PhD Philosophy

Currently I am supervising doctoral students at the University of Wollongong and the University of Divinity. My students are studying in the areas of organisational misfit, person-organisation fit, value congruence and incongruence, leadership and management education, and implicit theories of leadership. Future ones will either be in these areas, or recruitment and selection, the use of film in management education, or innovation in management education. I'm afraid that I cannot take on students outside of these areas as the workload would be too great and I wouldn’t be able to give the level of support that I want.

I only accept students on to pre-defined research questions. These are usually broad topic areas (e.g., looking at fit and creativity, or fit and organisational performance) with the students honing the question, developing hypotheses or propositions, and working out their method. But knowing the main overarching question allows students to get a head start and they have the confidence of knowing that their subject is 'PhDable'.

I am happy taking people on to positivist or constructionist studies and to use quantitative or qualitative (I'm not keen on mixed methods PhDs because of the ontological and epistemological problems that ensue; however, I have no problem with triangulation approaches). My completed students have worked on empirical studies, but I am happy to consider theoretical, conceptual, and creative projects as well. I would be reluctant to take on people who want to do research methods PhDs (i.e., those studies that focus on developing new methods of measuring fit) simply because I am not an expert in this area.

The majority of my current students are all doing their doctorates by publication, and I imagine that all future students will also take this approach. It means producing three or four pieces of work some of which is published in refereed journals and others, if not published, are under review. The first paper tends to be a systematic or bibliometric review or a theory piece to get you into the subject. Typically, the second and third papers are separate empirical studies, and there may also be an application or methodological paper as well. The final thesis contains an introduction that defines terms and positions the various studies against the relevant literatures, copies of the papers, and then an exegesis that draws the findings together, explains how these studies have changed our understanding of the field, and discusses avenues for future research.

I should say something on the benefits of doing a PhD as this conveys information on the sort of things people learn from working with me. I see the PhD as essential training for an academic career. It teaches you the depth of understanding you need in order to be able to write authoritatively in an academic literature. It teaches you how to develop a research question. It develops your logical reasoning. You learn how to choose appropriate data gathering techniques, how to analyse data, and how to draw appropriate conclusions. You may find something interesting or profound or useful, but this is a bonus. The key thing is to develop as an independent researcher and as an academic. For this reason, I see it as crucial that you review for conferences and journals, prepare and present conference papers, and, obviously, write journal papers during your studentship.


Finding Out More

At the moment, I am taking on students at the University of Wollongong and can be requested as an external supervisor at Loughborough University, London.

If you want to find out more, please feel free to email me at jbillsbe 'at'



PhD Completions


Claudia Escobar Vega (University of Wollongong, Australia, 2021)

Understanding the next generation of leaders: An exploratory study of constructions of leadership during childhood

This thesis looks at how constructions of leadership develop, by investigating children’s implicit representation of characteristics of leaders (Implicit Leadership Theories – ILTs) between five and 12 years old. ILTs refer to beliefs held by followers and leaders about how leaders behave in general, and what is expected from them (Eden & Leviatan, 1975; Shondrick, Dinh, & Lord, 2010; Sy et al., 2010). The examination of this area will enlighten the understanding of how future leaders perceive this social role and its characteristics (Ayman-Nolley & Ayman, 2005), and also contribute to research on leadership development.

Considerable strides have been made in the study of leadership aimed at understanding ILTs in the context of adult forms and emergence of leadership (Edwards, 1994; Trawick-Smith, 1988), and even though it has been found that ILTs develop early in life (Keller, 1999; Offermann & Coats, 2018; Shondrick et al., 2010), limited research can be found on ILTs antecedents, including children’s ILTs (Lord, Epitropaki, Foti, & Hansbrough, 2020; Shin, Recchia, Lee, Lee, & Mullarkey, 2004). It has been established that children as young as five have a concept of a leader, can distinguish between leaders and non-leaders, that ILTs can be positive or negative, and can be task-oriented, level-of-involvement-oriented, or relationship-oriented (Ayman-Nolley & Ayman, 2005; Matthews, Lord, & Walker, 1989). Hence, children’s ILTs may vary both in their content and structure and also in the way they make decisions about leaders in their own groups (Ayman-Nolley & Ayman, 2005).

