Title: Training and Performance: Can Job Fit Act as a Mediator? A Review
First Author: (Corresponding Author)
Name: Zahid H. Bhat
Department of Business &
University of Kashmir, J&K
Name: Dr. Riyaz A. Rainayee
Department of Business &
University of Kashmir, J&K
Training and Performance: Can Job Fit Act as a Mediator? A Review
AbstractThere is a clear connection between employee training, person-job fit and
performance. The association between training and job performance has been the
main concern of scholars and practitioners over the times.
This paper presents a review of the
relationship between training and performance and also examines the mediating
role that person job fit may play in the relationship between these two.
Literature suggests that training to a big extent is a determinant of employee
performance. The review has also revealed the importance and
purpose of training in organizations, and how it contributes to employee
performance. The review so far, reveals a seeming consensus in the belief that
there is a positive relationship between training and employee performance and
also that training develops the skills, knowledge, abilities and competencies of
the employees. In addition, person job fit was found to be associated with
positive employee outcomes in terms of increased employee performance, job
satisfaction, and motivation. Based on the review of past studies, this paper
proposes the mediating role of person job fit in determining the indirect
relationship that may exist between training and performance.
Keywords: Training, Person-Job Fit,
In the global age of today, organisations looking to improve their productivity
and efficiency with regard to providing goods and services are gradually looking
for ways and means to increase employee performance and efficiency. Training
programmes and skills development courses, often a target of financial
constraints, may help organisations achieve their premeditated goals and
objectives. The constant need for both individual and organisational development
can be drawn to many demands, including upholding dominance in the marketplace,
increasing employee knowledge and skills, and increasing both efficiency and
productivity. A new employee faces little difficulty in his office assignments
initially and also existing employees experience difficulties in their tasks due
to changing times. So, the new employee requires a roadmap from the senior
experienced employees and also from an outsider who is expert on those specific
areas. Thus, organisations conduct training programmes to update and improve
employees’ knowledge, skills and abilities demanded by the job (Diamantidis &
Chatzoglou, 2012). Organisations have realized that training now-a-days is not a
required expenditure, but an essential investment that helps employees to
familiarize into an organisation’s premeditated plans (Diamantidis & Chatzoglou,
2012). Training is among the dominant methods to increase the efficiency of
employees and collaborating organisational goals to the newly recruit.
Training refers to the acquisition of
abilities and knowledge required for the performance of a specific role (Okereke
& Nnenna, 2011). Noe et al. (2006)
defined training “a firm’s planned effort to facilitate the learning of
job-related knowledge, skills and behaviour by employees”. In the opinion of
Edwin B. Flippo, training is the act of increasing the knowledge and skills of
an employee for doing a particular job. Training is a planned learning
experience designed to bring about permanent change in an individual's
knowledge, attitudes, or skills (Campbellet
al., 1970). Training is a key element for improved organisational
performance through the increased level of individual employee competence and a
comprehensive arrangement for the improvement of employees’ technical and
developmental skills in theorganisation. Apparently, Diamantidis & Chatzoglou
(2012) maintain that the usage of materials by the trainees during the training
process results in an increase in their job related knowledge and skills which
helps them in the efficient performance on their jobs. The most significant
benefit of training is accuracy in job obligations and responsibilities as well
as increase in employees’ competency (Robinson and Robinson, 1995). Finally the
benefits of an effectively employed training programme are i) an instant upsurge
in the knowledge level of employees (Diamantidis & Chatzoglou, 2012), brings
employees to the desired level of performance for the job, improves the
determination, creativity and excellence of work of employees, commitment for
achieving the objectives of the organisation and has the propensity of
increasing effectiveness among employees’ inside the organisation.The
association between training and job performance has been the main concern of
scholars and practitioners over the times. Hermen (1979) marked that, ‘specific
job performance requires specific competencies which generally involve a
combination of knowledge and skill expertise. Performers must have acquired
both… in order to be successful on the job’. This is the area where training is
the prime solution, providing an opportunity for the performer to develop
required competencies. The purpose of training is to attain a specific change in
the behavior of trained employees and enable them to perform better. It is a
systematic and planned procedure of imparting and providing learning experience
in order to bring improvement in the performance of employees and enable them to
make their contribution in greater measure in meeting the objectives and goals
of an organisation. Rowden (2002), suggest that training may also be an
efficient tool for improving ones job satisfaction, as employee better
performance leads to appreciation by the top management, hence employee feel
more adjusted with his job. Scott, Clothier and Spiegel (1977) argued that
training is the crux of better organisational management, as it makes employees
more efficient and effective. Guest (1997) mentioned in his study that training
and development programmes, as one of the vital human resource management
practice, positively affects the quality of the workers knowledge, skills and
capability and thus result in higher employee performance on their jobs.
