What matters most in leader selection? The role of personality and implicit leadership theories
April 16, 2015 Editor 0
Leadership &Organization Development Journal, Volume 36, Issue 4, June 2015.
Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine the primary basis upon which raters make decisions in the context of selection for formal leadership positions. Specifically, this paper examines the applicant’s personality, the rater’s personality, and the congruence between the applicant’s personality and the rater’s implicit leadership theories as predictors of interview scores. Design/methodology/approach The hypotheses were tested via random coefficient modeling analyses using HLM software with the control variables included in step one and the main effects entered in step two, and interaction effects in step three as appropriate. Findings Analyses suggest that both applicant and rater personality impact interview scores, but raters do not appear to select leaders on the basis of their conceptualization of an ideal leader. Research limitations/implications The results suggest that raters may not consider their own implicit leadership theories when attempting to identify future leaders. Given this lack of a natural tendency toward selecting individuals that match one’s perceptions of an ideal leader, future research should focus on adapting current selection methods to leader selection and the development of new selection methods that are more valid. Practical implications These findings suggest that current staffing practices may not encompass the most effective tools for selecting future leaders of the organization. These results highlight the important of clarifying the outcome goals of the selection process in advance by giving raters a clear representation of the qualities and ideals that should be present in potential leaders. Originality/value This study is among the first to examine the relationships between personality and ILTs in the context of a formal leadership selection process and makes a significant contribution to the literature by providing insight into the influence of both rater and applicant personality differences along with rater conceptualizations of ideal leadership in the context of formal leadership selection.
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