Bottom-line mentality as a double-edged sword:
The effects of bottom-line mentality and psychological contract breach on task and citizenship performance in a competitive environment
Brontë Constance Rose Rusman
Amsterdam Business School, University of Amsterdam
This thesis is submitted for the degree of Master of Sciences Business Administration, Leadership & Management
Student number 13380028
Supervised by dr. Stefan T. Mol
Second reader drs. Jarno Vrolijk
EBEC approval number 20210406100406
June 25, 2021
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Statement of Originality
This document is written by Brontë Constance Rose Rusman who declares to take full responsibility for the contents of this document.
I declare that the text and the work presented in this document is original and that no sources other than those mentioned in the text and its references have been used in creating it.
The Faculty of Economics and Business is responsible solely for the supervision of completion of the work, not for the contents.
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Literature Review 9
Supervisor BLM and Task Performance 9
Supervisor BLM and Citizenship Performance 12
Psychological Contract Breach and Performance 14
The Moderating Role of Employee BLM 16
Preliminary Analyses 24
Hypotheses Testing 24
Theoretical Implications 29
Practical Implications 33
Limitations and Future Research Directions 35
Appendix A. English survey scales 48
Appendix B. Dutch survey scales 52
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Especially in competitive environments, supervisors often emphasize financial bottom-lines to increase performance, while neglecting competing social and environmental objectives.
Although modern corporate scandals showed that this narrow-minded thinking could promote business misconduct, the research field is limited in understanding when and how a supervisor bottom-line mentality (BLM) is related to such performance outcomes. Accordingly, the present study explored the effects of the supervisor BLM-performance relationship by integrating psychological contract breach as a mediator and employee BLM as a first stage moderator. In terms of the theoretical model, it was hypothesized that supervisor BLM has potential benefits on task performance, while simultaneously encourages undesirable effects on citizenship performance. Furthermore, a moderated-mediation model was established whereby the negative indirect effect of supervisor BLM on performance through psychological contract breach is moderated by employee BLM. A total of 158 employees working in a Dutch sales company completed the survey. Contrary to the hypotheses, the indirect effect of supervisor BLM on performance via psychological contract breach and variances in employee BLM were not significantly related. However, the results demonstrated that supervisor BLM was positively related to task performance as well to psychological contract breach, while negatively related to citizenship performance. Thus, supervisor BLM is recognized as a double-edged sword with potentially both beneficial and detrimental outcomes. Given the consequences of supervisor BLM, organizations should acknowledge the role of financial, social, and environmental bottom-lines. The findings further refine the BLM concept, although the present study’s questions of when and how supervisor BLM and performance are related remain unanswered.
Keywords Supervisor Bottom-Line Mentality • Employee Bottom-Line Mentality • Psychological Contract Breach • Task Performance • Citizenship Performance
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In 2015, the emissions scandal damaged the reputation of the Volkswagen Group. The automotive company was accused of violating the national air pollution policy by manipulating laboratory emission testing, while factually emitting up to 40 times more pollution than the federal maximum on the road (Mačaitytė & Virbašiūtė, 2018; Mansouri, 2016). Their management, who decided to trade short-term needs while neglecting the organization’s long- term prospects, led the company into a predicament that resulted in a series of devastating consequences for stakeholders. To date, legal costs and fines related to the corporate scandal have cost more than 30 billion euros, several executives and employees of Volkswagen are imprisoned for committing fraud, and an estimated 1200 premature deaths in Europe are associated with the excess emissions of the company (Chossière et al., 2017; Jung & Sharon, 2019; Mačaitytė & Virbašiūtė, 2018; Zhang et al., 2021). The managers’ strong desire to maximize profits at whatever cost thus demonstrates that a singular focus on bottom-line outcomes can be viewed as paramount, yet it can also be detrimental to organizational success (Greenbaum et al., 2012; Wolfe, 1988).
Indeed, extant research has shown that an exclusive focus on performance bottom-lines, to the neglect of competing priorities such as moral considerations or employee well-being, is likely to bring about unethical behaviors (Mesdaghinia et al., 2019), toxic work climates (Sims
& Brinkman, 2002), social undermining behaviors (Greenbaum et al., 2012), abusive leadership toward deviant employees (Mawritz et al., 2017), and low-quality employment exchanges that ultimately result in reduced task performance (Quade et al., 2020). However, more recent research recognizes this supervisor bottom-line mentality (BLM) as a double-edged sword, demonstrating that while focusing on bottom-line outcomes may enhance task performance, it also increases employees’ unethical behavior (Babalola et al., 2021).
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Although previous findings have underscored some of the potential drawbacks of a supervisor’s BLM, research explicitly targeting the potential performance benefits is scarce.
Particularly, extant literature lacks an understanding of when and how supervisor BLM is related to performance outcomes. Such research considerations are required to advance the literature on BLM and provide recommendations regarding bottom-line attainment that may help or harm an organization (Babalola et al., 2021). Especially in competitive environments, supervisors oftentimes focus on financial bottom-lines to ensure business success (Babalola et al., 2021; Friedman, 1970; Greenbaum et al., 2012). Thus, BLM appears to be a prevalent phenomenon among supervisors with potentially both beneficial and detrimental outcomes.
Extant research on BLM has generally focused on task performance and counterproductive performance rather than citizenship performance, even though citizenship performance is an extensive contributor to bottom-line effectiveness (Podsakoff et al., 2009). Accordingly, the present study aims to provide a more comprehensive view of the supervisor BLM concept by investigating how an exclusive focus on bottom-line objectives affects in-role and extra-role performance outcomes and under which circumstances these effects are transmitted.
To do so, this study utilizes social exchange theory (Blau, 1964) and the reciprocity principle (Gouldner, 1960) to contend that higher levels of supervisor BLM may introduce employee behaviors that enhance in-role performance, while simultaneously negatively impacting extra-role performance. As high-BLM supervisors may be entirely focused on achieving bottom-line tasks, as opposed to attending to their employees, they are expected to prioritize the importance of task performance over competing priorities (Blake & Mouton, 1964). Given this narrow-minded thinking, the present study expects supervisors to reinforce employee behavior by rewarding and punishing them accordingly (Greenbaum et al., 2012;
Mawritz et al., 2017; Mesdaghinia et al., 2019). Consequently, employees may feel obligated to treat the bottom-line as the only relevant outcome, seeking to realize behaviors that conform
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to their supervisor’s demands (Babalola et al., 2021), which subsequently influences their task and citizenship performance.
Moreover, the psychological contract theory is proposed as an explanatory mechanism to provide support for the relationship between supervisor BLM and both forms of performance.
