KM Implementation and Strategy

Friday, November 1, 2013, 10:30am

Career Success of Knowledge Workers: The Role of P-O Fit and Perceived Organizational Support

Maham Malik


Knowledge is the most strategically significant resource of a firm. According to the knowledge based view, a firm can give superior performance as compared to its competitors if it creates, organizes and uses knowledge assets (Grant, 1996, Brown, Duguid, 1998). Knowledge is a major source of competitive advantage for organizations. (Nahapiet & Ghoshal, 1998, Teece, 1998). In last few decades, researchers in Organizational behavior and Human Resource management have been interested in understanding employees job related attitudes and behaviors that lead to successful career choice. For years career success has remained a topic of considerable interest for researchers because it has important implications for individual behaviors as well as for work outcomes ( Ballout, 2007).Hall (1977) has defined career as a series of work experiences through which a person goes through in his life time in order to achieve personal and organizational goals. Jobs or career choices of individuals are influenced by organizational values, and they prefer jobs in organizations which have greater similarity of values to their own. ( Schneider, 1987; Tinsley 2000). 

Knowledge worker’s career is important to the organization as his education and job related experiences add value to the organization in which he is employed. Since knowledge workers can lead to competitive advantage therefore retention of these knowledge workers is a prime concern for organizations. Implications of these concepts are very important as individual and work outcomes affect psychological contract (Chen, 2010). Psychological contract includes shared beliefs and informal obligations between employer and employee. Different forms of PE fit have an impact on career choice decisions, job satisfaction, performance and commitment of employees.(Kristof-Brown et al., 2005, Cable and DeRue, 2002; Bretz and Judge, 1994). Each form of fit has its impact on career related outcomes. Previous literature of P-O fit has showed that it has been related to various attitudinal and behavioral outcomes like satisfaction, turnover, performance, organizational commitment. However research has not considered relationship of P-O fit on career choice of knowledge workers with organizational support as a moderator. In past studies P-E fit was mostly considered as an independent variable which was affecting employee outcome related variables. Conversely this trend has changed in recent years as researchers have directed their attention to finding out some mediating and moderating variables that exist between P-E fit and employee outcome related variables ( Da Silva et al., 2010, Hassan et al., 2012, Jelinek & Ahearne, 2010). Relevant literature suggests perceived organizational support as an antecedent of various individual level outcomes as job satisfaction, turnover, and commitment. (Ballout, 2007). Perceived Organizational support POS refers to employees beliefs regarding the degree to which Organizations are facing pressure to continuously adjust to new evolving demands in order to become more efficient and competitive. These new demands put pressure on organizations to plan and manage careers of their knowledge workers effectively( Ballout, 2007). One of the main objectives of organizations these days is to improve their selection process by attracting individuals whose values are similar to their own. On the other hand individuals are also looking for organizations that they assume will help in realizing their career success. This paper contributes to career development literature. To my knowledge this is the first study that examines the effect of organizational support as a moderator between P-O fit, and career success of knowledge worker, especially in the context of Pakistan. However Chen in his paper in2010 proposed this relationship but no other study has empirically tested this relationship. Mostly research on P-O fit have been conducted in Western context. This study will provide significant insight to career success literature by relating PE fit framework to career choice models and behaviors of knowledge workers. In Pakistani context there is limited literature showing relationship between these variables. ( Hassan et al., 2012) This study will help in adding knowledge to the existing body of literature by examining the impact of these variables in the IT sector of Pakistan. At the individual level career success refers to increase in salary, happiness and satisfaction. Knowledge workers can develop appropriate strategies for career development. However at organizational level knowledge of career success predictors will help managers design effective career plans and systems. Knowledge workers help organizations in developing competitive advantage. Therefore organizations can learn to develop appropriate retention strategies for them once they know how PO fit and perceived organizational support can impact the performance of knowledge worker. 

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