The Role of Deviance in the Workplace

Subject: Management
Pages: 2
Words: 637
Reading time:
3 min


There are certain concepts of how the workplace atmosphere shall look in contemporary companies of different types. However, it is common for some employees to act in another way than social norms and workplace rules dictate them. Thus, Bennett et al. (2018) define workplace deviance as “voluntary behaviors that break organizational norms and threaten the well-being of an organization” (p. 1). This essay will critically discuss the role of deviance in the workplace, examine types of deviance, support the explanation with examples, and examine reasons for such behavior.

Discussion of Types of Workplace Deviance and Its Ways of Manifestation and Reasons

Types of Workplace Deviance and Ways of Its Manifestation

It is possible to list four types of workplace deviance divided into two subcategories that absorb the common manifestations of such behavior. The organizational deviance category consisting of production and property deviance refers to efforts to harm other employees or an organization or the lack of effort to complete work tasks. Examples of production deviation are wasting resources, working slowly intentionally or taking excessive breaks, and leaving the workplace early. The possible manifestation of property deviance are intentional breaking (sabotaging) equipment, intentional lying about hours worked, and employee theft. This type of deviant behavior is more serious than the previous one, based on the typology provided by Bennett et al. (2018) (p. 5). It is likely that organizational deviance does not directly act against co-workers of a deviant employee but significantly interferes with the operation of an organization.

The interpersonal category consists of political deviance and personal aggression and refers to some employees’ discourteous behavior. Examples of political deviance may include social loafing, gossiping about co-workers or blaming them, non-beneficial competitiveness, favoritism, and others (Bennett et al., 2018). The common manifestations of personal aggression are verbal abuse, sexual harassment, or endangering co-workers. It is possible to see that none of the deviation behavior is beneficial for an organization but can even be dangerous for some employees.

Reasons for Workplace Deviance, Contributing Factors, and Determinants

Several reasons and determinants which potentially can lead to workplace deviance can be listed. For instance, routine, repetitive job raised to boredom, frustration, and lack of control, is one of the factors that lead to organizational deviance (Uii, 2015). The firm structure of an organization and its power suppressing an employee’s will and desire for growth can also be a reason for a worker to make efforts against a company.

It is possible to add that deviant behavior is manifested at the bottom of the hierarchy and at its top differently; thus, for top management, destructive deviance is more likely to be employee theft rather than excessive breaks. It supports the thought that the position in an organization is another factor for workplace deviance of some type and is known as Mars typology. Hawks, donkeys, wolves, and vultures are entrepreneurial, isolated, group-depended, and autonomous workers, respectively (Furnham, 2015). It is unarguable that the type of employee based on the mentioned typology has a direct impact on the potential manifestation of deviant behavior. Finally, another factor contributing, or rather allowing workplace deviance, is the role of managers, which do not pay attention to meeting all the social norms if it is beneficial for an organization’s goals. There are numerous reasons for deviant workplace behavior to arise.


It is possible to see that frustration and lack of control are not the main reasons for workplace deviance to arise as there are mars typology, the dependence on a company’s structure, and other reasons and factors. Thus, workplace deviance is embedded in the organizational culture, and this influences the norms of behavior that indicate what is acceptable in a particular organization and what is considered to be inappropriate. Deviance does happen but may not be addressed unless it is seen to be out of control.


Bennett, J. R., Marasi, S., & Locklear, L. (2018). Workplace Deviance. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Business and Management, 1–27. Web.

Furnham, A. (2015). On Your Head: Meet the staff – the hawks, donkeys, wolves and vultures. Appointments. Web.

Uii, M. (2015). Causes and consequence deviant workplace behavior. Muafi, Dept.of Management Economic, University of Pembangunan Nasional Veteran Yogyakarta, 2(2),123–126. Web.