To this extent, employees who perceive that an organization has fulfilled its promises experience a positive social exchange and might feel obligated to balance the employment relationship (Henderson et al., 2008). However, when employees feel shortchanged by organizational failure, they often diminish their contributions favoring the organization (Turnley et al., 2003; Zhao et al., 2007). More specifically, when employees perceive a breach in their psychological contract, they are likely to refuse their in-role obligations and avoid engaging in extra-role behaviors that benefit the organization. To support the relationship of supervisor BLM and employee performance via psychological contract breach, the role of employee BLM is proposed as a moderating factor. While taking a goal congruence perspective, the present study hypothesizes that when supervisors and employees have similarly low or high BLM levels, the employee’s perceived psychological contract breach is likely to be low. In this regard, no indirect effect via psychological contract breach on performance is expected.
However, in instances where supervisors and employees have differing levels of BLM, the supervisor is likely to cause a psychological contract breach on the part of their employee. In this regard, the negative indirect effect of supervisor BLM on both performance outcomes would be strengthened.
The present study makes several distinct contributions by investigating the relationship between supervisor BLM, task performance, citizenship performance, the mediating role of psychological contract breach and the first stage moderating role of employee BLM. First, by building upon the preliminary findings of Babalola et al. (2021), this research furthers the literatureon BLM in a relevant context by presenting supervisor BLM as a double-edged sword
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regarding the outcomes of task and citizenship performance. Alongside previous studies (Babalola et al., 2021; Quade et al., 2020), research on BLM would benefit from examinations in organizations and industries where BLMs notably prevail, such as a sales context. Due to the competitive nature of sales, the concept of BLM is often prominent, as supervisors are constantly focused on bottom-line outcomes (Mesdaghinia et al., 2019). Accordingly, the current investigation has been conducted in a sales company and explores when and how supervisor BLM is related to employee performance to determine the circumstances that likely prompt the potential consequences of BLM and whether they are beneficial or harmful.
Second, this study responds to the need for extant literature to gain insight into objective task performance, as opposed to subjectively evaluated task performance. Previously conducted research on BLM measured task performance using supervisor assessments (e.g., Babalola et al., 2021; Quade et al., 2020), which is a form of subjective data. However, as BLM supervisors are characterized by one-dimensional thinking that revolves around task performance without considering ethical consequences (Greenbaum et al., 2012), the supervisor ratings of task performance are expected to be biased and artificially inflated. Thus, this research measures task performance directly via internal sales records of the company.
Third and last, the present research offers practical implications for organizations and supervisors by recognizing supervisor BLM as a double-edged sword. Perhaps supervisor BLM should be encouraged with caution, given that while outcomes may seem desirable in terms of short-term profit, they also come at the expense of other outcomes in the organization.
In the following section, the literature review defines key constructs and outlines the relevant existing theory regarding BLM, psychological contract breach, and performance. The methods chapter discusses the strategy of the research design, after which the results of the analyses are presented in the next chapter. Finally, the discussion chapter aims to answer this study’s research questions by interpreting the meaning and relevance of the results.
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The core principle of a BLM is its exclusive focus on a specific organizational priority, considered the most crucial objective, while disregarding conflicting interests (Wolfe, 1988).
Following Greenbaum et al. (2012), BLM is defined as “one-dimensional thinking that revolves around securing bottom-line outcomes to the neglect of other competing priorities” (p. 344).
More specifically, the bottom-line is referred to as the financial aspect of the business, such as profits, at the expense of other priorities, including obeying organizational rules or considering the ethical consequences of work. As securing bottom-line outcomes is considered beneficial to organizational profitability, supervisors often emphasize bottom-lines as an approach to motivate their employees and contribute to the organization’s financial success (Babalola et al., 2021; Friedman, 1970; Greenbaum et al., 2012). Thus, supervisors may motivate a competitive environment as if it were a game wherein securing the bottom-line is considered as winning and any other priority is a loss (Wolfe, 1988). As such, it is not surprising that a sole focus on financial bottom-lines may lead to tunnel vision whereby supervisors cut corners without considering the consequences of their behaviors.
Supervisor BLM and Task Performance
The traditional view of job performance lies in task performance, although job performance has long been recognized as a multidimensional concept consisting of task, counterproductive, and citizenship performance (Austin & Villanova, 1992; Rotundo & Sackett, 2002). Task performance refers to the in-role behaviors that contribute to producing goods or providing services, usually established as a formal organizational requirement (Rotundo & Sackett, 2002).
In the current literature, there are two contrasting views of the relationship between supervisor BLM and task performance.
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To start, researchers have found that supervisor BLM decreases task performance through the lens of leader-member exchange. Building upon the social exchange theory (Blau, 1964) and reciprocity principle (Gouldner, 1960), Quade et al. (2020) contend that employees perceive high-BLM supervisors as poor exchange partners, thus negatively impacting task performance. As these supervisors are exclusively concerned with meeting the financial bottom-line, they are likely to underperform in areas that foster employee well-being and quality of work (Greenbaum et al., 2012; Wolfe, 1988). Assuming that high-BLM supervisors use employees to achieve personally advantageous goals, seeing employees as a resource to be exploited, they might sign to the employees that they are a means to achieve the bottom-line, thus reducing the quality of their social exchange relationship (Quade et al., 2020). According to social exchange theory, supervisors and employees have interpersonal interactions through which the supervisor provides the employee resources like information, support, and rewards (Emerson, 1976). To maintain the exchange in the relationship, employees feel inclined to balance it by reciprocating the behaviors of their supervisor. More specifically, Quade et al.
(2020) demonstrated that high-BLM supervisors establish negative reciprocity relationships with their employees. Thus, employees are less prone to offer positive contributions of their own by withholding what the high-BLM supervisor desires most: task performance.
In contrast, research on social exchange theory has also found that supervisor BLM increases task performance. Empirical evidence from Babalola et al. (2021) indicates that high-BLM supervisors influence their employees’ perceived obligation toward the bottom-line, thus enhancing task performance. In this vein, the authors suggest that high-BLM supervisors provide employees with valuable exchange resources by means of social information. Previous studies have argued that supervisors high in BLM provide straightforward guidance prioritizing bottom-line attainment, which provides employees with desirable information on how to be successful in the organization (Babalola et al., 2021; Greenbaum et al., 2012). Accordingly,
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employees may see value in their supervisor’s message, and in their social exchange relationship, they feel obligated to balance the social exchange and repay their supervisor. More specifically, employees are found to foster task performance as an approach to reciprocate their supervisor’s bottom-line demands and satisfy their obligation toward the bottom-line (Babalola et al., 2021).
