Work EthicsDeviant Workplace Behaviors

Deviant Workplace Behaviors


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Deviant Workplace Behaviors

Workplace deviance occurs for many reasons. Perhaps an employee feels slighted, is in financial trouble or is jealous of a co-worker’s success. She might spread untrue gossip or resort to illegal activity for her personal gain. When this happens, the office culture is affected and workers feel disrespected, unappreciated and anxious. The result is slowed productivity and, possibly, a loss of business.



Gossiping about company procedures, peers, bosses or any situation is considered a deviant workplace behavior. According to Beth Weissenberger, CEO and Co-Founder of New York-based The Handel Group, gossip slows productivity and creates bad morale. Resentment among co-workers and departments ensues and communication stops. Gossip ceases when people refuse to listen, stop spreading rumors themselves and encourage others to go to the appropriate person and address situations head-on.


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Disrespect to peers, clients and supervisors comes in many forms. For example, an employee might purposely make loud personal phone calls for attention or get upset often over small issues that could otherwise be worked out. Or maybe someone in the office feels entitled to view or use other people’s work documents or supplies without asking permission. The result of such deviant behavior slows work flow and destroys employee trust.

Bad Management Styles


A deviant management team might continuously impose impossible deadlines or expect completed projects without the proper support. The deviance happens because the boss knows what he is demanding is threatening to the employee’s success, but continues to follow out his request. In addition, a deviant boss is one who intimidates, withholds information, harasses, or uses personal aggression to embarrass or humiliate an employee.

Stealing and Lying

Workplace stealing and lying creates anxiety and destroys trust among co-workers. This can happen when someone takes credit for another employee’s sale or idea, or when an employee decides to physically steal property. At the very least, people who display this kind of deviant behavior are no longer trusted with confidential information or employee property and, sometimes, get in trouble with the law.

Tardiness and Absenses

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Being consistently late for work, tardy for meetings or not showing up at all shows disrespect for co-workers, clients and the business at hand. People who lack workplace commitment make more work for others, fall behind in assignments, and become a reason for missed deadlines or lost business.



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