Positive deviance in the workplace : expanding the boundaires of dissent.




Bowman, Brianna.

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While a strong negative bias towards deviance subsists within society and scholarship, this study provides a theoretical basis and argues for the expansion of deviance as a constructive or positive resource within organizations. The central purpose of the following paper is to integrate positive deviance into the communication discipline as a subset of organizational dissent. For the purposes of this paper, positive deviance is defined as any action exhibited by a member or group of members of an organization that violates or circumvents the stated or implicit will of the encompassing organization, motivated by moral purpose, and lacking any malicious intent toward other members or the organization at large. Towards this end, the present study surveyed 285 working and retired full-time professionals in an effort to measure positive deviance through one of its most basic forms, rule breaking, as well as examine its relationship with both dissent style and personality.