Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 78, Issue 4, pp 611–622

The Effects of Person–Organization Ethical Fit on Employee Attraction and Retention: Towards a Testable Explanatory Model


  • David A. Coldwell
    • Faculty of Management StudiesUniversity of Kwazulu-Natal
    • Open University Business SchoolThe Open University
  • Nathalie van Meurs
    • Open University Business SchoolThe Open University
  • Philip J. G. Marsh
    • Open University Business SchoolThe Open University

DOI: 10.1007/s10551-007-9371-y

Cite this article as:
Coldwell, D.A., Billsberry, J., van Meurs, N. et al. J Bus Ethics (2008) 78: 611. doi:10.1007/s10551-007-9371-y


An exploratory model is presented as a heuristic to indicate how individual perceptions of corporate reputation (before joining) and corporate ethical values (after joining) generate specific individual organizational senses of fit. The paper suggests that an ethical dimension of person-organization fit may go some way in explaining superior acquisition and retention of staff by those who are attracted to specific organizations by levels of corporate social performance consonant with their ethical expectations, or who remain with them by virtue of better personal ethical fits with extant organizational ethical values. Specifically, the model suggests that individual misfits that arise from ethical expectations that either exceed or fall short of perceived organizational ethical performances lead to problematic acquisition and retention behavioural outcomes.


ethicsperson-organization fitattractionretentioncorporate social responsibilitycorporate social performance

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007