The present study extends the work of Babalola et al. (2021) by arguing that high-BLM supervisors are beneficial for obtaining employee task performance in organizations. Consistent with prior research, BLM supervisors may serve as a strategy to obtain task performance by giving clear guidance toward bottom-line attainment without being distracted by other priorities (Babalola et al., 2021; Greenbaum et al., 2012). Moreover, high-BLM supervisors tend to monitor the bottom-line attainment of employees (Wolfe, 1988), expect their employees to commit to bottom-line success (Mawritz et al., 2017), and reinforce behavior that contributes to the bottom-line by rewarding and punishing employees accordingly (Greenbaum et al., 2012;
Mawritz et al., 2017; Mesdaghinia et al., 2019). Following Blake and Mouton’s (1964) managerial grid, the present study proposes that high-BLM supervisors are mainly concerned with organizational tasks rather than the employees in the organization who are trying to achieve these particular tasks. In other words, high-BLM supervisors are expected to emphasize task requirements and results, while being less concerned about employees' social needs or creating a positive work climate. In this sense, the apparent standards of high-BLM supervisors demonstrate that obtaining task performance is the only path to success, directing employees to achieve this objective (Babalola et al., 2021).
Building on social exchange theory, high-BLM supervisors’ emphasis on task performance is expected to be reciprocated by the employee, as a high-BLM supervisor signals the importance of task performance as a mutual employment objective. Indeed, extant research has demonstrated that task performance is, especially in competitive environments, an
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important focus for both supervisors and employees that may lead to increased performance (Fletcher et al., 2008). Thus, employees involved in the exchange may commit to pursuing the exchange to gain recognition for accomplishing what the supervisor desires most: increased task performance. As such, this study argues that employees are not as just a means to achieve the bottom-line (Quade et al., 2020); instead, mutual reciprocity creates social bonds between supervisors and employees that may extend the quality of the social exchange relationship.
Altogether, the present study argues that supervisor BLM relates positively to task performance.
Supervisor BLM and Citizenship Performance
Researchers have argued that counterproductive and citizenship performance are two distinct groups that constitute the job performance domain, considering that they fall outside the rubric of task performance (Rotundo & Sackett, 2002). A growing body of literature has studied supervisor BLM in relation to counterproductive performance, defined as voluntary employee behavior contrary to an organization’s legitimate interests (Sackett & DeVore, 2001). For example, Babalola et al. (2021) demonstrated that while high-BLM supervisors improve task performance, they also increase unethical pro-organizational behavior, such as lying to customers to attain bottom-line objectives. Additionally, Mesdaghinia et al. (2019) found that supervisor BLM can have negative consequences on businesses and stakeholders – for example, lower overall productivity and quality of work. As follows, it could be argued that supervisor BLM leads to negative consequences related to counterproductive performance.
Reviewing the literature, extant research on supervisor BLM has generally focused on task performance and counterproductive performance rather than citizenship performance.
Whereas task performance describes obligatory in-role behaviors, citizenship performance contributes to extra-role behaviors that are not formalized in the job description (Organ, 1988).
More specifically, citizenship performance, also defined as organizational citizenship behavior,
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“supports the social and psychological environment in which task performance takes place”
(Organ, 1997, p. 95), such as helping co-workers, endorsing organizational objectives, and volunteering for extra-role tasks (Brief & Motowidlo, 1986; Organ, 1988). Delving deeper into the meta-analytic findings of Podsakoff et al. (2009), it appears that citizenship behaviors have extensive relationships with the organizational measures that contribute to bottom-line effectiveness, such as higher productivity, efficiency, and profitability. Thus, citizenship performance seems a crucial construct that has, to date, been omitted from this line of inquiry.
Previous studies have often recognized counterproductive and citizenship performance as opposites, in the way that the former harms the organization, whereas the latter benefits it.
Indeed, Dalal’s (2005) meta-analysis indicates that these two performance constructs are negatively related to each other. As previous studies have implied that a narrow focus on bottom-lines increases counterproductive performance (e.g., Babalola et al., 2021), this study further argues that citizenship performance thus may decrease.
Furthermore, the present paper attempts to validate the relationship between supervisor BLM and citizenship performance by arguing that high-BLM supervisors prioritize bottom-line objectives (i.e., task performance) over competing priorities (i.e., citizenship performance).
This narrow-minded thinking is often labeled a win-lose mentality and can contribute to a toxic work climate (Greenbaum et al., 2012; Mesdaghinia et al., 2019). As mentioned, supervisors high in BLM are argued to view task performance as the ultimate outcome, while other outcomes are considered losing. Considering this win-lose mentality, high-BLM supervisors reinforce employees who cooperate with bottom-line attainment by rewarding them (Greenbaum et al., 2012). However, employees who do not cooperate with their high-BLM supervisor are considered obstacles and may face supervisory abuse (Mawritz et al., 2017) or other forms of punishment (e.g., withholding promotion and rewards; Mesdaghinia et al., 2019).
Correspondingly, employees may feel obligated to treat the bottom-line as the only relevant
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outcome and seek to realize behaviors that conform to their supervisor’s expectations (Babalola et al., 2021). In that sense, the sole focus on bottom-line outcomes may imply that task performance is considered winning, whereas citizenship performance is considered losing.
More specifically, a high-BLM supervisor is hypothesized to benefit task performance, while at the same time coming at the expense of such other outcomes within the organization, as a way of employees’ reciprocating the bottom-line demands of the supervisor. A negative relationship between supervisor BLM and citizenship performance is therefore expected.
Psychological Contract Breach and Performance
Social exchange theory (Blau, 1964), the norm of reciprocity (Gouldner, 1960), and the theory of psychological contracts (Rousseau, 1989) are reflected in much of the literature examining the relationship between antecedents and job performance. As predicted by these theories, employees retaliate against negative antecedents (e.g., organizational injustice) by engaging in counterproductive behavior, while they respond with citizenship behavior when the antecedents are perceived as positive and fair (e.g., healthy work-life balance; Dalal, 2005). Moreover, previous research has oftentimes supported the positive relationship between psychological contract fulfillment and task performance by building on social exchange theory and the reciprocity principle (e.g., Turnley et al., 2003). In the present study, the theory of psychological contracts is proposed as an explanatory mechanism to support the relationship between supervisor BLM as an antecedent and task performance and citizenship performance as outcomes.
