Winning at any cost philosophy won’t work for long

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New York, Sep 19 (IANS) 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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.”



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