According to group psychology, workplace deviance can be defined as the deliberate and malicious desire to sabotage an organization by causing problems in the workplace. The concept has become widely popular in the field of organizational communication. It can involve interpersonal relationships like lying and gossiping as well as individual acts such as tardiness and theft. It’s important to discuss this topic because some boundaries are unclear on what could be considered a poor work ethic or deliberate deviance. This article will clarify the causes behind workplace deviance and what the different types look like.
When employees start working at a company, they create a set of expectations about their workplace. This is called making psychological contracts. When the terms of the “contract” are not met, this can be seen as a psychological contract breach by their employers. This then presents potential problems in the workplace. The psychological contract is an important factor in determining whether workers engage in workplace deviance. If they feel there is a breach, this may drive workplace deviance.
Workplace deviance is also closely related to abusive supervision. This is when a supervisor is angered too easily during a situation when the supervisor’s anger is disproportional to the situation at hand. Studies have explored the true reasons behind this anger, hypothesizing that a history of family aggression is the root of angry reactions and abusive supervision. Other behaviors include ridiculing their employees, giving them the silent treatment, reminding them of past failures, failing to give proper credit, and wrongfully assigning blame to others. Workplace experiences such as these may fuel the worker to act out. Research has demonstrated that the perception of not being respected is one of the main causes of workplace deviance; workplace dissatisfaction is also a factor.
Workplace deviance can be expressed in different ways. Employees can engage in behavior ranging from minor and nonviolent to extreme and violent. Interpersonal and organizational deviance are two forms of workplace deviance that are directed differently. Others include:
As with many forms of negative workplace behaviors, ensuring organizational justice is one of the most effective methods organizations can use to reduce the frequency of deviance. Additionally, positive relationships between employers and employees are crucial, as they can play an important role in the development of workplace deviance. Employees who perceive their organization or supervisors as more caring or supportive have been shown to have a reduced incidence of workplace-deviant behaviors. Supervisors, managers, and organizations who are aware of this should assess their own behaviors and interactions with their employees.
Garcia, J.M., Restubog, S.L.D., Kiewitz, C.S., & Scott, K.L & Tang, R.L. (2014). Abusive supervision may have roots in childhood. I/O at Work. Retrieved from https://www.ioatwork.com/abusive-supervision-may-roots-childhood/
McCarraher, L. (2020). What is workplace deviance. HR Zone. Retrieved from https://www.hrzone.com/hr-glossary/what-is-workplace-deviance
In the last year, crimes against Asian Americans have increased by nearly 150%. More than 3,800 hate incidents have been reported, with many flying under the radar. The main reason for this being that many victims are afraid to speak out due to language barriers and lack of resources to support them. The most recent attack took the lives of 8 individuals, 6 of them being Asian American women in Atlanta, Georgia. Many influential people have been utilizing their platforms to condemn these attacks, but this is not enough. The problem cannot be dealt with unless everyone starts the conversation about how we can stop the discrimination towards Asian Americans surrounding the pandemic.
The first step is to talk with friends and family members about the rise in hate crimes. Although you may not be directly affected by the incidents, it’s important to speak up about how you can help those in need. For example, try asking your family if there is any way you can donate to the families affected. Also, following support groups and communities on social media can give you helpful information on where to send resources and who to talk to. What’s great about these organizations is that they can bring about real change by starting petitions and organizing events to help push laws that can protect those in need. The recent killings of Asian women in Atlanta have sparked conversations within the justice system for stricter U.S. hate crime laws. Many are calling to pass laws that establish tougher penalties for crimes motivated by race and gender. There is also a need for uniformity in these laws as current laws differ by state. It’s shocking that as of now, three states - South Carolina, Arkansas, and Wyoming - have no hate crime laws. This needs to change.
Right now more than ever, there’s a crucial need to support Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Marita Etcubañez, senior director of strategic initiatives at Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC) states that we must “listen to the immediately impacted folks - the communities on the ground - and honor what they’re asking for, and what they’re saying they need.” Additionally, if you witness a hate crime or incident, it’s recommended that you speak out and intervene if possible. Many times, the victims can’t defend themselves and won’t report the incident. It’s also recommended to check in with your Asian American peers. They are very afraid right now, so any kind gesture could help tremendously. Many may assume that these crimes are a wave that comes and goes, but we need to see it as a deeply structural and cultural problem within the U.S. We must advocate for awareness everywhere we go, ranging from our friends and family to the workplace. We need to start the conversation now so that we can end this time of hate.
Layne, N. & Sullivan, A. (2021). Killings of Asian women renew push for tougher U.S. hate crime laws. MSN News. Retrieved from
Ramachandran, V. (2021). What you can do to fight violence and racism against Asian Americans. PBS News Hour. Retrieved from https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/what-you-can-do-to-fight-violence-and-racism-against-asian-americans
As humans, we occasionally doubt our abilities as this allows us to have some form of self-awareness. When this is taken to the extreme, however, it can lead to imposter syndrome. Coined by psychologists Pauline Rose Clancy and Suzanne Imes in 1978, the concept of imposter syndrome, or imposter phenomenon, states that those with this condition experience feeling like a phony or imposter. They feel that they don’t belong and that all their successes are achieved through luck and not skill. It can stem from many factors both internal and external, and should be taken seriously.
The term originally focused on high-achieving women. It has since been broadened to include all high-achieving people, although many women have publicly spoken about experiencing it. Famous women such as Viola Davis, Charlize Theron, and even Michelle Obama have spoken about their experiences. All of their experiences seem to have an underlying similarity - they feel that something within them is causing them to feel this way. What they don’t mention and what isn’t really discussed is why imposter syndrome exists in the first place and what external factors are inciting it in women. Because this concept was introduced in the late 1970s, many factors involving society, racism, and classism were not included. We know that in today’s social climate, there are many biases that we can definitively say play a critical role in this phenomenon.
Many groups were excluded from the original study, specifically women of color and people of various socioeconomic levels. What we have to be cautious about is that imposter syndrome puts the blame on individuals, directing our view toward fixing women themselves rather than fixing the environment around women. It’s also important to differentiate between genuine imposter syndrome and low self-confidence. Just because you feel unsure about your abilities and have some form of biases doesn’t mean that you have this condition. Additionally, researchers found that workplace environments are a major powerhouse in cultivating imposter syndrome in working women. Many times, the competence and contributions of women are invalidated by their male coworkers and superiors. They constantly have to battle with microaggressions and labels of “hysteria” that are outdated and backward in thinking. The original concept of imposter syndrome fails to include this dynamic and deflects the blame of systematic discrimination towards women.
Imposter syndrome has the potential to be a groundbreaking concept, but falls short because of its toxic narrative that’s persisted decade after decade. Rather than focusing on fixing the women with this condition, we must focus on changing the culture so that we can address systemic bias and racism. We need to stop misdiagnosing women with imposter syndrome and get to the root of the issue. This will take time and effort, but it will be worth it.
Tushyan, R. & Burey, J. A. (2021). Stop telling women they have imposter syndrome. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2021/02/stop-telling-women-they-have-imposter-syndrome