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Faking to Fit in: Applicants’ Response Strategies to Match Organizational Culture
Abstract and Figures
We examine applicant faking as an adaptive response to the specific environment that applicants are confronted with. More specifically, we propose that applicants fake by adapting their responses to the culture of the hiring organization so that they display the personality profile that best matches the organization’s culture. In other words, they fake in a targeted manner, to increase their person-organization (P-O) fit. We tested this proposition in six studies, including experiments and surveys, and focused on competitiveness and innovativeness as two central elements of organizational culture. Results confirm that applicants infer an ideal personality profile from elements of organizational culture and then adapt their responses on personality inventories accordingly. Faking to increase P-O fit was present, albeit slightly weaker, when accounting for the fact that applicants choose organizations that fit their values. Overall, this research highlights the adaptive component of faking and underlines that it should not be considered a behavior that only dishonest individuals show.
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