Training not only improves the overall performance of the employees to
effectively perform the current job but also enhance the knowledge, skills and
attitude of the workers necessary for the future job, thus contributing to
superior employee and organisational performance (Wright and Geroy, 2001). As
mentioned by Arnoff (1971), training sessions accelerate the initiative ability
and creativity of the workforce and facilitate to avoid human resource
obsolescence, which may occur because of demographic factors such as age,
attitude or the inability to cope with the technological changes. Most of the
previous studies provide the evidence that there is a strong positive
relationship between human resource management practices and employee
performance (Purcell et al., 2003).
The nature of job performance in an organisation depends on the demands of the
job, the mission and objectives of the organisation and the beliefs of the
organisation about which behaviors are most valued (Motowidlo and Schmit, 1999).
Thus, studies have established that the relative importance given to task and
contextual performance behaviors have important implications for the definition
of performance. Consequently, two factors have received the most recognition
among the facets of job performance, i.e. task performance and contextual
performance (Borman and Motowidlo, 1993). Task performance means the fundamental
and official behaviors and actions elaborated in the job description. Borman and
Motowidlo (1993) define task performance as “the proficiency with which job
incumbents perform activities that are formally recognized as part of their
jobs; activities that contribute to the organisation’s technical core either
directly by implementing a part of its technological process, or indirectly by
providing it with needed materials or services” (Borman and Motowidlo, p.73) and
are usually regarded as elementary obligations that employees need to perform as
they are hired in exchange for their reimbursement packages (Rousseau & Mc Lean
Parks, 1993). Task performance encompasses the accomplishment of tasks which are
within an employee’s job depiction (Murphy, 1989). ‘Contextual Performance’, on
the other hand, indicates the behaviors which sustains the setting in which the
core job tasks operate (Borman & Motowidlo, 1993). Contextual behaviors are
vital in realizing organisational goals (Allen & Rush, 1998). The concept of
contextual behaviour magnifies the performance domain to incorporate a diversity
of non-job specific behaviors (Borman & Motowidlo, 1993) and involves the
framework within which the core transformation and maintenance activities are
carried out (Beffort and Hattrup, 2003). It incorporates key aspects of the
constructs like extra-role behaviour, organisational citizenship behaviour,
organisational spontaneity, and personal initiative to define a comprehensive
facet of work performance separate from basic task actions. It is usually
theorized as being under the psychological management of employees and is very
less confined by the characteristics of the job (Borman & Motowidlo, 1993).
Contextual performance is indispensable for an organisation as it facilitates
the accomplishment of organisational goals and subsequently the performance of
Three elementary conventions are associated
with difference between the task and contextual performance. (1) Actions
pertinent to task performance differ between job tasks whereas activities
relevant to contextual behaviour are quite analogous among different jobs; (2)
task performance is linked with the capacity and capability, while as contextual
performance is linked with behavior and enthusiasm; (3) task performance is
organized and is comprised of in role behaviour, while as contextual performance
is flexible and comprises extra role behaviour (Sonnentag and Frese, 2002).
Thus, studies have established that the importance conferred to task and
contextual performance has important connotations for defining job performance
used in framing personnel decisions and policies. The theory of job performance
by Motowildo, Borman, & Schmit (1997) predicts that individual differences in
personality and cognitive ability variables, in combination with learning
experiences, lead to variability in knowledge, skills, and work habits that
mediate effects of personality and cognitive ability on job performance. An
especially important aspect of this theory is that it predicts that the kinds of
knowledge, skills, work habits, and traits that are associated with task
performance are different from the kinds that are associated with contextual
performance (Motowidlo, Borman, & Schmit, 1997). Both task as well as contextual
performance describes the explicit behaviour of individuals (Motowidlo, Borman,
& Schmit, 1997). These behaviors can be illustrated from the influence the
behaviour has on the outcome (Borman & Motowidlo, 1997). Thus, the line drawn
between behaviour and outcome emphasizes that performance is described by the
behaviors and the outcome is the corollary of behaviour (Campbell, McCloy,
Oppler, & Sager, 1993).