On the other hand, children’s conceptions of leadership have been studied for a century or so (e.g., Broich, 1929; Parten, 1933; Pigors, 1933). From this work, it has been found that children’s representations of leaders in primary school develop from a physical and spatial notion (Broich, 1929; DeHaan, 1962; Hess & Easton, 1960; Sacks, 2009; Selman, Jaquette, & Lavin, 1977), towards a functional (Broich, 1929; DeHaan, 1962) and socio-emotional notion (Ayman-Nolley & Ayman, 2005; Nemerowicz & Rosi, 1997; Oliveira, 2016; Salmond & Fleshman, 2010; Selman et al., 1977; Yarrow & Campbell, 1963). Also, that children’s perceptions of leaders are contextual and sensitive to factors such as family, school, entertainment, media, political, and religious contexts (Antonakis & Dalgas, 2009; Ayman-Nolley & Ayman, 2005; Broich, 1929; Hess & Easton, 1960; Liu, Ayman, & Ayman-Nolley, 2012; Okamura, 1968; Oliveira, 2016).

By exploring children’s ideas and perceptions, this study aims to contribute to our understanding on how our ideas of leaders emerge, how they are learned, and how they evolve over time. Subsequently, the present research aims to further explore the following research questions: RQ1 How do children’s ILTs develop? and RQ2 How do children’s ILTs relate to adult ILTs? It reports on data from 251 children in a public primary school in Australia. The method asked the children to ‘draw a leader doing what they do, draw a leader leading’ before asking them to verbally describe their drawing, and followed by asking each child the question What is a leader? to explore the image of a leader in the minds of children.



Jacqueline Mueller (Loughborough University, UK, 2021)

Implicit leadership theories and team dynamics in professional sport: A congruence analysis

Leadership is one of the most researched and heavily debated topics by practitioners and scholars alike. Different constructs and models for measuring leadership in sport have been used in the past; however, given persistent validity concerns, scholars have called for the introduction of more robust leadership instruments to the sporting context. Implicit Leadership Theories (ILTs) depict a promising alternative, as they are not only aligned with recent shifts away from leader-centric notions and incorporate followers’ preferences in the leadership construction process but also have been validated for a vast number of contexts and cultures over the last decades (Epitropaki & Martin, 2004). Despite over thirty years of research within the field of Implicit Leadership Theories (ILTs) and continuing interest in leadership perception, this avenue of research remains undervalued in a professional sport context

Billsberry et al. (2018) recently argued that ILTs should be placed at the front of leadership research in sport management and called to identify the most appropriate research method to elicit and compare ILTs in a professional sport context. To answer their call, a pilot study was conducted in which four different methods: interviews, focus groups, drawings, and pre-defined item lists integrated within questionnaires were trialled in a professional sport setting. Through analysis of 16 individual interviews, 2 focus groups with each 8 participants, two drawing exercises with 15 participants, and 39 questionnaire responses, pre-defined item lists were identified as the most appropriate method to capture and compare ILTs in a professional sport context.

To validate the pilot study’s findings and confirm the factor structure of ILTs in a professional sport setting, the fit of the most prominent ILT Factor structures with the professional sport context was assessed based on 261 survey responses from professional athletes of 17 sport teams. The Epitropaki and Martin (2004) 21-Item, 6-Factor model did provide a better fit with the data (CFI= .930; TLI = .916; RMSEA = .052; SRMR = 0.70) than the Offermann and Coats (2018) 46-Item, 9 Factor Model (CFI = .781; TLI = .762; RMSEA = .062; SRMR = .0838) and thus was identified as more accurately representing the multidimensionality of leadership in a professional sport context. Existing research on ILTs has focused on the fit between a follower’s leadership prototypes and actual observed leadership behaviour, thus knowledge about the effect of individuals within one team sharing ILTs remains limited. To address this paucity in leadership research, this study investigated congruence in ILTs between an individual and the group they belong to. That is, this research is the first study to conceptualise ILT congruence as a specific type of supplementary fit between the individual and the group.

This thesis conducted separate polynomial regression and response surface analysis on each ILT dimension (i.e., sensitivity, intelligence, dedication, dynamism, tyranny, and masculinity) to enhance our understanding of the impact of the different ILT dimensions. Findings identified the tyranny dimension as explaining most variance in team cohesion, task cohesion, interpersonal cohesion, and in-degree centrality in advice and avoidance networks. While the relationship between tyranny and the respective outcome variables was identified as paradoxical, the second anti-prototypical leadership dimension, masculinity, was linked to increased avoidance and decreased advice structures.

