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Personal growth initiative: the effects of person–organization fit, work empowerment and authentic leadership

Baek-Kyoo (Brian) Joo (School of Business, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, USA)
Sohee Park (Inje University, Gimhae, Republic of Korea)
Suhyung Lee (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 30 August 2020

Issue publication date: 19 May 2021




Because of the changing psychological contract between employers and employees over time, the primary responsibility for career development has shifted from organizations to employees. As the role of individuals in career development has become important, personal growth initiative (PGI), individuals' positive and proactive stance toward change and continuous self-improvement, can be a pivotal construct in the fields of human resources (HR), organizational behavior (OB) and career management. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of person–organization fit (POF), authentic leadership and work empowerment on PGI.


Data were collected from 235 employees of a leading telecommunication company in South Korea. Most respondents were highly educated male managers in their 30s and 40s. With an overall confirmatory factor analysis, the four-factor measurement model indicated a good fit to the data. The relationships between variables and the relative importance of each independent variables were tested using hierarchical multiple regression analysis, along with a bootstrapping to examine the mediation effect of work empowerment.


Based on a moderated mediation model, this study examined the integrative effects of POF, authentic leadership and work empowerment on PGI. The authors found that employees demonstrated a high level of PGI when they perceived themselves fit with the organization and when they were empowered in their work. While the direct effect of authentic leadership was non-significant, supportive, transparent and ethical leadership behavior significantly moderated the relationship between POF and PGI. Lastly, based on a bootstrap analysis, this study found that work empowerment partially mediated the relationship between POF and PGI.


This empirical study contributes to the body of knowledge in the field of HR, OB and career management. This study introduced a relatively less explored construct, PGI, using data from knowledge workers in South Korea. The authors integrated diverse research streams such as person–environment fit, leadership and engagement research. Lastly, this was the first study that investigated the effects of contextual factors on PGI in the workplace.



(Brian) Joo, B.-K., Park, S. and Lee, S. (2021), "Personal growth initiative: the effects of person–organization fit, work empowerment and authentic leadership", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 42 No. 3, pp. 502-517.



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