A Review Study of the Effects of Personality Traits on Destructive and Constructive Deviance

A Review Study of the Effects of Personality Traits on Destructive and Constructive Deviance

Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9996-8.ch010
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There are two streams of behavior—negative and positive—that have the same baseline (i.e., departure from norms) leading to deviant behavior, but these are not integrated. Constructive deviants are employees who break the rules and norms but intend to benefit the organization. They lead to violation of norms but also to positive impact on organizational growth. The author discusses the types of behavior that help the organization in achieving the goals and explore the causes or factors that relate to constructive deviance. Also, dysfunctional behavior like workplace aggression leads to destructive workplace deviance and will be explained with their impact on organization working. The occurrence of destructive deviant behavior imparts a chain of worrying negative outcome in the workplace. The author will provide an integrated approach that is how one type of deviance is related to another type of deviance in the workplace. The author has explained the existence of relationship between employee personality traits and workplace deviant behavior.
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Workplace Deviance

The platform where people from varied walks of life with distinct and individual skills gather to achieve a common target is referred to as Workplace. As individual perspective varies depending on individual personality traits, workplace deviance cannot be overruled. Bennett and Robinson [2002] describe workplace deviant as voluntary behavior that violates organizational norms that can harm individual and organizational performance. The workplace deviance can be because of organizational policies, its culture or the personality of an individual. Workplace deviant behavior can be expressed in various terms as antisocial behavior [Robinson et al 1998], organizational misbehavior [Vardi1996], counterproductive behavior [Cortina,2001] and incivility behavior [Blanchard,2001].One of the study by Blanchard and Henle[2008]added cyber loafing as one of production deviant behavior.

To calculate and predict that organization efforts are aligned in direction of growth, there is a need to understand the personality type to predict the dimension of deviance.

Deviant behaviors at workplace are based on individuals’ personality traits, not on the ability/skill -related factors because individuals are consciously aware about being engaged in deviant behaviors. Because of its negative effects on the organizations, the widespread trend in industrial and organizational psychology is currently showing a sustained increase in the study of WDB (Levy & Tziner, 2011). It has been estimated that Billions of dollars are lost annually due to WDB (Johnson & Indvik, 2001). Greenberg (1997) found that organizations in the United States suffered a loss of $ 200 million per year in cases of theft by workers. While employees who become targeted of WD bare more likely forced to quit, can suffer stress-related problem, feel unsafe at work, has decreased productivity and low morale (O’Leary-Kelly., Griffin & Glew, 1996).

Restructuring of an organization’s norms, attitudes and social values developing ethical value based culture can lead to survival of an organization, in the face of negative deviant employees.

This chapter has explained the factors responsible for creation of deviant work environment in the organization. Also, it has explained how personality traits of employee are a valid indicator for involving and understanding workplace deviance. This positive approach of constructive handling workplace deviance through norms and value of workplace would lead to considerate amount of saving in human and financial aspects.

Classifying Workplace Deviance


Previous research on Workplace Deviance, have numerous data to show its negative effect but very few are based on presenting its brighter side (Spreitzer and Sonenshein,2004).Positive deviance is defined as ‘‘intentional behaviors that depart from the norms of a referent group in honorable ways’’ (Spreitzer and Sonenshein, 2003). Positive deviant behavior is actually like a hidden asset for the organization, which should be honored not crubbed back(Spreitzer and Sonenshein, 2003).


Negative impact of Workplace Deviance, which is voluntarily violating rules, norms, policies of workplace leading to downfall of personal and professional ethics as well as gradually decline of organization (Robinson and Bennett, 1995).

There lies a misconception in the minds of many people about unethical behavior and negative deviant behavior. This behavior often frames a platform for unethical practices to emerge out. Unethical practices can be referred to as breaking or offending societal rules, but negative deviant behavior is violation of organizational norms (Spreitzer and Sonenshein, 2004).

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