To demonstrate how the level of ILT congruence between an individual and the group impact team cohesion, network dynamics, and perceived leadership effectiveness in professional sport, six hypotheses were tested for each leadership dimension. Results of the 36 conducted hypotheses tests indicate that no congruence relationship between an individual’s and the group’s leadership prototype and team cohesion (H1, H2, H3), centrality in social networks (H4, H5), and perceptions of leadership effectiveness (H6) exists. Instead, other relationships between the leadership-related predictors and the respective outcome variables were observed. The absence of a congruence effect gave way to four key considerations. First, the importance of acknowledging not only supplementary but also complementary fit in ILT congruence research. Secondly, the relevance of extreme leadership ideals and a strong social identity in creating positive outcomes. Thirdly, the importance of power in predicting perceptions of leadership effectiveness and lastly, the need to increase the awareness of implicitly held leadership preferences to harness their benefits. It suggested that future research explores complementary as well as supplementary ILT fit in professional sport teams longitudinally.



Brenda Hollyoak (Coventry University, UK, 2018)

Towards an understanding of the psychological construct of misfit: A grounded theory study

The subject of a person’s perceived degree of organisational fit is well known because if someone considers that they fit in well not only with the job but with the many dimensions within the work environment, then they will feel happy, content and more productive. The topic of someone's perceived misfit, however, has not garnered much research within the fit field despite anecdotal information indicating negative outcomes such as anxiety, depression, silent rebellion and disconnect with work, thus a decline in the productive input. Misfit research needs to look at the psychological aspect in order to understand what it is, but the field is in its infancy and very little is known about how misfit comes about and how it is experienced by the individual, and indeed how they cope. Moreover, the current fit and related literature seem to view misfit as an absence of fit or as the opposite to fit, and as such offers only a few definitions. This study aims to present an understanding of the misfit construct from the aspect of the sufferer to the experience so that a firm foundation can be laid for future research in this field to go forward. The findings included the identification, description, and analysis of two forms of workplace misfit: social misfit and maverickism. An affective state of misfit is more than an absence of fit and this study seeks to address that gap in the literature as well as opening a look into the psychological state of misfit that a person experiences. This has been represented in a conceptual model that explains the misfit cognition process, its antecedents, external and internal inputs and the resultant mental state arrivals, as well as consequences to self and the organisation.

The study answers a call from the fit discipline for in-depth studies that take an inside-out approach to studying misfit from the individuals’ perspective. To do so required a qualitative research design that used a constructivist grounded theory methodology approach. The sample set was made up of six proclaimed misfits who were interviewed but in the absence of many coming forward a unique and innovative approach was taken within the fit field, that of Netnography (the application of ethnographic methods to explore data off digitally enabled media). To go to where misfits were expressing voice in an unabridged fashion, and capture for analysis what they had to say from open fora Web-based English-speaking discussion blogs.

Misfit was found to be a very personal experience based not around the job or relational demographics such as age, race, sexuality or gender but connected to people's desire to be part of a workgroup to affirm their most basic sense of self-identity and self-worth. The most powerful emotions and feelings come through this study were those connected to the perceptions or actual act of ostracism from the immediate work group, which lead on to a debilitating state of social defeat and the subsequent increased risk of psychotic symptoms and disorders. People coped as best they could with input from referent others so that they could feel as if they do fit in. If that didn’t work out, then to escape the emotional and psychological distress of a sense of misfit people sought to leave the organisation, but that was always a viable option because of their level of continuance commitment or a poor job market. At worst, people suffering from a sense of misfit say that they were forced to leave the organisation. If people were able to stay in employ they did one of two things; 1. stay, put up a façade of fitting in under the support of coping behaviours or 2. to mentally reframe their sense of misfit into that of a ‘socially acceptable’ position of maverickism so that they could be seen as purposefully standing apart and thus unique and special. Whatever the outcome, a sense of misfit brings with it emotional pain and distress with reduced input from unhappy people and is an aspect that could do well to be addressed through revised management practice and support systems.

