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J Appl Psychol. 2002 Jun;87(3):599-606.

Structural contingency theory and individual differences: examination of external and internal person-team fit.

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  • 1Department of Management, Eli Broad Graduate School of Management, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824-1122, USA.


This article develops and tests a structurally based, integrated theory of person-team fit. The theory developed is an extension of structural contingency theory and considers issues of external fit simultaneously with its examination of internal fit at the team level. Results from 80 teams working on an interdependent team task indicate that divisional structures demand high levels of cognitive ability on the part of teammembers. However, the advantages of high cognitive ability in divisional structures are neutralized when there is poor external fit between the structure and the environment. Instead, emotional stability becomes a critical factor among teammembers when a divisional structure is out of alignment with its environment. Individual differences seem to play little or no role in functional structures, regardless of the degree of external fit.

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