Assessing fit on counter-ideal values

Organizations are increasingly aware of the importance of value fit. As a result, many organizations assess value fit during the selection procedure by querying the extent to which the company values—or those values the company believes are important—are also important to the candidate.


Whereas such an approach makes sense intuitively, it provides an incomplete picture of the fit between the values of the individual and those of the organization because of two reasons. Firstly, by taking the company values as the starting point, one might miss out on values that are important for the individual but not for the organization. Secondly, using this approach, one only focuses on the values the organization wants to approach, and not on values the organization wants to avoid.

In a recent paper in Journal of Business Ethics, Schuh, Van Quaquebeke, Keck, Göritz, De Cremer and Xin (2018) demonstrated that congruence on such counter-ideal values predicted employees’ trust in the organization above and beyond the effects of ideal value congruence. In other words, not only fit on values the organization wants to approach, but also fit on values the organization wants to avoid is important for trust in the organization.

These findings suggest that it might be wise to not only assess fit on those values that are most important to the organizations, but also on less important (and even counter-ideal) values.