SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 33

FEATURE ARTICLES
way, it is foolish and dangerous to proceed as if staff can be recruited, hired, trained, developed, and supervised
in the exact same way and expect the same outcomes and outputs in performance. Professionals who function as
care-givers in a metaphorical and a very real sense, cannot continue to onboard and oversee diverse teams and
diverse individuals within an ambiguous, supremacist, and exclusionary structure because at its heart, it does
not provide any means or opportunity within it in which historically marginalized identities can thrive in the
same way as their dominant peers (Reece, 2019).
There are some caveats, however, that must be discussed on the front end of this metaphor. First, unlike plants,
people are not easily classified. While you can ascertain the type of plant you are acquiring, or have been given,
and are provided with information (however limited) on the front end to guide your stewardship, understanding
people does not provide this same clarity and precision. The essence of this theory lives within the idea that each
person is inherently valuable and both requires and deserves to be cared for with specification and attention.
The theory is a means for you to better understand how your organization can best equip itself with a strategy
for support for all types of people, and a plan for how to provide caring and informed support to those people
throughout their life cycle in that organization.
Second, there is a larger conversation about identity here, and how it impacts and influences organizations when
determining who is a " fit " for their roles. I cannot discuss identity and culture in the fullness in which it inhabits
discussion around performance, acceptance, and support in this writing. As mentioned in my positionality above,
my understanding of organization culture is experienced through my Black, femme, agnostic, able-bodied,
cisgender lens, and with that in mind. For the purpose of this article, when discussing people, I am speaking
inclusively of all identity markers, and with all iterations of people in mind. There will be ways in which this
writing will be more salient to historically marginalized and non-dominant identities, because those are the
populations that are most highly impacted by organizational actions around culture, fit, and professionalism
(Reece, et al, 2019). That is intentional and meaningful, and should be considered when reading this writing.
The concepts of proximity and prevalence (the reality that organizations are choosing from a disproportionately
homogenous population) should be included in discussions around professionalism, organizational norms and
expectations, and it must not be excluded from this conversation, either. For underrepresented groups, even in
ideal circumstances, " fit " relies upon antiquated ways of thinking and a foundational premise of scarcity, both
of which can be exclusionary.
Finally, there must be attention paid to the inherent advantage the organization has over the individual to
both determine and create " fit " . In the metaphor of a person being a plant, the plant does not pick its caregiver
or its ecosystem. The plant was initially created in an environment that fostered its growth, and now has
transitioned through whatever means into a space in which it does not control the major features. The bulk of
the conversation around fit and culture centers the individual's characteristics and personal identity markers,
when in reality, it is the organization that is making the value-based judgment of what is and isn't possible.
This fundamental inequity places the burden unfairly on individuals to interpret and conform to an unknown
standard in such a way that they may have to bring harm to themselves in order to be accepted. While the Plant
Theory cannot remove that burden or change the overarching methodology of placing the responsibility on
individuals to " fit " , I must acknowledge the existence of that continuous implication.
The Fiction of Fit
In order to understand the context in which the Plant Theory took root (I couldn't resist), one must also
understand the pervasiveness of " fit " and its implications for the organization itself. Scholastically and
professionally, there is not one uniform, universal, or usually-accepted definition for the concept of " fit " . Fit is
a swath of phenomena, including perspectives, opinions, impressions, perceptions, biases, prejudices, values,
and ideals; it presents itself within screening, interviewing, hiring, supervising and performance management;
it exists as a measure of value or worth, and ultimately, the survival of the candidates and colleagues you
encounter (Reece, et al, 2019). Fit can most often be measured, or explored, through gender presentation,
visible or inferred racial/ethnic identity markers, appearance and presentation, known development markers,
family structure, educational background, tone and language, citizenship, age, etc. Fit can also be determined
through socialization, personal characteristics (such as hobbies, cultural references, etc), and other intangible
interpersonal cues; in more essential terms, it examines and judges all of the things about a person that are
person-specific, but not professionally-centered. Fit applies not only to prospective or future employees, but also
to the current employee's existing experience. For the purpose of my focus for this publication, and articulated
in Debunking the Myth of Job Fit in Higher Education and Student Affairs, Fit is examined and evaluated in three
intersecting and interconnecting characteristics: Fit is ambiguous; Fit is connected; and Fit is comprehensive
33

SEAHO Report - Summer 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of SEAHO Report - Summer 2021

Contents
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 1
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - Contents
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 3
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 4
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 5
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 6
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 7
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 8
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 9
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 10
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 11
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 12
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 13
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 14
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 15
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 16
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 17
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 18
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 19
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 20
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 21
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 22
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 23
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 24
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 25
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 26
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 27
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 28
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 29
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 30
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 31
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 32
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 33
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 34
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 35
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 36
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 37
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 38
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 39
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 40
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 41
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 42
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 43
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 44
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 45
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 46
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 47
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 48
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 49
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 50
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2024winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2023fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2023summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2023spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2023winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2022winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2021fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2021summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2021spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2021winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2020holiday
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2020fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2020spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2020winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2019fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2019summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2019spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2019winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2018fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2018summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2018spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2018winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2017summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2017spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2017winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2016fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2016summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2016spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2016winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2015fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2015summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2015spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2015winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2014fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2014spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2014winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/50thanniversary
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2013fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2013summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2013spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2013winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2012fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2012summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/2012winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/seaho/spring2011
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com