Collective Misbehavior: The Causes and Consequences of Collective Organizational Deviance in Work Groups

    Project: Research project

    Project Details


    Workplace deviance refers to these behaviors that violate organizational norms and harm the organization or other members. To date, evidence has demonstrated that such deviant behaviors occur at alarming rates and cost organizations billions of dollars every year. Given its prevalence and costs, management researchers and practitioners are paying increasing attention to organizational deviance. This literature focuses primarily on the causes of individual employees’ deviant behaviors. Yet, it is a commonplace that members of work groups may collectively violate organizational norms and harm the interests of the organization in a collective, coordinated fashion. For example, groups may collectively cheat the organization on members' performance, attendance or leave records; or fight with other teams for company resources without considering the interests of the other teams and/or the company. Despite the prevalence of such a phenomenon and potentially destructive effects of such collective deviance behavior, we know little about its causes and consequences.

    We therefore examine such kind of organizational deviance that is conducted or endorsed by the whole group and for the immediate interest of whole group, which we label as group collective organizational deviance (GCOD). In our previous work, we developed a measure of GCOD which includes a subscale for GCOD toward the organization (e.g., using up the budget at the end of the financial year intentionally, for unnecessary things) and a subscale for GCOD toward other groups in the organization (e.g., competes against other teams on unit performance using ways that are against regulations) and found preliminary evidence for its construct validity. In this proposal, we aim to further validate this construct and develop and test a theoretical model that explains its antecedents and consequences. We theorize that inter-group competition, group cohesiveness and leader's moral development are the determinants of GCOD because these conditions shape a moral disengagement climate and a perceived group identity threat within groups. Further, our model suggests although GCOD may generates some "benefits" for the focal groups and its members, it hurts the organization's climate and performance in longer term. We propose to validate the construct and test the model using working teams in Chinese and American organizations.
    Effective start/end date1/01/2030/12/22


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