Leadership Studies Ed.D. Dissertations


The Relationship Between Perceptions of Fit and Job Satisfaction among Administrative Staff in a Midwestern University

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

William Kyle Ingle, PhD

Second Advisor

Albert W. Dzur, PhD (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Rachel Vannatta Reinhart, PhD (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Michael A. Gillespie, PhD (Committee Member)


There has been growing recognition among organizational behavior practitioners and researchers of the importance of the different types of fit in a work environment. Previous research established relationships between fit and job satisfaction in professional fields including education. However, fit research in the higher education context has tended to focus on students and faculty. An important and understudied stakeholder in higher education is administrative staff members. Higher education is going through substantial changes in the face of increased demand for accountability, increased diversity, and budget cuts among other issues. As such the responds by public universities like Midwestern universities affects not only academic programs, faculty, and students but also the administrative structure. The few research on perceived fit and job satisfaction among administrative staff members in higher education lack either breadth or depth. Therefore, the purpose of the study was to determine the relationship between perceived fit (Person-Job (P-J) Fit, Person-Organization (P-O) Fit) and Job satisfaction among administrative staff members in a Midwestern public university, as well as the subscales of the primary variables. The study used a correlational design to examine the relationship between the primary variables and their subscales. Accordingly, the research study addressed administrative staff members' level of perceived fit with the university environment and job satisfaction; the ability of perceived person-environment fit to predict job satisfaction among administrative staff members; the relationships among characteristics of administrative staff members (e.g., level of education, age, gender, and years of service) with job satisfaction and perceived fit with the university environment. The total number of participants in this study was 170. Perceived fit was measured using Saks and Ashforth's (1997) measure of Global Perception of Fit. Job satisfaction was measured with the 2009 abridged version of the Job Descriptive Index (aJDI) and the Job in General (aJIG) scale. Correlations, standard regression, analysis of variances (ANOVA), and t-test were used to analyze the data. Overall administrative staff members had average levels of satisfaction with their jobs. The satisfaction levels of administrative staff members was compared to the Job Satisfaction norms established based on a sample of 1400 participants who were obtained through E-Rewards, a company specializing in obtaining samples for marketing research. Stratified sampling by state population was used to ensure that the sample was representative of the US population. Of the five job satisfaction facets, administrative staff members level of satisfaction with the Co-worker (JDI 5), facet was comparable to the 60th percentile score of the US workforce, however, their satisfaction with the Work Itself (JDI 1), Promotion Opportunities (JDI 3), Supervision (JDI 4), and Pay (JDI 2) facets were below the 50th percentile score. Interestingly, however, in the education subsector the respondents had higher percentile scores, 47th and 60th in satisfaction with Pay (JDI 2) and Promotion Opportunities (JDI 3) respectively, than in the US population, Administrative staff members were unsatisfied with Pay (JDI 2) facet. Pearson correlation results indicated significant relationships between the Perceived Fit (P-J, P-O) and Job Satisfaction, and their respective subscales. Person-Job (P-J) fit had the strongest correlation with the Work Itself (JDI 1) facet, and Overall Job Satisfaction. Person-Organization/University (P-O) fit had a moderately strong correlation) with the Co-worker (JDI 5) and Work Itself (JDI 1) facets. Person-Organization/University fit had moderately positive relationships with all five facets of job satisfaction. However, the relationship between P-O fit and Pay (JDI 2) was the...