An Experimental Investigation of How Self-Interested Organizational Norms Undermine Prosocial Motivation and Influence Employee Effort

Published on Jun 1, 2021in Journal of Information Systems1.7
· DOI :10.2308/ISYS-19-047
Jace Garrett3
Estimated H-index: 3
D. Kip Holderness5
Estimated H-index: 5
Kari Joseph Olsen9
Estimated H-index: 9
Managers often implement behavioral controls to prevent free riding, especially in group settings where individual effort is difficult to measure. We argue that to the extent these controls signal a norm of self-interest in the workplace, they are likely to result in lower trust and employee effort. We predict and find that controls that send stronger signals of self-interest are especially detrimental to employees with high levels of prosocial motivation—individuals who tend to be less self-interested than their peers. Our results suggest managers should consider how behavioral controls signal self-interested organizational norms and influence employee outcomes.
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