Rousseau (1989) defined psychological contracts as an individual’s beliefs, shaped by the organization, referencing to terms of an exchange agreement between employees and their organization. In other words, psychological contracts are based on expectations, trust, and reciprocity, acting as a form of social exchange that develops between employers and
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employees (Rousseau, 2001; Morrison & Robinson, 1997). According to social exchange theory, employees are motivated to reciprocate their supervisor’s behaviors when the relationship is based upon a fair social exchange (Turnley et al., 2003). In this regard, the psychological contract is grounded on perceived promises that employees believe the organization has made. Thus, when employees perceive a positive exchange relationship (i.e., the organization has lived up to their expectations), they are likely to feel obligated to reciprocate the behaviors that are in favor of the organization (Henderson et al., 2008), subsequently enhancing task and citizenship performance (Li et al., 2014; Suazo et al., 2005).
However, when employees feel they have made contributions to the organization, although the organization or supervisor did not reciprocate these contributions, they often perceive a breach in their psychological contracts (Morrison & Robinson, 1997). Psychological contract breach is defined as the employees’ perception that an organization has failed to fulfill one or more of its obligations and often arises when employees have different understandings of what they were promised and what they obtained for the work (Robinson & Rousseau, 1994).
To this extent, employees who feel shortchanged by organizational failure may diminish their contributions to rebalance the employment relationship (Turnley et al., 2003; Zhao et al., 2007).
Given the potential negative consequences of psychological contract breach, it is understandable that this theory has received such empirical attention. For example, a meta- analysis from Zhao et al. (2007) reveals that employees are less likely to demonstrate in- and extra-role job performance when they perceive a negative exchange relationship with their employer. More specifically, when employees perceive their psychological contracts as unfulfilled, they can – and are indeed likely to – refuse the obligation of task performance.
Following Zhao et al. (2007), citizenship performance is an indicator of employees’ view of the employment relationship. As such, employees are unlikely to obligate to extra-role behavior when they recognize the relationship with the organization as negative. Hence, psychological
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contract breach is proposed to be negatively related to employees’ task and citizenship performance.
The Moderating Role of Employee BLM
To support the negative indirect effects of supervisor BLM and employee performance via psychological contract breach, employee BLM is proposed as a moderating factor. When employees and supervisors have similar BLM-levels, a goal congruence perspective is taken, suggesting that the fit between a supervisor and employee influences how they interact (Vancouver & Schmitt, 1991). Extant research has long shown that when individuals and supervisors have similar goals, they are more likely to cooperate (Tjosvold & Tsao, 1989).
In instances where supervisors and employees are similarly high in BLM, both approach the bottom-line as a game that needs to be won, in which securing the bottom-line is the only way to win, and any other outcomes are considered as loss (Greenbaum et al., 2012; Wolfe, 1988). In this regard, high-BLM supervisors and employees are likely to share mutual goals and are therefore unlikely to have contrasting work expectations. As a result, psychological contract breach is anticipated to be low, and thus, the negative outcomes on performance do not occur. This argumentation also applies to supervisors and employees with equally low BLM.
In this vein, the parties believe that there is more to focus on than just the bottom-line and include alternative interests such as building social connections in the workplace or improving personal development, contributing to citizenship performance (Quade et al., 2020). Hence, the present study argues that there is no indirect effect via psychological contract breach on performance when supervisors and employees are similarly low or high in BLM.
However, in instances where supervisors and employees differ in their levels of BLM, this research proposes that psychological contract breach is more likely to develop. In this sense, supervisors exclusively work toward their own goals, while not paying attention to employees’
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goals (Tjosvold & Tsao, 1989). More specifically, the present study argues that supervisors ignore incongruent employee goals, thus increasing employee perceptions of psychological contract breach and, subsequently, performance. Indeed, extant research has shown that when supervisors and employees differ in attitudes and values, this dissimilarity may result in unfavorable outcomes (Tepper et al., 2011). Moreover, Quade et al. (2020) found in one study that the mediating role of leader-member exchange in explaining the relationship of supervisor BLM and employee performance is most robust when supervisor BLM and employee BLM differ, especially when supervisor BLM is high and employee BLM is low. Thus, it is argued that the difference between supervisor BLM and employee BLM results in more psychological contract breaches, which is subsequently negatively related to both forms of employee performance (i.e., decreased task performance and decreased citizenship performance). Hence, the negative indirect effect is proposed to be stronger when levels of supervisor BLM and employee BLM differ (i.e., high supervisor BLM and low employee BLM or low supervisor BLM and high employee BLM).
To summarize, this research proposes employee BLM as a condition under which the effects of a BLM supervisor are affected (see Figure 1). More specifically, when supervisors and employees differ in their BLM-levels, the indirect effect of supervisor BLM on performance via psychological contract breach is proposed to be strengthened. In contrast, when supervisors and employees are similarly high or low in their levels of BLM, supervisor BLM has no indirect effect on performance via psychological contract breach. Hence, the following hypotheses are formulated:
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Hypothesis 1. The total positive effect between supervisor BLM and task performance, when partitioned into an indirect effect mediated by psychological contract breach and a direct effect, yields a negative indirect effect and a positive direct effect. The aforementioned negative indirect effect is moderated by employee BLM, such that it is strengthened when levels of supervisor BLM and employee BLM differ.
Hypothesis 2. The total negative effect between supervisor BLM and citizenship performance, when partitioned into an indirect effect mediated by psychological contract breach and a direct effect, yields a negative indirect effect and a negative direct effect. The aforementioned negative indirect effect is moderated by employee BLM, such that it is strengthened when levels of supervisor BLM and employee BLM differ.
Hypothesized Research Model
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In total, 172 respondents completed the questionnaire (a response rate of 34.40%). The final sample included 158 completed surveys (a success rate of 91.86%) after correcting for Meade and Craig’s (2012) attention checks. Most of the irrelevant data (n = 8) were removed by checking for similar responses to consecutive items and faults on reverse-wording questions.
That is, participants answering the survey questions in a repeating nonrandom pattern, such as giving many items a response of “4” despite positively and negatively worded items. The remaining irrelevant data (n = 6) were participants who completed the survey within a response time of 180 seconds, as very fast responses are typically associated with lower data quality (Meade & Craig, 2012). The estimated time to complete the survey was approximately seven minutes, as stated in the online survey software, although there was no strict time limit.
