Research Companion to the Dysfunctional Workplace
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Research Companion to the Dysfunctional Workplace

Management Challenges and Symptoms

Edited by Janice Langan-Fox, Cary L. Cooper and Richard J. Klimoski

A work exposing and exploring the phenomena of the dysfunctional workplace is long overdue. This fascinating book does just that, uncovering the subversiveness, counter-productive behaviour and unspoken ‘issues’ that managers struggle with on a daily basis.
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Chapter 9: Employee Attachment and Deviance in Organizations

Thomas E. Becker and Rebecca J. Bennett


Thomas E. Becker and Rebecca J. Bennett Workplace deviance refers to intentional acts initiated by employees that violate norms of the organization and have the potential to harm the organization or its members (Bennett and Robinson, 2000, 2003). The yearly costs of deviance in the USA are staggering: $4.2 billion for violence (Bensimon, 1997), $50 billion for employee theft and fraud (Sandberg, 2003), and $54 billion for corporate cyberloafing (Conlin, 2000). Add to this the costs of sabotage (Ambrose et al., 2002) and slowed productivity (Dunlop and Lee, 2004), and it becomes obvious that organizational deviance constitutes an extremely serious problem for employees, employers and society. Much has been learned about types of deviance and their antecedents and consequences (see Bennett and Robinson, 2003; Berry et al., in press), but less is known about how misbehavior might be reduced. Researchers have studied organizational deviance as an effect of (a) frustration, perceived injustice and other reactions to organizational experiences (e.g. Greenberg and Alge, 1998; Spector, 1997), (b) personality traits such as dispositional aggressiveness and anger (e.g. Deffenbacher, 1992; James, 1998), and (c) norms, modeling and other aspects of social context (e.g. Bennett et al., 2005; Giacalone et al., 1997; Robinson and O’Leary-Kelly, 1998). These antecedents suggest that there are a number of ways that deviance might be reduced in the workplace. For instance, selection processes may be used to screen for hostile applicants, abusive supervision might be ameliorated by careful training, and performance management systems may be designed...

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