New York, Sep 19 : The approach of winning at any cost at the workplace can get you short-term gains but could spell long-term disaster, say researchers.
Organizations endorsing a win-at-all-costs environment may find this management style good for the bottom-line, but it could come a price.
Teamwork and civility between co-workers are severely compromised which can lead to major issues down the road, the researchers found.
The research published in journal 'Human Resources Management' found that teamwork and civility between co-workers are severely compromised which can lead to major issues down the road, if endorsed a win-at-all-costs environment in workplace.
Dr Gabi Eissa, management professor at San Diego State University found that employees with Machiavellian personalities -- defined as those who prioritize their personal goals above all else -- tend be successful in these environments even if it means sabotaging the work of their colleagues, adding that they show a willingness to engage in amoral behaviour and exhibit a desire to maintain interpersonal control.
"They tend to believe that a coworker's success is risky, so they become motivated to see others lose.
Often times, they feel that when co-workers lose, they win," Eissa added.
To test his hypotheses, Eissa and researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and the TA Pai Management Institute sampled 500 English-speaking, full-time employees and their supervisors in India, as well as 196 employees in a number of organizations in the US.
The team assessed participants' responses for perceived bottom-line mentality in their organizations, workplace behaviours and job satisfaction.
The results of two studies indicated that Machiavellian employees tend to develop a bottom-line mentality more strongly when they perceive their management endorses bottom-line outcomes.
In addition, the researchers found Machiavellian employees who developed a bottom-line mentality were found to be less willing to cooperate with their co-workers and were more likely to deviate from organizational norms, rules and practices.
"Overall, we found that employees focused on the bottom-line are more likely driven to see others lose and less likely to engage in behaviour that may help others succeed," said Eissa.
"Clearly, when bottom-line outcomes are valued over everything else, employees may be encouraged to act in their own self-interest, even if it means engaging in unethical behaviors.
If the examples set by Enron and the mortgage industry are considered, this behaviour can have dire consequences in the long-term if left unchecked."