A contingency approach to consistency: A challenge to prevalent views

Asya Pazy*, Ruth Zin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two types of consistency have been distinguished in the literature: internal consistency and person-environment congruence. It is generally assumed that the lower the consistency, the more dysfunctional the outcomes. This study challenged the prevalent unqualified approach to consistency by presenting a contingency approach based on activation theory. It predicted an interactive effect, that is, that in congruent situations internal consistency would be associated with higher individual outcomes compared to inconsistency, but in incongruent situations it would be associated with lower individual outcomes compared to inconsistency. Four individual career outcomes were used as dependent variables-organizational commitment, professional commitment, job satisfaction, and job involvement. The sample included 175 professionals from various occupations. The predicted interactive effects were found in the analyses which used a perceived P-E congruence scale. The analyses which used actual P-E congruence did not yield definite results. The findings are discussed in terms of differences in cognitive appraisals mediating the response to incongruence. It is suggested that the functionality of inconsistency and incongruence needs to be reestablished.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-101
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1987


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