Of the 158 participants in the final sample, 111 were male (70.30%), and 47 were female (29.70%), which corresponds to the gender ratio in the company. Age ranged from 15 to 31, with an average age of 19.48 years (SD = 3.16). The majority of the participants (75.32%) were studying at the time of the survey and indicated a high school diploma (55.70%) or elementary school diploma (23.42%) as their highest level of education. In terms of job position, most participants were non-management employees (59.50%), while 42 were lower-level management (26.60%), and 22 were middle-level management (13.90%). At the time of the survey, participants worked an average of 1.99 days per week (SD = 1.03) and approximately 6.72 hours per shift (SD = 1.03). Organizational tenure was obtained objectively from internal company records and was indicated by the date when employees began to work for the organization. The average organizational tenure was 1.27 years (SD = 1.58).
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Data for the present study were collected through a cross-sectional survey of full- and part-time employees working in a Dutch sales company. At the time of the survey, the company included 13 units in the Netherlands and employed approximately 75 employees with a permanent position and 650 on-call workers. The survey was limited to employees who engaged in sales activities (i.e., selling products and services) instead of office staff (i.e., solely perform administrative tasks). This distinction was made as that the present researcher was interested in studying the effects of supervisor BLM on task performance, measured objectively through internal sales records. Accordingly, the office staff was not invited to participate.
Access to the participants was obtained through the human resource (HR) manager and unit managers, who possess the contact details of employees in the target group. Prior to administrating the survey, each unit manager received an e-mail from the researcher that described the study’s purpose. The online Qualtrics survey was then distributed as a hyperlink to 500 managerial and nonmanagerial employees through e-mail, the company portal app, and mobile messaging apps. As the study strived for as many respondents as possible, the researcher sent reminders through the previously mentioned platforms and directly to managers.
Furthermore, to increase the response rate, the participants were offered organizational coins, equivalent to five euros, to exchange in the online company store. The researcher also provided personal contact details should the respondents have any questions or concerns.
To guarantee the confidentiality of the data, the researcher took steps to protect private information. Before distributing the survey, the researcher received ethical approval from the faculty ethics board of the university. In the survey itself, the researcher assured employees that participation was voluntary and that their individual responses would not be shared with the organization. All research participants were required to provide informed consent and their name to participate in the study. The researcher accessed internal performance data through the
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HR manager by e-mailing a list of the participants who successfully completed the survey. In response, the HR manager compiled and sent a file consisting of the sum of individual sales scores in 2021 and the number of shifts worked. The researcher computed the received data into a mean variable and combined the internal and survey data. Hence, the combined survey and internal data were only accessible to the researcher, not to the company.
Finally, the survey was administrated in Dutch, the organization’s official language. The scales were translated from the original English source (see Appendix A) to Dutch (see Appendix B) by combining techniques of back-translation (Brislin, 1970) in Google Translate and DeepL Translate, followed by an analysis from a bilingual native speaker to check the translation’s accuracy (Behr, 2017). Discrepancies were reviewed and resolved through discussion between the researcher and native speaker. To ensure the quality and clarity of the survey translation, five representatives of the target group evaluated the survey. The representatives argued that the survey questions were understandable, and based on how they completed the survey in terms of time, no further adjustments were made.
All the scales, except for task performance, were obtained from extant literature and anchored on a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5). The Cronbach’s alphas reported in the text are deducted from the extant literature.
Supervisor Bottom-Line Mentality. As with previous research (Babalola et al., 2021), employees were asked to rate their supervisor’s BLM level using the four-item scale developed and validated by Greenbaum et al. (2012). A sample item was “My supervisor cares more about profits than well-being.” The Cronbach’s alpha for this scale was α = .81 (Babalola et al., 2021).
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Employee Bottom-Line Mentality. The same four-item BLM scale from Greenbaum et al.
(2012) was used to measure employee BLM. Focal employees rated the extent of their own BLM level by indicating how much they agreed with the statements. To accommodate the focal person, the researcher changed the items into a first-person perspective. A sample item was “I treat the bottom-line as more important than everything else.” The Cronbach’s alpha for this scale was α = .86 (Greenbaum et al., 2012).
Psychological Contract Breach. Robinson and Morrison’s (2000) five-item scale was used to determine the perceived psychological contract breach of the focal employee. The scale obtains two counter-indicative items (see Appendix A). A sample item was “I have not received everything promised to me in exchange for my contributions.” The Cronbach’s alpha for this scale was α = .92 (Robinson & Morrison, 2000).
Task Performance. Individual task performance was computed as the average number of sales per day, calculated as their total sum of sales in 2021 (from 01-01-2021 to 11-05-2021) divided by the number of days worked (M = 1.48, SD = .76). As the concerning company sells different products and services, the HR manager corrected the total sum in the task performance variable for fairness. For example, some teams sell continuous services from one year up to three years, and other teams sell monthly products that are free of charge in the first month and can be canceled any time. From that perspective, sales from different teams are not equal in terms of targets and difficulty. Thus, to increase the fairness, the company uses a calculation for decision-making regarding payment of bonuses and distribution ranks in sales games.
Citizenship Performance. Focal employees were asked to rate their own citizenship performance using Poropat and Jones’ (2009) six-item scale. The scale contains one counter-
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indicative item (see Appendix A). A sample item was “I look for opportunities to learn new knowledge and skills from others at work and from new and challenging job assignments.” The Cronbach’s alpha for this scale was α = .81 (Poropat & Jones, 2009).
Control Variables. Extant research has most commonly controlled for gender and organizational tenure when studying BLM in relation to performance (e.g., Mesdaghinia et al., 2019). Gender is known to influence job attribute preferences, such as performing tasks one finds enjoyable and working in a pleasant environment (Konrad et al., 2000). Previous studies have also shown the relationship between gender and unethical behavior (Kish-Gephart et al., 2010; Umphress et al., 2010), which arguably contradicts citizenship behaviors (Dalal, 2005;
LePine et al., 2002). Furthermore, Suazo et al. (2005) found that demographic similarity in terms of gender is not related to psychological contract breach. Thus, the present study included gender as a covariate to control for the dependent variables of performance. In addition, human capital theory contends that knowledge and skills increase with tenure, subsequently improving performance (Becker, 1964; Ng & Feldman, 2010). Tenure may also potentially influence employee behaviors as it relates to the supervisor-employee relationship (Umphress et al., 2010) and psychological contract fulfillment (Bal et al., 2013). Hence, tenure was used to control for breach and both forms of performance. Lastly, the researcher included four traits of the five- factor personality model in the analyses to rule out potential confounds. Several studies (e.g., Jafri, 2014; Mount et al., 1998; Stewart, 1996) support the relationship between extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, and conscientiousness with performance and breach. As openness has often generally weak relevance to organizational behavior (e.g., Burke & Witt, 2002), it is omitted as a control variable in this study.
