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An investigation into how value incongruence became misfit

Yuwei Sun (School of Business, Faculty of Business and Law, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia)
Jon Billsberry (School of Business, Faculty of Business and Law, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia)

Journal of Management History

ISSN: 1751-1348

Article publication date: 16 December 2022

Issue publication date: 22 May 2023




The purpose of this review is to argue that the way that perceived employee misfit (PEM) has been measured in quantitative studies does not capture the construct identified in qualitative studies.


Through reverse citation analysis, this study reveals how low levels of value congruence became the currency of PEM in quantitative studies.


This study finds that in the absence of alternatives, researchers have taken low scores of value congruence as a measure of misfit. However, there is limited evidence to show that PEM relates to values, supplementary conceptualization or interactions with the organization (rather than interactions with other employees, tasks, etc.). In addition, the most commonly used instruments measure degrees of similarity, not disparity, making the interpretation of PEM-related data unclear. Combined, these factors raise construct validity concerns about most quantitative studies of PEM.

Research limitations/implications

Given the upsurge of interest in PEM, there is an urgent need for greater clarification on the nature of the construct. From the analysis, this study identifies two key dimensions of studying PEM that create four distinctly different ways of conceptualizing the construct.


This study highlights a series of major methodological weaknesses in the study of PEM and reveal that almost all published quantitative studies of PEM are actually studying something else; something whose nature is very unclear.



Sun, Y. and Billsberry, J. (2023), "An investigation into how value incongruence became misfit", Journal of Management History, Vol. 29 No. 3, pp. 423-438.



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