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Getting to the Bottom of the Bottom-Line Mentality

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Getting to the bottom of the bottom-line mentality

I’m CJ Jackson and this is the Business Review

We’ve all known that one boss who seems to care more about the bottom line than about the people who actually do the work. Dr. Matt Quade, assistant professor of management, found that while bosses certainly need to pay attention to the bottom line, letting that be the main focus can have negative consequences.

Bottom line mentality is when someone focuses on one thing to the exclusion of other competing interests. Typically, that bottom line is profits or financial interests. Typically, the things that they're neglecting are things such as environmental concerns or ethical concerns or employee wellbeing. I would say the most important thing for people to realize based on this research is that supervisors who tout the bottom-line profits as the most important thing will lead to negative results for their employees. Ultimately, because those employees will perform worse, it's going to have a negative effect on the organization as well.

Dr. Quade also shares what supervisors can do to make necessary changes.

We found that supervisor bottom line mentality leads to these lower levels of employee respect and affinity for those supervisors and unfortunately then it damages the employee's willingness to work hard for those supervisors. Unfortunately, it damages the employee’s willingness to work hard for those supervisors. What supervisors ought to do to try and kind of counteract that as be more proactive and in building and establishing relationships with employees, making employees feel like the supervisor is someone that can be trusted, that someone that is going to work hard, someone that values their own wellbeing but also values lots of considerations that are important to the organization….Leaders need to demonstrate that to them in order for employees to feel comfortable or safe, or that this is a trusted person for them.

The Business Review is a production of KWBU, Livingston & McKay, and the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University.

C.J. Jackson drives on sunshine and thrives on family, NPR and PBS. She is the assistant dean of communications and marketing at Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business and host of public radio’s “Business Review.” Previously, she was director of marketing communications for a large, multinational corporation. C.J. has two daughters—Bri in San Antonio and Devon in Chicago—and four grandchildren. She lives with a little yellow cat named for an ancient Hawaiian tripping weapon.