Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 78, Issue 4, pp 611-622

First online:

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

  • David A. ColdwellAffiliated withFaculty of Management Studies, University of Kwazulu-Natal
  • , Jon BillsberryAffiliated withOpen University Business School, The Open University Email author 
  • , Nathalie van MeursAffiliated withOpen University Business School, The Open University
  • , Philip J. G. MarshAffiliated withOpen University Business School, The Open University

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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.


ethics person-organization fit attraction retention corporate social responsibility corporate social performance