Too Tired to Focus on Others? Reminders of Money Promote Considerate Responses in the Face of Depletion
Research has found that depletion of personal energy makes people self-centered. Thoughts of money also make people self-centered. We propose that reminding depleted individuals of money would in fact make them less self-centered and more other-oriented. We draw on evidence that money has potential to produce feelings of energy and that greater energy predicts more considerate behavior. We tested whether reminders (thoughts) of money reduce or counteract the selfish effects of depletion, promoting considerate responses.
Data were obtained through experiments conducted via the internet with working adult participants recruited in the USA and Hong Kong.
Depletion positively predicted self-centeredness, replicating previous research. As we hypothesized, thoughts of money (vs. money-neutral object) reduced or eliminated this effect. The mediating process was bolstered feelings of energy.
Organizational research has focused on showing how money in the form of compensation affects behavior. We provide a more nuanced understanding of the role of money in employee behavior. Reminders of money help employees feel energized in the face of depletion and in turn rein in selfish impulses. Our findings imply that when employees are drained, thoughts of money in general, even beyond the form of compensation, can provide strength to care about others besides the self.
KeywordsEgo-depletion Energy Money priming Self-regulation Self-centered behavior
Thanks to Lucas Li for inspiring perseverance.
- Brief, A. P., & Motowidlo, S. J. (1986). Prosocial organizational behaviors. Academy of Management Review, 11, 710–725.Google Scholar
- Campbell, D. J. (2000). The proactive employee: Managing workplace initiative. The Academy of Management Executive, 14, 52–66.Google Scholar
- Ciarocco, N. J., Twenge, J. M., Muraven, M., & Tice, D. M. (2007). Measuring state self-control: Reliability, validity, and correlations with physical and psychological stress. Monmouth: Working paper, Monmouth University.Google Scholar
- Dawkins, R. (1976). The selfish gene. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Joireman, J., Kamdar, D., Daniels, D., & Duell, B. (2006). Good citizens to the end? It depends: Empathy and concern with future consequences moderate the impact of a short-term time horizon on organizational citizenship behaviors. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91, 1307–1320.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Kasser, T. (2002). The high price of materialism. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Locke, E. A., Feren, D. B., McCaleb, V. M., Shaw, K. N., & Denny, A. T. (1980). The relative effectiveness of four methods of motivating employee performance. In K. D. Duncan, M. M. Gruenberg, & D. Wallis (Eds.), Changes in working life (pp. 363–388). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Mead, N. L., & Stuppy, A. (2014). Two sides of the same coin: Money can promote and hinder interpersonal processes. In E. H. Biljleveld & H. Aarts (Eds.), The psychological science of money (pp. 243–262). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Mok, A., & De Cremer, D. (2016). When money makes employees warm and bright: Thoughts of new money promote warmth and competence. Management and Organization Review, 1–29.Google Scholar
- Schor, J. (2008). The overworked American: The unexpected decline of leisure. New York: Basic books.Google Scholar
- Smith, G. (2012). Why I left Goldman Sachs: A wall street story. Hachette: Grand Central Publishing.Google Scholar
- Vazou-Ekkekakis, S., & Ekkekakis, P. (2009). Affective consequences of imposing the intensity of physical activity: Does the loss of perceived autonomy matter. Hellenic Journal of Psychology, 6, 125–144.Google Scholar
- Ward, V., & Hill, A. (2013). Bank intern who died after ‘working for 72 hours’ felt pressure to excel. Posted on August 20, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/10255199/Bank-intern-who-died-after-working-for-72-hours-felt-pressure-to-excel.html