Benjamin Schneider (1987), argues that humans are not separate from their organizational settings. The two are interdependent, and through a process of attraction, selection, and attrition, individual-level behavior is homogenized around similar people sharing similar experiences of organization-level function and communication. Those that do not feel good about working at the coffee shop, or can’t perform to standards, eventually seek other employment, voluntarily or not. This makes it simply appear as though the organization dictates behavior, and the individual’s follow suit. However, it is more a situation where those that remain support the organization-level to the point that they hold each other accountable under organization-level expectations; if individuals who do not fit well remain with the organization, coherent organization-level functions could become chaotic or disappear altogether due to the incongruences formed by conflicted individuals who must function together in a small space.
Take a coffee shop that was founded by passionate people who built an amazing specialty coffee roaster that grew quickly by providing a unique and great place for guests to socialize and work over high-quality coffee. If the original discourse that guided the emergence of such a great place are not maintained as these original people move on, then those that replace them may become less passionate about coffee. The coffee shop may slowly lose quality of coffee and professionalism if it does not have a stable structure or a system to train new-hires to that structure. Without these, upper-management may not be able to guide the selection process, the professional baristas who are initially attracted to the company might get selected out because the company itself is not a professional environment. Through this attrition of the professionals, all that’s left is part-time, minimum wage workers who do not care about increasing their levels of professionalism and skill, and the whole organization will likely stagnate.
To increase the benefit of the selection and attrition process, it is imperative that coffee shop owners and managers hire for fit rather than for need (Newton, 2017). This isn’t just about hiring for fit with the job demands either, it is important that new hires be screened to ensure they fit in with the company culture as well (Green, 2017). Being that culture will inform the appropriate behavior of everyone working for the coffee shop, individual incongruence with organizational culture can increase workplace conflict and undermine teamwork through a lack of shared meaning and social integration (Salas, et al., 2015). Research from organizational change management suggests that the best way to maintain organizational stability during times of change, such as an increase in new-hires or modification of routines, is to maintain the existing organization-level discourse to constrain the inevitable meaning reconstruction in a congruent way with the existing organizational meaning (McClellan, 2014). Hiring for job and culture fit will also decrease emotional labor by increasing authenticity and positive meaning of work for all the stakeholders. For baristas and managers alike, one of the most important structures to systematically maintain is how individual, group, and organizational conflicts are engaged, managed, and resolved.
Green, S. (2017). Culture Hacker. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
McClellan, J. G. (2014). Announcing change: Discourse, Uncertainty, and Organizational Control. Journal of Change
Management, 14(2). 192-209.
Newton, T. (2017, July 19). How to keep your best baristas from quitting. Perfect Daily Grind. Retrieved from
Salas, E., Shuffler, M. L., Thayer, A. L., Bedwell, W. L., Lazzara, E. H. (2015). Understanding and improving teamwork in
organizations: A scientifically based practical guide. Human Resource Management, 54(4). 599-622.
Schneider, B. (1987). The People Make the Place. Personnel Psychology, 40(3), 437–453.