Journal of Business and Psychology

, Volume 34, Issue 5, pp 685–707 | Cite as

Lay Beliefs About Attention to and Awareness of the Present: Implicit Mindfulness Theory (IMT) and Its Workplace Implications

  • Dejun Tony KongEmail author
  • Phillip M. Jolly
Original Paper


While mindfulness (attention to and awareness of the present) has received growing attention from scholars and practitioners, little is known regarding how employees’ lay beliefs about the fixedness versus malleability nature of mindfulness can guide their work behaviors. To address this issue, we proposed the concept of implicit mindfulness theory (IMT) and developed and validated a new measure tapping this construct (with three items in the final scale). Across six studies, we found that the new measure had satisfactory reliabilities, validities, and other psychometric properties and also proved useful in predicting individuals’ voice, production deviance, and in-role behaviors in the workplace. Some individuals in our studies were inclined to view mindfulness as a relatively fixed quality rather than as an attribute developable through time and effort investments. We also found that while IMT had a direct relationship with voice (study 4), IMT modified the relationship between feedback from others at work and production deviance (study 5) or in-role behaviors (study 6); feedback from others at work was significantly related to production deviance or in-role behaviors only among IMT entity theorists. Notably, IMT had predictive validity above and beyond a measure of dispositional mindfulness. The insights provided by our studies highlight the need to better understand the individual difference of IMT and its workplace implications.


Implicit mindfulness theory Mindfulness Voice Feedback Production deviance In-role behaviors 



We wish to thank Caitlin Porter for her comments on the paper.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bauer College of BusinessUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA
  2. 2.School of Hospitality ManagementPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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