Managing organizational deviance: Focusing on causes, not symptoms
Gutworth, Melissa B.
Morton, Dana M.
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Much of the received wisdom on why employees behave badly focuses too narrowly on traits and how to have tough disciplinary conversations with employees. In this chapter, we advocate for the importance of managing employee deviance in a more proactive manner by targeting the organizational conditions that promote harmful rule-breaking behavior. We take the perspective that targeting the motivational causes of deviance is a more fruitful approach to managing employees than trying to suppress the deviance itself, which is merely a symptom of greater problems. To this end, we review the recent scholarly literature on the contextual predictors of employee deviance, focusing our analysis on four levels: the organizational system, the team or work group, the supervisor-subordinate dyad, and individual job characteristics. Additionally, we make a point to distinguish destructive deviance from constructive deviance, which may actually be beneficial to organizations. Lastly, we conclude by distilling a set of seven key recommendations for managers based on this literature.
Gutworth, M.B., Morton, D.M., & Dahling, J.J. (2013). Managing organizational deviance: Focusing on causes, not symptoms. In D. Svyantek & K. Mahoney (Eds.), Received wisdom, kernels of truth, and boundary conditions in organizational studies (pp. 153-180). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
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