Beyond Simple Similarity: The Relationship Of Leader-Follower Personality Fit With Follower Satisfaction With The Leader And Follower Commitment To The Organization
Saltz, Jessica Lynne
Klein, Katherine J
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This dissertation examines the relationship of leader-follower personality similarity (supplementary fit) and dissimilarity (complementary fit) with two employee outcomes: follower satisfaction with the leader and follower commitment to the organization. With the exception of one study (Glomb & Welsh, in press), prior research on leader-follower personality fit focused primarily on personality similarity (e.g., Bauer & Green, 1996; Deluga, 1998), yielding few clear, consistent results. These studies ignored the possibility that it might be personality differences that lead to positive employee outcomes. To my knowledge, only one study exists that proposed positive outcomes for leader-follower personality dissimilarity (i.e. Glomb & Welsh, in press). In this dissertation I extend past research by suggesting that personality dissimilarity may have a significant relationship with follower outcomes. Further, I suggest that the direction of the difference between a leader and a follower (which person has which characteristic) may also affect the outcome. Drawing upon similarity attraction theory (Byrne, 1971) and implicit leadership theory (e.g., Lord, 1985), I test competing hypotheses about the relationship of leader-follower personality fit with follower outcomes using three dimensions (extraversion, conscientiousness, and emotional stability) from the five-factor model of personality (Goldberg, 1992). With a sample of 778 leader-follower dyads, this longitudinal study also extends past research by using a relatively new statistical technique, polynomial regression analyses (Edwards, 1993). This technique overcomes some of the difficulties associated with more traditional ways of assessing fit, such as difference scores. In addition, I use hierarchical linear modeling to address nonindependence in my sample. However, results revealed that leader-follower personality fit was not significantly related to follower satisfaction with the leader nor to follower commitment to the organization. That is, neither leader-follower personality similarity nor dissimilarity for any of the three dimensions (extraversion, conscientiousness, emotional stability) was significantly related to follower satisfaction with a leader nor with follower commitment to the organization. Significant main effects, however, were found for follower personality. When I tested the personality dimensions one at a time, I found that follower extraversion and emotional stability were significantly related to follower satisfaction with the leader and that follower extraversion, conscientiousness, and emotional stability were significantly related to follower commitment to the organization. Further, when I included the dimensions of agreeableness and openness in post hoc analyses, I found a significant relationship between follower agreeableness and both of the follower outcomes. However, when I included all five personality dimensions in a simultaneous regression I found significant relationships only for follower emotional stability with follower satisfaction with the leader and for follower conscientiousness and agreeableness with follower commitment to the organization. Implications and future research directions are discussed.