This study has been able to confirm Schneider’s 1987 proposition that it is indeed ‘the people who make the place’ and that organisational culture and the power of groups within it have a powerful influence on a person’s sense of fit or misfit.



Ian Bower (Deakin University, Australia, 2014-2016)

Role fluidity: A grounded theory study of distributed leadership in business teams

Followership influence is an important topic. Past researchers have made valuable contributions in terms of various perspectives including defining who followers are and related characteristics. However, researchers have yet to employ the perspective of the focus on individual team member of this aspect of the phenomenon. This is a valuable approach because it extends the theory of followership influence in business teams by defining and clarifying particular processes and skills in answering the research question, ‘How do designated followers exercise leadership?’ Approaching the research question using a Classical Grounded Theory methodology, leadership behaviours were studied in a longitudinal manner in six business teams operating within a major competitor in the Australian Financial Services Industry.

The qualitative research was based on data collected and analysed from observations in the field, semi-structured interviews with participants and leadership review documents. Exploring the process of influence reciprocity from a followership perspective is central to leadership research and the core category of the study emerged as Colloquial Leadership. This provided further explanation of the informal, emergent and temporal based influence process exercised by non-designated leaders in the substantive context. Numerous theoretical propositions generated by the research include the discovery of the previously unexplored cyclical relationship between collaborating and belonging, both of which emerged as very important to individual team members. A four-stage task execution cycle was discovered which was crucial in outlining and explaining the construct of team performance, both positive and negative in nature, which had task fulfillment as its end goal. Component behaviours at each of the stages were necessary but, in isolation, not sufficient to accomplish team goals. Team performance was vital to this research and the discovery of a hierarchy of influencing behaviours used by designated followers to exercise influence (leadership) along with a basic social process articulating how individual team members switch between three identified team roles provides compelling answers to the research question. Further in combination they provide a feasible explanation of the nature of informal and emergent leadership, within the substantive context.

In summation, this research explores the alternative viewpoint that designated followers can and do readily exercise influence (leadership) within business teams, often simultaneously and sequentially depending on context. This dispels the historical myth of the heroic leader rather showing the new dispensation of how leadership is distributed, often in a fair but an uneven manner, as influence was related to task specific expertise. The rapid role switching provided a constrained hierarchy when being in a leading role was no better than being in a following role and so forth, explaining the egalitarian nature of team roles. It was discovered in the modern day environment that task complexity often means that no individual leader can provide enough leadership and that situational expertise is an indirect source of power. In keeping with the classical grounded theory methodology the substantive theory of followership influence is posed, as are implications for practitioners and for future research. 



Maria Jacinta Arquisola (Deakin University, Australia, 2013-2016)

Roles of Higher Education leaders in Indonesia

Over the last decade, the Indonesian Government has been stepping up to the challenge of developing the higher education sector, with different types of universities, colleges, and religious schools being established to keep pace with the rapid growth in the student population. It could be said that the rapid sprouting of institutions is testament to Indonesia entering an age where access to education is no longer an entitlement, but a right and a necessity, for its 255 million people. The growth in both student population and institutions shows that the government is committed to making education a top development priority, seeing it as a key driver for the country’s economic growth and international competitiveness. The purpose of this study is to examine how Higher Education academic leaders (HEALs) in Indonesia perceive their roles as leaders, and how they apply these roles as Indonesia’s higher education institutions are addressing changing contextual conditions. Generally, the HEALs of Indonesia are an under-examined cohort despite the multitude of national and international studies on education in Indonesia, and the expanding literature on academic leadership in the Asian region, and worldwide. Specifically, the two research questions this study aimed to investigate were: a) how do Indonesian higher education academic leaders (HEALs) perceive their role as academic leaders in higher education; and b) how do gender differences influence the in-role behaviours of Indonesian higher education academic leaders?

Using a qualitative research methodology underpinned by a critical realist paradigm, the study utilised an interview method to examine the perceptions of thirty-five (35) academic leaders: 21 males and 14 female leaders from five (5) public universities and two (2) private universities located in Central Java, West Java, and the capital city, Jakarta. The study found that HEALs perceived their roles to be either functionalist (perceived and performed by them as driven by institutional expectations), or interactionist (perceived and performed by them as driven by contingencies that arise). Under each of these role perspectives are four role classifications which are socially-constructed or self-constructed by HEALs that are unique to their academic leadership experience in an Indonesian context. The self-constructed roles are performed contingent on the demands of the context, and the particular contingencies that arise requiring academic leaders to act.

