Roles Affect Individuals& Preferences for Organizations: A Values Perspective

Sharon Arieli, Fiona Lee, Lilach Sagiv

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


People are guided by the roles they assume in their everyday lives. Roles are cognitive schemas that are associated with specific goals and expectations that organize and guide individuals’ perception and preferences. The social roles individuals assume affect their goals, which in turn affect their point of view and preferences. We propose and show that role schemas are malleable, allowing individuals to shift from one schema to another depending on the role they assume at the moment of judgment. Drawing on role theory and theories of espoused organizational values, we show that matching between the goals derived from a specific role and espoused organizational values influence the preferences of individuals toward an organization. An experiment with 476 working adults and students in three countries, found that individual assumed role (as a potential employee or an investor) and espoused organizational values (embeddedness-autonomy, egalitarianism-hierarchy, and mastery-harmony) affected individuals’ preferences to invest or work in organizations. Our findings suggest that role-specific goals are important drivers of how individuals perceive organizations, and that individuals seek “fit” between organizational values and their role-specific goals. Finally, we discuss supplementary analyses testing the classical notion of value-based person-organization fit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-359
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Applied
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020. American Psychological Association


  • espoused values
  • organizational values
  • role-specific goals
  • social roles


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