What matters most in leader selection? The role of personality and implicit leadership theories
Leadership & Organization Development Journal
Article publication date: 1 June 2015
The purpose of this paper is 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 (ILTs) as predictors of interview scores.
The hypotheses were tested via random coefficient modeling analyses using HLM software with the control variables included in Step 1 and the main effects entered in Step 2, and interaction effects in Step 3 as appropriate.
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.
The results suggest that raters may not consider their own ILTs 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.
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 importance 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.
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.
Carnes, A., Houghton, J.D. and Ellison, C.N. (2015), "What matters most in leader selection? The role of personality and implicit leadership theories", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 36 No. 4, pp. 360-379. https://doi.org/10.1108/LODJ-06-2013-0087
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