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The means, standard deviations, and correlations among the variables in this study are reported in Table 1. Analyses to measure the internal consistency revealed that the researcher should delete item 2 of citizenship performance to increase the alpha (from α = .61 to α = .67) to better meet the threshold of an acceptable level of reliability (Nunnally & Bernstein, 1994). The internal consistency of the employee BLM scale was also considered questionable (α = .61). As Cronbach’s alpha is sensitive to the number of items in the scale and the indicated scale consisted of only four items, it may increase the probability of low values. Following Perry et al. (2004), “0.5 to 0.75 is generally accepted as indicating a moderately reliable scale” (p. 363).
Hence, citizenship performance and employee BLM were both included in the final analysis.
The alpha coefficients of the reliability analyses are shown in the diagonal. As Table 1 indicates, the internal consistency of the personality scales was considered insufficient (Nunnally &
Bernstein, 1994). As a result, the researcher decided to omit all personality factors. Thus, only gender and organizational tenure were incorporated as control variables.
To provide support for the hypotheses, a moderated mediation was performed in SPSS 27 by using Hayes’ PROCESS macro model number 7 using 5000 bootstrap samples. The model was tested twice, one for each dependent variable. The researcher decided to mean center the continuous variables that define products (Hayes, 2017) and generated a pairwise contrast of indirect effects to compare the strengths of the individual indirect effects against each other.
The conditioning values were selected at -1 standard deviation, mean, and +1 standard deviation.
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Table 1 Descriptive Statistics and Correlations among Study Variables Variable MSD1 2 3 4 5 6 8 9 101112 1. Supervisor Bottom-Line Mentality 2.470.65(.71) 2. Employee Bottom-Line Mentality 2.530.60.33**(.61) 3. Psychological Contract Breach 2.370.34.46**.08(.85) 4. Task Performance 1.480.77.25**.05.19* 5. Citizenship Performance 3.970.41-.22**-.17*-.16*.14(.67) 6. Gender 1.300.46.01-.12-.04-.11.09 7. Tenure1.271.58.11-.15.28**.33**.05-.16* 8. Extraversion3.920.64-.03-.04-.18*.05.25**-.06-.02(.48) 9. Agreeableness3.500.75-.18*-.06-.31**-.17*.03.22**-.22**.14(.39) 10. Conscientiousness3.710.67-.07-.07-.02-.03.19*.17*.08-.08.17*(.35) 11. Neuroticism184.108.40.206*.02.08-.07-.17*.42**-.12-.19*-.02-.15(.51) Note: N = 158. Gender was coded 1 = male, 2 = female. Coefficient (α) reliabilities are shown in the diagonal. *p < .05, **p < .01.
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Hypothesis 1 stated that the total positive effect between supervisor BLM and task performance, when partitioned into an indirect effect mediated by psychological contract breach and a direct effect, yields a negative indirect effect and a positive direct effect. The aforementioned negative indirect effect is hypothesized to be moderated by employee BLM, such that it is strengthened when levels of supervisor BLM and employee BLM differ. To test this hypothesis, the moderated mediation results were analyzed and reported in Table 2.
Contrary to the hypothesis, the overall moderated mediation model finding was not significant (index = .00, SE = .01, 95% CI = [-.03, .03]. Moreover, there was no significant interaction effect of supervisor BLM and employee BLM on psychological contract breach (B = -.10, SE
= .12, t = -.86, 95% CI = [-.34, .13]). The interaction was also non-significant for high and low values of employee BLM, as reported in Table 3. The post-hoc analysis of model 4 revealed that there is also a non-significant overall indirect effect of supervisor BLM on task performance via psychological contract breach (B = .00, SE = .04, 95% CI = [-.08, .08]. The findings did indicate that supervisor BLM was positively related to psychological contract breach (B = .47, SE = .08, t = 14.22, 95% confidence interval [CI] = [.32, .63]) and that supervisor BLM was positively related to employee task performance (B = .26, SE = .10, 95%
CI = [.07, .46]). Altogether, hypothesis 1 was not supported.
Hypothesis 2 suggested that the total negative effect between supervisor BLM and citizenship performance, when partitioned into an indirect effect mediated by psychological contract breach and a direct effect, yields a negative indirect effect and a negative direct effect.
The aforementioned negative indirect effect is hypothesized to be moderated by employee BLM, such that it is strengthened when levels of supervisor BLM and employee BLM differ.
Contrary to the hypothesis, the overall moderated mediation model finding was not significant (index = .01, SE = .01, 95% CI = [-.02, .04]). As mentioned, there was no significant interaction
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Table 2 Results of Hypothesis Testing Psychological Contract Breach Task Performance Citizenship Performance Variable B (SE) p 95% CI B (SE) p 95% CI B (SE) p 95% CI Intercept2.30 (0.16).000[1.98, 2.62]1.42 (0.29).000[0.86, 1.99]3.97 (0.18).000[3.60, 4.33] Supervisor BLM0.47 (0.08).000[0.32, 0.63]0.26 (0.10).009[0.07, 0.46]-0.13 (0.06).042[-0.26, -0.05] Employee BLM-0.06 (0.09).535[-0.23, 0.12] Supervisor BLM * Employee BLM-0.10 (0.12).394[-0.34, 0.13] Psychological Contract Breach 0.01 (0.10).931[-0.18, 0.20]-0.07 (0.06).245[-0.19, 0.05] Gender -0.03 (0.11).819[-0.24, 0.19]-0.11 (0.13).382[-0.36, 0.14]0.11 (0.08).187[-0.05, 0.27] Tenure 0.10 (0.03).002[0.04, 0.16]0.14 (0.04).000[0.07, 0.22]0.03 (0.02).169[-0.01, 0.08] ∆R2 0.2680.1620.070 Note: N = 158. Bootstrap sample size = 5000. BLM = Bottom-Line Mentality.
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effect of supervisor BLM and employee BLM on psychological contract breach (B = -.10, SE
= .12, t = -.86, 95% CI = [-.34, .13]). Furthermore, the interaction was also non-significant for high and low values of employee BLM (see Table 3). The post-hoc analysis of model 4 revealed that there is also a non-significant overall indirect effect of supervisor BLM on citizenship performance via psychological contract breach (B = -.03, SE = .03, 95% CI = [-.10, .02]. As mentioned, supervisor BLM was positively related to psychological contract breach (B = .47, SE = .08, t = 14.22, 95% confidence interval [CI] = [.32, .63]). The output also revealed that supervisor BLM was negatively related to citizenship performance (B = -.13, SE = .06, 95% CI [-.25, -.01]. Taken together, hypothesis 2 was not supported.
