Prior research has explored how psychological entitlement (a trait) fuels worker expressions of self-interest and leads to fraudulent and other counterproductive workplace behaviors. However, entitlement can also be conceptualized as a state. As such, managers might unwittingly contribute to workers’ sense of entitlement through administrative decisions that increase workers’ state entitlement. We examine the distinction and hypothesized interaction between trait and state entitlement and their effects on workplace outcomes. We test our hypotheses in two settings where worker expressions of self-interest may manifest – in the context of a hypothetical job offer negotiation and an employment simulation. We find that non-contingent bonuses increase state entitlement. We also find that both employees’ state and trait entitlement influence workplace outcomes. Thus, to limit negative outcomes due to entitlement in the workplace, managers should consider both whom they hire as well as how workplace incentives foster an entitled workforce.
Adding fuel to the fire: How non-contingent bonuses relate to entitlement and affect pursuit of worker self-interest
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Darin Holderness Jr., Kari Joseph Olsen, Edward C. Tomlinson; Adding fuel to the fire: How non-contingent bonuses relate to entitlement and affect pursuit of worker self-interest. Journal of Forensic Accounting Research 2021; doi: https://doi.org/10.2308/JFAR-2020-029
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