Person-Job Fit and Performance
Identifying and recruiting employees who not only possess the right sets of
knowledge and skills but also embrace values similar to those of the
organisation are critical for organisations to succeed in achieving their goals
(Judge and Ferris, 1992; Kristof, 1996).According to Drucker (1955), every employee has a crystallised and complex set
of needs, values, ways of perceiving the world and his personality which he
brings with him to his work place. He is thus not a 'raw mould'. He tries to fit
his psychological make-up with the environment of the organisation. The fact
that his psychological characteristics influence his behaviour suggests that his
job behaviour and ultimately his job performance will also be influenced by
these characteristics. That is, in hiring a worker, one always hires the whole
man, and this explains why human effectiveness in work is essential for
improvement in performance and output of an organisation. Person-Job (P-J) fit, especially Demand-Abilities (D-A) fit, is
applicable to an individual’s compatibility with a specific job. Employees who
possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) that match the requirements
of their job are expected to perform their job effectively. P-J fit, especially
Needs-Supplies (N-S) fit, is achieved when employees’ needs are supplied by the
job or organisation, in which case they are more likely to experience greater
job satisfaction and be highly committed to the organisation (Vogel and Feldman,
2009). Person-job fit can be a reasonable predictor of job performance because
individuals with high person-job fit had found to have positive work outcome
(Edwards, 1991). Additionally, the theory of congruence by Barrett (1978) as
cited by Lawrence (2004) explained that person-job fit as the fit that may
exists between individual preferences and the job requirements or the knowledge
skills and ability (KSAs). Thus when congruency exists between one’s preference
and the KSAs, it will lead to motivational outcome (Edwards, 1991; Barrett,
1978) and this is eminent in order to have greater job performance. Furthermore,
a large number of empirical researches have established that person-job fit is
important for positive work outcome. Person-job fit had found to be positively
related to job satisfaction, organisational commitment, task performance and
contextual performance, acceptance of job offer, tension reduction as well as
reduced intentions to leave (Cable & De Rue, 2002; Saks & Ash forth, 2002; Cable
& Edwards, 2004; Kristof-Brown et al.,
2005). Bhat (2014) maintained that a positive change in the level of employee
performance could be interpreted from the best fit of a person to the job.
Caldwell and O’Reilly (1990) established that fit was positively associated with
satisfaction and performance. Thus, an employee who feels satisfied at work will
be keener to participate in extra-role activities, or if she/he is treated
fairly she/he will also be keener to engage in contextual behaviour. The same
outcome will occur if they believe that by engaging in these actions, they also
increase the possibility of personal gains (e.g. promotion or pay rise).
Additionally person-job-fit is found to be associated with satisfaction,
turnover and performance (O'Reilly III, Chatman, &Caldwell, 1990). In a separate
study, person-job fit found to be related to productivity and commitment
(Rousseau & Mc Lean Parks, 1992), job performance (Bhat, 2014; Greenberg, 2002)
and having positive effects on performance, job satisfaction, and reduction in
job stress, motivation, attendance and retention (Edwards, 1991). High P-J fit
often arises from a good match of employees’ knowledge, skills, and abilities
with job demands, consequently, it is predicted that people with a high P-J fit
will have better task performance than those with a low P-J fit. A large body of
empirical research has supported the effect of P-J fit and important work
attitudes and behaviors. For example, P-J fit has been found to be positively
related to job satisfaction, organisational commitment, organisational
identification, task performance, contextual performance, intent to accept job
offer, and to lower strain, and intentions to quit (Cable and De Rue, 2002;
Cable and Edwards, 2004; Kristof-Brown et
al., 2005; Saks and Ashforth, 2002). Regarding job performance, Brown
(1996), citing Lawler (1986), Kahn (1990), and Pfeffer (1994), argued that
employee work behaviors should be categorized as consequences of job
involvement, and hypothesized that job involvement affected employees’
motivation and effort, which subsequently determined performance.
