Conceptualizing Alignment of People in Organizational Contexts: A Systematic Review of 13 Meta-Analyses
Abstract: This thesis aims to examine the focus in present literature on the alignment of people in an organizational context with regards to its conceptualization, whether it is seen as dependent or independent variable, its antecedents, its outcomes and how it can be measured. Therefore, a systematic review has been conducted, investigating the findings of 13 meta-analyses on the alignment of people. Results show that there is homogeneity in how alignment is conceptualized, mainly as compatibility between a person and its environment. The dimensions of the environment vary, yet there is agreement on certain ones, such as person-job and person-organization alignment. Correlations with positive outcomes such as job and task performance, employee satisfaction, commitment, organizational citizenship behavior, and even health issues could be reassured. No investigation on disadvantages coming from alignment was found. Also, the studied meta-analyses have a clear focus on alignment as an independent variable, influencing attributes and thus rarely mention any antecedents of alignment. Antecedents and negative aspects of alignment are clearly outlined as areas where more meta-analytic research is necessary. Furthermore, definitions of how to measure alignment are not consistent or unified. They are based on primary collected data samples and no theoretical frame has been proposed to create greater generalizability. The majority of analyzed meta-analyses neglected the influence of point in time, time period and geographic origin of data collection on results, which indicates that further research is required within the field. Next to elucidating concepts behind the term alignment, this thesis also aims to promote the use of the method of systematic literature review of secondary data, to rigorously use already available data, and to identify existing relationships among concepts.
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