This study adds to the emergent stream of work examining the micro-level antecedents of pay dispersion by focusing on how business founders’ personal characteristics influence pay dispersion in their organizations. We leverage stakeholder theory and the motivated information processing perspective to predict pathways between founders’ self- versus other-oriented motivations, their perceptions of employee and shareholder salience, and pay dispersion in their organizations. We test our hypotheses on data from a two-wave survey of founders. We find that a high level of motivation to benefit others on the part of a founder reduces the salience of shareholder concerns in decision-making, which in turn reduces pay dispersion. In contrast, a high level of motivation to benefit oneself heightens the salience of shareholder concerns in decision-making, increasing pay dispersion. Our results inform the debate on pay dispersion by elucidating the role played by founders’ self- versus other-oriented motivations and stakeholder salience perceptions.