Emerging research suggests that bottom-line mentalities (BLMs) (i.e., a sole focus on bottom-line outcomes to the exclusion of other considerations) can have dysfunctional consequences within the workplace. However, research has yet to consider how and why BLMs may result in both beneficial and dysfunctional organizational outcomes. In the present research, we examine employees’ perceptions of top management's BLM as a type of business frame that results in two cognitive states. Under the influence of this business frame, employees may adopt a mental preoccupation with work (i.e., a state of ongoing work-related cognitions) that propels beneficial employee outcomes by reducing customer incivility and enhancing customer service performance. Yet, also in response to top management's high BLM as a business frame, employees may adopt self-interest cognitions (i.e., a cognitive state of self-interest) that instigate customer-directed unethical conduct. Across two field studies, we found general support for our hypotheses. Taken together, our findings suggest that perceptions of top management's high BLM can be a mixed blessing in that it may drive employees to adopt focused work efforts (mental preoccupation with work), but also self-interest cognitions, with each cognitive state predicting beneficial or dysfunctional behaviors. We discuss the implications of these findings and directions for future research.
- bottom-line mentality
- customer-oriented outcomes
- mental preoccupation with work
- self-interest cognitions
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Psychology
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management