Conditional Indirect Effect of Supervisor BLM on Task and Citizenship Performance Conditional Indirect Effect of Supervisor BLM Indirect Effect SE 95% CI On Task Performance
Employee BLM + 1 SD (+ 0.60) 0.00 0.05 [-0.07, 0.09]
Employee BLM • Mean 0.00 0.04 [-0.08, 0.09]
Employee BLM – 1 SD (- 0.60) 0.00 0.04 [-0.10, 0.10]
On Citizenship Performance
Employee BLM + 1 SD (+ 0.60) -0.03 0.03 [-0.10, 0.02]
Employee BLM • Mean -0.03 0.03 [-0.10, 0.02]
Employee BLM – 1 SD (- 0.60) -0.04 0.04 [-.0.12, 0.03]
Note: N = 158. Bootstrap sample = 5000. BLM = Bottom-Line Mentality.
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The current study utilizes social exchange theory (Blau, 1964) and the reciprocity principle (Gouldner, 1960) in an attempt to explain how and when a supervisor BLM may impact task and citizenship performance. However, contrary to the hypotheses, there is no indirect effect found of supervisor BLM on performance via psychological contract breach, and variation in employee BLM does not have a strengthening effect in the supervisor BLM-performance relationship. In addition, the present study findings offer a novel theoretical perspective by introducing supervisor BLM as a potential antecedent of an employee’s perceived psychological contract breach. The study also contributes to the BLM literature by indicating that supervisor BLM may positively relate to task performance and negatively relate to citizenship performance. More specifically, a high-BLM supervisor may trigger employees to increase engagement related to in-role performance and limit their efforts when related to extra- role tasks. By introducing the research conclusions, the BLM concept is further refined, yet the present study questions of when and how supervisor BLM and job performance are related remain unanswered.
The present study makes several contributions to the emerging BLM literature. First, the results indicate that supervisor BLM is not indirectly and negatively related to both forms of performance via psychological contract breach. Although the results showed a direct relationship between supervisor BLM and performance and a relationship between supervisor BLM and psychological contract breach, the indirect relationship of supervisor BLM via psychological contract breach on performance failed to materialize. One possible explanation for why an indirect effect was not found might be the insignificant relationship between
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psychological contract breach and performance. Extant research has frequently presented breach as a strong predictor of task and citizenship performance (Turnley et al., 2003; Zhao et al., 2007). However, Zhao et al. (2007) also demonstrated that the content of the psychological contract might have different implications on performance outcomes.
Presumably, there are two types of psychological contracts (Morrison & Robinson, 1997; Rousseau, 1989). The transactional contents are specific and include short-term monetizable exchanges (e.g., obligations of performance-related pay), whereas relational contracts refer to unscripted, long-term exchanges that contribute to the supervisor-employee relationship (e.g., obligations of loyalty and support). Following Zhao et al. (2007), obligations in the transactional contract are seen as the bottom-line and are fundamental components of a psychological contract. As transactional rewards are mostly formally agreed on in the employment contract, the obligations are legally binding. The organizational failure of providing such transactional obligations is thus likely to motivate breach in psychological contracts, as opposed to relational obligations that tend to be less forceful. On the other side of the coin, given that these bonuses are formally contracted, a breach may be less likely to occur when organizations fulfill its transactional obligations.
Moreover, the concerning company measures performance in terms of sales and pay contingent on performance (Gerhart & Fang, 2015) – that is, bonuses contracted on both task performance (i.e., primary bonus for each employee that increases per sale) and citizenship performance (i.e., additional bonus for lower-level and middle-level management per sale of the team). The sample included about fifty percent of employees who received the primary bonus, and the other half received both the primary and additional bonuses. In this regard, withholding performance would not only hurt the organization, but it would hurt the employee themself in terms of salary. Previous meta-analyses (e.g., Jenkins et al., 1998; Locke et al., 1981) have proven the importance of money as a crucial incentive to motivate employees. Thus,
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due to the work environment, employees in the present study might not withhold performance as a consequence of perceiving psychological contract breach. In other words, the indirect relationship between supervisor BLM and task performance via psychological contract breach might not be relevant in a competitive setting due to the formally contracted obligations and pay-for-performance systems.
A possible alternative is that psychological contract breaches in competitive environments may be better related to outcomes not captured in this study. For example, psychological contract breach in this context may be more closely related to outcomes of stress due to unfulfilled organizational obligations (Gakovic & Tetrick, 2003), feelings of frustration and anger (Morrison & Robinson, 1997), decreased job satisfaction and organizational commitment, or increased turnover intentions (Zhao et al., 2007). Therefore, the need for research on employees’ emotional responses and work attitudes in the relationship between supervisor BLM and psychological contract breach is suggested. In addition, although breach does not appear to mediate the relationship between supervisor BLM and performance and variations in employees’ BLM do apparently not moderate this relationship, it still seems crucial to reciprocate the findings or examine potential other factors that may be related to employees’
perceived breach, given that the psychological contract is an essential framework in the employment relationship (Rousseau, 2001) that may lead to the organization suffering in the long term (Raja et al., 2004; Zhao et al., 2007).
The present study also contributed to the literature by uncovering a potential relationship between supervisor BLM and psychological contract breach, indicating that supervisor BLM could be a relevant antecedent of breach. Extant research has suggested that high-BLM supervisors create tunnel vision such that the bottom-line is the only relevant outcome (Greenbaum et al., 2012; Wolfe, 1988). Thus, high-BLM supervisors may increase focus on the task while neglecting promises and obligations concerning employees’ well-being. Previous
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studies (e.g., Ahmed & Muchiri, 2014) also found that breaches in the psychological contract are often related to employee well-being. Moreover, especially in competitive environments, employees are often held accountable for their results but not their input of behavior, which is how they achieve these results (Anderson & Oliver, 1987). Thus, it could be argued that a high- BLM supervisor may cause breaches due to the neglect of well-being and concern for employees, although the exact mechanism of how this relationship works is still unknown.
The primary contribution of the results lies within the acknowledgment of supervisor BLM as a double-edged sword that benefits task performance at the expense of citizenship performance. Although research on BLM is primarily recognized as a concept that has negative consequences on organizations and stakeholders, to date, very few studies have investigated its potential benefits. Thus, the present research extends the preliminary findings of Babalola et al.
(2021) by recognizing that supervisor BLM is indeed multifaceted, contributing to a more balanced view of both beneficial and detrimental performance outcomes.
