVINSON, H. (1970) ‘A psychologist diagnoses merger failures’ reprinted in Harvard Business Review 2000 March–April pp139-147
  11. ^ HUNT, J.W., LEES, S., GRUMBAR, J.J. & VIVIAN, P.D. (1987) Acquisitions – The Human Element, London Business School & Ergon Zehender International
  12. ^ HARBOUR, R. (2002) ‘What makes a good marriage?’ in Automotive Industries Vol. 182 Issue 11 pp24-25
  13. ^ EGAN, P. (1994) Working the Shadow Side, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
  14. ^ FINEMAN, S. (Ed.) (2000) Emotion in Organizations, London: Sage
  15. ^ MORRIS, M.W. & KELTNER, D. (2000) ‘How emotions work: the social functions of emotional expression in negotiation’ in Research in Organizational Behaviour Vol. 22, p1-50
  16. ^ MORSE, G. (2006) ‘Decisions and Desire’ in Harvard Business Review, Jan 2006 pp42-51

External links[edit]