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IT occupational culture: the cultural fit and commitment of new information technologists

Indira R. Guzman (TUI University, Cypress, California, USA)
Jeffrey M. Stanton (Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, USA)

Information Technology & People

ISSN: 0959-3845

Article publication date: 5 June 2009




As the shortage in the information technology (IT) workforce continues, it is becoming increasingly important to understand the cultural dimensions of IT occupations that attract or drive away potential IT professionals. In the present study, the authors take an occupational culture approach to study the cultural fit of newcomers to IT occupations and to understand how young people perceive the culture embedded in this occupational community as they become part of it.


The authors take a sequential mixed methodology approach composed of two phases, one qualitative and the other quantitative. In the first phase of the study, nine focus groups and 27 interviews with college students were conducted to learn about the challenges and barriers that they personally experienced while becoming part of the IT occupational community. The second phase used results from the first qualitative phase to design a survey instrument that was administered to 215 IT college students who were currently or had recently been involved in IT work experience to evaluate their cultural fit to the IT occupational culture (ITOC) and its influence on their occupational commitment.


The results suggest that women, ethnic minorities and those with less work experience encountered greater difficulty fitting into different dimensions of ITOC. The results also showed that cultural fit is a good predictor of occupational commitment and affective commitment in particular.

Practical implications

An initial survey instrument was developed to measure cultural fit to ITOC. This instrument can be further modified and adapted to be used in the hiring process by HR departments to measure cultural fit to organizational subcultures, such as the one in the IT occupational group.


This paper constitutes an important contribution to the rigor and development of the theory and research of human resources in information technologies.



Guzman, I.R. and Stanton, J.M. (2009), "IT occupational culture: the cultural fit and commitment of new information technologists", Information Technology & People, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 157-187.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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