However, in the meta-analysis conducted by
Kristof-Brown et al., (2005), P-J fit
only has a modest correlation with overall performance (r ¼, 0.20), researchers
have further noted that the correlation of fit-performance was higher when
performance was distinguished by task performance and contextual performance
(Schmitt et al., 2008). Vogel and
Feldman (2009) in their empirical results supported the positive effect of P-J
fit on both task and contextual performance. Interestingly Kristoff
et al., (2005) found that when
person-job fit and person-organisation fit were tested on job performance, the
relationship tend to have a modest correlations which contradicts with the
findings by Li and Hung (2010) where person-job fit was found to be highly
correlated with job performance. Nevertheless, in relations to other attitudinal
outcome, person-job fit is still demonstrating higher correlation than
person-organisation fit (Kristoff-Brown, Jansen & Colbert, 2002; Saks & Ash
Mediating Role of Person-Job (P-J) Fit
Training effects employee’s job performance
positively. It also increases the efficiency of work and contributes to the
success of organisation. Importance of training cannot be neglected in any
organisation worldwide. Imparting training is crucial to the success of an
organisation; however, it is an expensive affair. Therefore the effect of
training on performance of employees is an issue that merits attention. By the
help of training employees become proficient in their jobs and they become able
to give better results. If the right person for the right job is not selected
then training will be having no effect on the performance of the employees.
Training affects the performance positively only and when right person for the
right job is selected supporting the notion that says ‘good training will not
fix for bad selection’. Organisations utilize their resources to establish a
good fit between persons and the jobs because they think that some jobs better
suit some persons than others. Studies have found that person-job fit can have
influence on job performance (Mosley, 2002; Bhat, 2014). In an overview of
person job literature and research, Edwards (1991) suggests that job and person
operates as joint determinants of a person and organisational outcomes. Past
studies on the link between person-job fit & performance also contain mixed
results (Lauver & Kristoff-Brown, 2001; Cable & De Rue, 2002), indicating lack
of consensus among researchers on the relationship among the variables.
We propose in our study that person job fit
mediates the relationship between employee training and employee job
performance. We also put forward that person job fit perceptions are directly
influenced by the temperament of one’s skill, knowledge and ability. However,
training is relatively important and contributes towards a feeling of job fit
among the employees. Additionally, it is through these feelings of job fit that
an employee is determined to perform the job well.
The review has revealed the importance and
purpose of training in organisations, and how it contributes to employee
performance. The information, thus far, reveals a seeming consensus in the
belief that there is a positive relationship between training and employee
performance and also that training develops the skills, knowledge, abilities and
competencies of the employees. Moreover, studies had found that person-job fit
can have influence on job performance, the amount of research is still limited
(Mosley, 2002). In addition given the variations in results on the relationship
between person-job fit and job performance (Edwards, 1991), studies on the
relationship between person-job fit and job performance has therefore yet to
come to similar agreement (Taylor, Locke, Lee, & Gist, 1984). Similarly past
studies on the link between person-job fit and performance have contained mixed
results (Lauver and Kristof-Brown, 2001; Cable and De Rue, 2002). Nonetheless,
there has been relatively little research linking P-J fit to both task and
contextual performance although some researchers have noted the need to
understand the relationship between P-J fit and other aspects of the performance
domain. Also, previous studies established that both the facets of performance,
i.e. task performance and contextual performance advocate overall organisational
efficacy (Borman & Motowidlo, 1993). In spite of this, relatively minimal
investigation has studied the factors which facilitate the relationship between
employee performance and organisational effectiveness.
Training was found having a significant role
in the development of organizations, enhancing employee performance as well as
increasing employee productivity, and ultimately putting organisations in the
best position to face competition and stay at pinnacle. Moreover, person-job fit
was found to be positively related to job satisfaction, organizational
commitment, task performance and contextual performance, acceptance of job
offer, tension reduction as well as reduced intentions to leave (e.g. Cable &De
Rue, 2002; Saks & Ash forth, 2002; Cable & Edwards, 2004; Kristof-Brown et al.,
2005). Also, the review suggests the mediating role that person job fit can play
in between the relation of training and performance. This proposed mediation
relationship of training, job fit, and employee performance requires a thorough
examination of all antecedent-mediator, mediator-outcome, and antecedent-outcome
relationship to establish whether job fit mediates partially or fully the impact
of training on performance. Future conceptual research on the relationship
stated above, may offer possibilities for empirical research. Further, the
proposed relationship between training and performance through the mediation
effect of person job fit can be tested in various contexts with varying samples
as there is no specified population upon whom the relation can be confirmed.
This relationship can be tested with service as well as manufacturing industry.
This all can be established through future empirical research by taking the past
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