The study also found that there are gender differences in the way HEALs approached the variety of institutional constraints facing them as academic leaders. The study found that female and male academic leaders differed in the way they enacted their identity salience (role). Female academic leaders experienced the ‘triple bind’ created by social control schemas, for example, institutional limitations, social position and status, and held gender roles which acted as constraints for leadership. Paradoxically, however, it is also the ‘triple bind’ that drives women to resist and rise above their discursive struggles and confrontation. Female HEALs overcome the triple bind by showing assertiveness, depth of conviction, and a take-charge attitude, while male HEALs enact leadership out of entitlement.



Leonardo Blanco dos Santos (Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie, Brazil, 2013-2016)

Realisation of personal values in the organisational environment as one component of perceived person-organisation fit, and its influence on intention to leave (Realização de valores pessoais no ambiente organizacional como componente de compatibilidade indivíduo-organização percebida e sua influência em intenção de saída)

Voluntary exit occurs when professionals decide to leave the organisation in which they work. It generates costs not only for the organisation but also for themselves. A number of variables influence the exit, being intention to leave its strongest predictor. Based on interactional psychology, studies on person-organisation fit postulate that behaviour is a function of the interaction between characteristics of the individual and of the organisational environment. Intention to leave is one of the most researched variables in person-organisation fit. Considering the importance of values for studies on person-organisation fit, this study states the Realisation of Personal Values in the organisational environment, concept that was introduced by Maurino and Domenico (2012), as a component of perceived person-organisation fit. It looks at the influence of Realisation of Personal Values in the organisational environment on intention to leave that environment. The research instrument consisted of questionnaires to measure personal values, Realisation of Personal Values in the organisational environment, intention to leave, as well as sociodemographic and functional questions. This was applied online, obtaining responses of 553 participants who worked within organisations in Brazil. The data were analyzed by statistical techniques such as analysis of variance (ANOVA), confirmatory (for personal values and Realisation of Personal Values) and exploratory (for intention to leave) factor analysis, correlations, structural equation modeling and cluster analysis. The main finding was that respondents’ perceptions of their realisation ofOpeness to changeandSelf-Enhancementvalues in the organisational environment influence their intention to leave. It was observed that three control variables, namely having dependents, managerial/nonmanagerial position and educational level influence on intention to leave as well. The results of cluster analysis suggest that the greater the distance between the importance attributed to a particular value and the perception of its realisation in the organisational environment, the higher is the level of intention to leave. This study contributes to the literature on perceived person-organisation fit by identifying one of its components, Realisation of Personal Values (RPV), thereby integrating RPV with the studies of person-organisation fit.  A new questionnaire was developed to measure RPV based on the refined theory of personal values (Schwartz et al., 2012), and by investigating the influence of RPV on intention to leave. It contributes to the organisations by inserting the possibility of considering the role of RPV on staff turnover management.



Mervwyn Williamson (University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, 2005-2014)

Perceptions and experiences of organisational misfit: A grounded theory study of South African employees

Research into person-environment fit has focused on fit and the many positive benefits that have been associated with achieving high fit. Misfit on the other hand, has been given scant attention. To date, not much is known about what exactly misfit is and how individuals experience this phenomenon at work. Moreover, there has been a paucity of studies that have explored misfit in countries outside of North America, the United Kingdom and Western Europe. This study aimed to address this gap in the literature by exploring how South African employees perceive and experience misfit at work. A further objective was to develop a theoretical model that explains the processes of becoming a misfit, its antecedents, coping behaviours and consequences. The study embraced a qualitative research design using a constructivist grounded theory approach. Following a theoretical sampling process, a sample of 40 employees was selected and subjected to in-depth, face-to-face interviews in which they were asked to relate their experiences of misfitting in the South African organisational context.

