Empirical studies of the “similarity leads to attraction” hypothesis in workplace interactions: a systematic review

Publication Name

Management Review Quarterly


Although the similarity-attraction hypothesis (SAH) is one of the main theoretical foundations of management and industrial/organizational (I/O) psychology research, systematic reviews of the hypothesis have not been published. An overall review of the existing body of knowledge is therefore warranted as a means of identifying what is known about the hypothesis and also identifying what future studies should investigate. The current study focuses on empirical workplace SAH studies. This systematic review surfaced and analyzed 49 studies located in 45 papers. The results demonstrate that SAH is valid in organizational settings and it is a fundamental force driving employees’ behavior. However, the force is not so strong that it cannot be overridden or moderated by other forces, which includes forces from psychological, organizational, and legal domains. This systematic review highlights a number of methodological issues in tests of SAH relating to the low number of longitudinal studies, which is important given the predictive nature of the hypotheses, and the varying conceptualizations of attraction measurement.

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