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When to challenge employees' comfort zones? The interplay between culture fit, innovation culture and supervisors' intellectual stimulation

Paul Constantin Endrejat (Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 30 July 2021

Issue publication date: 11 August 2021




This study, first, examines whether a low culture person–organization (P-O) fit reduces job satisfaction and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). Second, the author investigates how an organization's current innovation culture affects employees' attitudes and behaviors. Third, the author focuses on the interplay between leadership and organizational culture by testing whether supervisors' intellectual stimulation can mitigate the negative effects of a low innovation culture.


Data were collected via online questionnaires from 135 employees. Using the organizational culture assessment inventory, employees described their current and their preferred organizational culture and rated their supervisors' behavior.


Current-preferred culture discrepancies and a low innovation culture were associated with lower job satisfaction. The negative effect of a low innovation culture on employees' satisfaction was moderated by supervisors' intellectual stimulation (i.e. employees working in a low innovation culture are more satisfied when they have a stimulating supervisor). If employees' preference regarding the desired culture differed from those of their colleagues, they reported less OCB. Intellectual stimulation exacerbated this effect.

Research limitations/implications

The author relied on self-reported cross-sectional data.

Practical implications

Actions are needed to ensure that the current culture and the preferred culture align and that employees agree on how the organizational culture should develop. Unless followers prefer different cultures than their colleagues, supervisors should show intellectual stimulation, especially in a culture whose norms do not support innovation.


The author emphasizes the positive consequences of a culture P-O fit and contributes to the much needed knowledge regarding the interplay between organizational culture and leadership behaviors on employees' attitudes and behaviors.



The author would like to express his gratitude toward Dr. Daniel Herrmann for his support that has considerably improved the manuscript.


Endrejat, P.C. (2021), "When to challenge employees' comfort zones? The interplay between culture fit, innovation culture and supervisors' intellectual stimulation", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 42 No. 7, pp. 1104-1118.



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