The findings were reported in relation to five guiding research questions. South African employees displayed a unique understanding of what misfit is when compared with certain Western Countries, thus lending support to the notion of a context-specific or cultural element in perceptions and experiences of the phenomenon. Misfit was perceived as both an internal psychological experience and an outward assessment of an individual based on external characteristics such as demographics. Participants emphasised race and gender as the major causal factors of misfit in the South African workplace. An unexpected finding emanating from this research was that a person’s HIV/Aids status was not considered a significant factor in influencing their sense of misfit. Generally, misfit was perceived to have a deleterious effect on both the individual employee and the organisation. On discovering that they did not fit in, South African employees do not immediately leave the organisation for fear of being permanently without a job as a result of the high unemployment rate in the country. Instead, they remained and engaged in a variety of coping behaviours to deal with the condition. It was strongly emphasised that exiting the organisation was deemed to be the last resort. This study further unearthed a wide range of strategies and interventions that South African managers could use to effectively manage their misfitting employees in order to creatively harness their potential. The emergent theoretical framework, entitled “a model of employee misfit” describes the processes of becoming a misfit, its causes, coping behaviour and consequences. The findings of this study make a significant contribution to misfit research, theory and practice.


Dannie Talbot (The Open University, UK, 2006-2010)

Organisational Fit and Misfit: An Empirical Study of Similarities and Differences

This thesis focuses on employees’ experiences of fit and misfit at work. This falls within the person-environment fit (PE fit) literature, which is based on principles founded in interactional psychology that when a person fits the environment that they are in, positive outcomes, such as job satisfaction, will result. Despite a wealth of empirical studies in the PE fit field studying various aspects of individuals’ fit with their work environment, there are significant gaps in knowledge and understanding. One of these is that little research has investigated how employees experience fit and misfit. A second gap is that little is known about misfit and whether this is the opposite to fit, an absence of fit or a separate categorical state. The research focused on these gaps in the literature and took a qualitative, exploratory approach to gain in-depth understanding of the factors affecting individuals’ fit and misfit in organisations.

Causal mapping techniques were used to allow the study’s participants to express their perceptions without being prompted to speak about specific topics. The resulting data were coded using measures from the PE fit literature to explore whether the extant measures adequately captured people’s experiences and also to assess whether there were differences between fit and misfit. The findings suggest that the extant PE fit measures explained participants’ experiences of fit and misfit well but that as these are focused on factors within the organisational environment, they miss external factors such as people’s links with their communities. It seems that the majority of individuals experience misfit to some extent but that overwhelming misfit perceptions can be triggered by a change in the organisation. Misfit and fit are shown to differ, most profoundly in that whereas fit is a positive experience, misfit is negative and a state to be avoided. 

Dannie is now a Principal Lecturer at Coventry University and we continue to work on research projects together.



Linda Wilks (The Open University, UK, 2005-2009)

Initiations, interactions, cognoscenti: Social and cultural capital in the music festival experience

This thesis explores the role of social and cultural capital in the music festival experience. It does so by gathering observations and post-festival accounts from attendees at three separate music festivals located in England. The data were analysed using Fairclough’s approach to critical discourse analysis, resulting in the identification of styles and orders of discourse.

Little research, particularly of a qualitative nature, has investigated the roles of cultural taste and social inter-relationships in the music festival experience. Bourdieu’s theory of cultural capital and the inter-linked theory of social capital, developed with slightly different emphases by Bourdieu, Coleman and Putnam, were selected as providing an appropriate theoretical framework. Cultural capital, particularly its component of habitus, was a useful lens for focusing on the ways in which participants’ cultural tastes related to their festival experience. Social capital was useful for its orientation towards the role of social inter-relationships in the development of cultural taste and festival experience.

This thesis found that the youth years, particularly through peer influence, were a rich period for initiation into a taste for a particular genre of music. Initiation could also occur later in life. This contrasts with cultural capital theory’s emphasis on early socialisation through family and school. A sense of being a member of the festival music genre’s cognoscenti was also found to play a role in the festival experience. Participants discovered complexity in all genres of festival music, challenging the hierarchies underpinning cultural capital. Festivals were found to be sites where connections with already known associates were intensified (bonding social capital), rather than sites where enduring new connections were made (bridging social capital). This thesis critically develops approaches to social and cultural capital and suggests drivers for cultural policy.


Elena Papavero (Northcentral University, USA, 2005-2009)

Assessing the relationships between person-organization fit, moral philosophy, and the motivation to lead

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.