As the present study results reveal that the direct effect is larger than the indirect effect, it is implicated that the variance through psychological contract breach is limited. Considering that psychological contract breach cannot be held accountable for explaining the relationship of supervisor BLM with task performance and citizenship performance, social exchange theory might be insufficient to interpret the results. Accordingly, alternative theories are evoked to explain the findings. Along these lines, signaling theory describes a way of communicating intentions and preferences by specific actions and behavior to reduce information asymmetry between the signal receiver and signal giver (Spence, 1973; Spence, 2002). In other words, supervisors are argued to signal certain expectations toward the employee, which the employee processes and influences their behavior (Xu et al., 2019). Indeed, extant research has argued that supervisors are powerful signalers of desirable employee outcomes (Connelly et al., 2011).
In this regard, signaling theory may influence the extent to which a high-BLM supervisor
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motivates task performance and decreases citizenship performance. More specifically, signaling theory implies that the high-BLM supervisor may send signals to employees about their preferences, which the employee in turn processes, behaving accordingly (Xu et al., 2019).
Altogether, it could be argued that of all the different types of performance defined in this study (i.e., task performance, citizenship performance, and counterproductive performance), task performance is most closely aligned with BLM.
As modern corporate scandals (e.g., Volkswagen Company) have shown, supervisor BLM can potentially harm internal and external stakeholders (Mansouri, 2016). Hence, organizations and managers should be aware of the possible outcomes of supervisor BLM that may seem desirable in terms of short-term outcomes (e.g., profit maximization) but could lead to other detrimental consequences. Given that supervisor BLM is acknowledged as a double-edged sword, organizations should be careful in selecting and training their supervisors who might promote BLMs. While selecting and hiring supervisors, ethical leadership is an important objective known for enhancing both task performance and citizenship performance from a social learning and social exchange perspective (e.g., Mo & Shi, 2017). Ethical leaders are known to care not only care about the bottom-line but also about how the results are obtained (Brown et al., 2005;
Treviño et al., 2000). Furthermore, as ethical leaders are strongly focused on morality and fairness, they appear to be more adequately in terms of psychological contract fulfillment (Ahmed et al., 2019). In this regard, organizations must promote ethical leadership among managers, for example, through ethics training programs or rewarding particular behaviors (Bello, 2012).
Organizations should also be attentive to policies that may promote a BLM. Utilizing the triple-bottom-line framework, organizations and supervisors can focus on the traditional
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financial aspect of performance as well as the social and environmental pillars that emphasize responsibility and profitability (Slaper & Hall, 2011). Evaluating and rewarding managers based on broader bottom-line measures, as opposed to more narrow criteria that contain both ethical and social obligations, can perhaps diminish BLM among managers. For instance, organizations should set reasonable target goals in terms of difficulty, emphasizing not only task performance but also extra-role performance (Ordónez et al., 2009; Schweitzer et al., 2004). In this regard, supervisors might not only focus on task performance as a bottom-line but are also reinforced and rewarded to focus on extra-role obligations. As a result, organizations might be able to overcome the adverse outcomes of a supervisor BLM due to the employment of supervisors that focus on several bottom-lines.
In response to a singular focus on profit maximization, post-growth entrepreneurship literature has proposed broadening strategic objectives by adopting business models that look beyond simply profit maximization (Hinton, 2021). To understand how organizations and individuals must change to be compatible with post-growth sustainability, the literature emphasizes purposes such as well-being, shared value creation, and work-life balance to align financial activities with social and ecological sustainability (Hinton, 2021; Khmara &
Kronenberg, 2018). Along these lines, the question is whether organizations must reshape the dominant ideology that businesses primarily exist to make value to a more dynamic balance of multiple shareholder values. Instead of exclusively focus on growing financial task performance, which eventually destroys the environment, organizations should grow within their social and ecological boundaries (Raworth, 2017). In this regard, organizations should emphasize the triple-bottom-line and acknowledge that “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts” (Cameron, 1963). Although social and environmental bottom-lines may not be measured directly in profits, their long-term impact on
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a wide range of stakeholders seems of utter importance in 21st-century businesses (Hubbard, 2009).
Limitations and Future Research Directions
The present study should be considered in light of certain limitations. First, the theoretical model is analyzed within a single organization where BLMs are prevalent and necessary, although it does not account for the differences that may exist if this design were replicated in larger populations. Recent studies have recommended that research related to BLM would benefit from an examination within a relevant context such as sales (Babalola et al., 2021;
Quade et al., 2020). However, the research questions of this study remain unanswered.
Accordingly, future research would benefit from further examining when and how supervisor BLM is related to task performance, citizenship performance, and psychological contract breach, preferably in a competitive environment, as there is still much to learn about BLM.
Another limitation of the study is that all the incorporated variables, except for task performance, are self-assessed and from the same source – namely, employees. Self-assessed variables related to performance could increase socially desirable answers and be harmful to the internal validity of the research (Ganster et al., 1983). Extant research revealed that interpersonal behaviors are overestimated when behaviors rely entirely on self-report measures (Ganster et al., 1983; Podsakoff et al., 2012). However, it should be noted that psychological contract breach is a variable that is naturally self-assessed, as it measures an internal attitude and not accessible to external individuals. Furthermore, due to the scope of this study and feasibility, the present study chose self-ratings of the other variables. To induce potential consistency bias, the present study obtained measures of task performance by means of internal data sources. Nevertheless, the present research design could have been improved by including alternative measures of the BLM and citizenship performance constructs, possibly by the
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supervisor or a colleague of the focal person. Hence, future research might consider including more realistic estimates of behavioral consistency in their theoretical model, such as combining objective and subjective indices to complement self-assessment or introducing measurements with multiple time points (Podsakoff et al., 2003; 2012).
Lastly, future research should continue to examine the potential relationship between supervisor BLM and psychological contract breach. One limitation of the present study is that it was cross-sectional; thus, the direction of causality among the variables is undetermined. For example, it is unclear whether high-BLM supervisors create tunnel vision that influences perceived breach or that a negative relationship stems from the neglect of well-being. However, the present findings provide a foundation for future research on the BLM-breach relationship by providing evidence that supervisor BLM may be an antecedent of psychological contract breach. As such, future research would benefit from examining the supervisor BLM concept with more affective and attitudinal outcomes in relation to psychological contract breach, such as well-being or turnover intentions. Based on the social support literature, a supervisor’s social support may buffer the effects of psychological contract breach (Gakovic & Tetrick, 2003).
Hence, future research should continue to examine BLM and adopt alternative research designs that explore the causal direction of the relationships and dive deeper into the specified possibilities.