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Schneider’s hypothesis

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1. Contrast Schneider’s hypothesis about the person and the environment with Lewin’s. Please state Scheider’s hypothesis in equation form and provide a full contrast of it with Lewin’s hypothesis. Lewins hypothesis is that an individual’s behavior is a function of their personality and environment. The famous equation used to represent this concept is known as Lewin’s equation, B = f(P, E). Classically people always thought of someone’s personality as the main single motive for our behavior.

Unlike the classic nurture vs nature debate this hypothesis promotes personality and environment equally. Schneider’s hypothesis is that organizations attract and select people with similar attitudes and values as the rest of the organization. Those who do not conform or adapt the culture and mindset eventually leave. This process of Attraction, Selection, and Attrition (ASA Model) restricts the type of individuals in an organization and yields a homogenous group of attitudes and behavior.

These theory’s become very interesting when they come together to explain behavior in certain environments. Take a look at a well-seasoned company with unique values and a very specific culture. Through time there Attraction Selection and Attrition has yielded a very homogenous group of individuals. There is a large scale group dynamic and unique breed of behavior. Under Lewin’s Equation this environment is going to play a large contribution to individual behavior, most likely conformance. High conformity of behavior will in turn feed the overall environment and continue influencing behavior. Over a long period in time these two theories will work in concert and decrease a group’s diversity and increase their resistance to change.

2. How does Schneider’s hypothesis lay the foundation for the idea of human capital as a source of competitive advantage in organizations? Each company looks to recruit employees with specific knowledge, skills, and abilities. All employees are a limited resource with some scarcity. A company’s competition is also looking for employees with similar attributes and abilities. Typically we state a company’s attraction selection and attrition will explain its homogeneity.

Instead if we consider Schneider’s theory in reverse, the company has to align its values and culture to attract the right candidates. It also requires a thorough selection process, and attrition process to weed out individuals that do not fit the culture and mindset you wish to establish. The benefit of a well-established culture and system of values is that it can be somewhat self-fulfilling. As the ASA model works at all stages of company development, a seasoned company full of the kind of employees it wants will continue to employee and retain similar talent.

3. How does the A-S-A model of human capital emergence follow from Schneider’s hypothesis? A consequence of Schneider’s A-S-A model is that our company’s collective culture and values will help attract similar talent. Good talent will attract good talent. One of your best resources in attracting future employees is your current workforce, culture, and values. The idea of human capital is to consider your employees and their talent as a resource. Under the A-S-A model the employee will have two whole separate sectors of value. The two sectors are the skills that directly contribute to the company’s goals, plus how they contribute to the overall culture. Creating the right company culture is critical to attract new employees and to a company’s long term success.

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