A sense-making perspective is adopted to explore how and when contingent punishment is related to job performance. Results from Study 1 support the prediction that contingent punishment is positively related to job performance through affective commitment and negatively related to job performance through self-regulation impairment. Interpersonal justice on the part of supervisors strengthens the positive pathway, such that contingent punishment is more related to affective commitment when interpersonal justice is high. Core self-evaluation of employees weakens the negative pathway, such that contingent punishment is less related to self-regulation impairment when core self-evaluation is high. Moderated mediation effects also show that the positive indirect effect of contingent punishment on job performance through affective commitment exists only when interpersonal justice is high and that the negative indirect effect of contingent punishment on job performance through self-regulation impairment occurs only when core self-evaluation is low. The results associated with the novel pathway mediated by self-regulation impairment are replicated in Study 2.