Assessing the Relationships Between Person-Organization Fit,
Moral Philosophy, and
the Motivation to Lead

2009 Winner of the Outstanding Dissertation of the Year Award
in Psychology at Northcentral University










When individuals who perceive their values as different from those of their organization (low PO fit) are less motivated to lead, values homogeneity in leadership may occur, resulting in ethical dysfunction. Likewise, if idealists are less attracted to leading, this may influence homogeneity towards pragmatism. The primary goal of this research was to explore the prediction of three dimensions of motivation to lead (MTL) from PO fit and idealism. The interaction of PO fit and relativism was also examined. An online survey, including Cable and DeRue’s fit measure, Forsyth’s EPQ, and Chan’s MTL scale, was completed by 1,024 working adults.


Lower fit predicted lower MTL on all dimensions, and higher idealism predicted lower MTL on all dimensions (with social-normative MTL receiving limited support). No support was found for relativism as a moderator of the fit to MTL relationship. These results suggest that low fit individuals are self-selecting away from leadership positions. Practical recommendations include considering fit in advancement processes and using fit as a gap-analysis diagnostic for organizational values misalignment. Future research on a situational model of MTL should consider situations that promote involvement or identification with organizations and objectives, and those that create a lack of alternatives or a sense of obligation due to a psychological contract.


Click to view dissertation


get Acrobat

My Info:


Elena Marie Papavero, Ph.D.








website counter