Research

Outcomes Above All Else?

A new Korn Ferry report explores the effects of culture and gender on leader bottom-line mentality.

By: Hein Wendt

Being focused is a good thing. Taken too far, however, focus may lead to tunnel vision.

Bottom-line mentality is a single frame-of-mind that prioritizes financial results at the expense of other important outcomes. Leaders who approach their work with a bottom-line mentality tend to pursue financial strength or efficiencies by any means necessary—including behaving in a way that could be considered ethically problematic. This strong emphasis on the bottom line not only guides the behaviors of these leaders, but it also dominates their discussions and decisions, potentially at the expense of their organization.

Focusing on the bottom line may also conflict with the purpose of the employee, or even the purpose of the organization itself if that bottom line is defined as an objective beyond maximizing profit. 

In its new report, Outcomes Above All Else?, the Korn Ferry Institute looks at bottom-line mentality from a global perspective, exploring the role culture and gender play in its prevalence among leaders. And what the Institute found is that, although bottom-line mentality is widespread across certain countries, as well as all industries, cultural and demographic differences do indeed have an effect on its pervasiveness.

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