Counterproductive or deviant behaviours in organisations Paper
Counter productive or deviant behaviours in organisations have continued to thrive and having huge financial costs to many businesses. There are various factors that cause work deviance or counterproductive work behaviour (CWB) like lack of trust between manager and employees, unfair treatment, rewards system and the need to revenge after a perceived unjust or unfair treatment. The management has many ways of reducing these deviant behaviours despite their prevalence. The manager should set an example; establish trust, treat workers with respect and dignity and fair compensation systems.
Counterproductive or deviant behaviour in organisations Counterproductive work behaviour can be simply described as the behaviours by members of an organization that counter the Organization’s rightful interests. In other terms counterproductive work behaviour (CWB) can be seen as consisting of deliberate actions by workers that could harm an organization or its stakeholders. CWB can be demonstrated through acts of physical aggression against people or less violent forms conduct like verbal aggression and any other type of maltreatment directed toward individuals.
It includes damage and abuse of organizational possessions or assets, performing work the wrong way, or even failing to inform managers about faults and other job problems for example, a machine failure, and issues of absenteeism for example reporting as sick when not. It also includes acts of violence, deviance reprisal and revenge (Jones, 2009). Organizational or work deviance can be referred to as the employees’ voluntary or calculated behaviours that violate the norms of an institute, and in the end threatening or jeopardising the welfare and interests of an organization and its members at large.
Workplace deviance can group into production, political, property deviance and personal aggression. Production deviance involves violating quality and principles that direct product reliability. It occurs when workers infringe the values of quality and measure when producing a product or a service, for example, wasting resources, or deliberately working at a snail’s pace. Political deviance takes place when employees demonstrate preferential treatment to particular stakeholders, placing others at a disadvantage, for example undercharging preferred customers.
Property deviance is depicted through the destruction or acquisition of the business assets without company consent for example by stealing products or filling expense accounts. Lastly personal aggression entails unfriendly or aggressive behaviour which could harm the reputation of the organisation like having off-putting cost for the targeted customers. It also includes coercion tactics like verbal abuse or sexual harassment (Raven & Rubin 1976).
Work deviance and counterproductive work behaviour can be influenced by a number of issues which could be personal or organisational. The management influences the working conditions, the terms of employment, working hours, means of rewards and payment, the general feelings of the employees through the language that they communicate to them (and in this case abusive supervision), the level of motivation, methods of correction and termination of employment and the level of trust and justice that they demonstrate in the treatment of employees.
Many of the factors emanate from the organizations management despite the fact that there are other factors that influence work deviance or counterproductive work behaviour (Ajzen, I. 1991). The first managerial issue influencing CBW and work deviance is the terms of rewards to the employees. Depending on the organization’s design, reimbursement and remuneration system on several instances can promote employees tendency to have deviant behaviours.
In other cases competition for higher rewards can be basis of employees looking out for themselves and to have the notion that devious actions are necessary to be able to have an upper hand over their co-workers. In organisations where employees’ compensation is partly determined upon by gratuities or commissions or in other cases better employees’ recognition with clientele, can most likely trigger unexpected behaviours that workforce can come up with under the pretext of having a business meeting to achieve the set sales targets and consumer satisfaction.
According to research there are many instances of the association sandwiched between commissions and gratuities and cases of deviance in the workplace. Studies of employees in marketing and sales positions in a number of industries such as real estate, insurance, banking, automobiles, financial service and other sectors whose income is based on commission, indicated high incidences of workplace deviance, ranging from giving false information on meeting quotas, undercharging customers for services offered and overstating expense accounts.
Although to the managers’ main idea behind commission based remuneration is to persuade employees to sell a high level of products and establish high consumer service and fulfilment, workers will engage deviant behaviours to get financially rewarded and at the same time sell and gratify the client (Litzky et al 2006). Another factor that can initiate work deviance is the ambiguity about job performance where there is lack of information on the roles and uncertainty on the expectations of the management which ultimately leads to perceived job stress.
This leads to feeling of ambiguity on how their roles are defined, their responsibilities and expected behaviour in certain situations. The results are negative job responses, low turnover, stress, low job performance and other indications of deviance. This mostly happens to individuals who have limit spanning jobs like accountants, insurance professionals and customer service representatives and in this case when managers pressure employees to do what it takes to satisfy consumers this amounts to job ambiguity, and they may deviate hoping the managers will condone.
At the same time there is direct conflict between management policies and customer satisfaction and the employees are left in a dilemma (Lewicki et al 1998). Another key factor that encourages CWB and deviance is abusive supervision and unfair treatment or organizational injustice. Supervisors and managers who inflict various forms of non-physical hostility to their subordinates like loud outbursts, abusive language, threats, belittling and undermining them cause psychological distress and indisposition to work among employees.
Unfair treatment comes in when employees feel that the rules that have been established to increase efficiency and service quality are unjust and especially if they impede their abilities to do their jobs. Employees can perceive organizational justice in two ways: interpersonal justice that influences the degree to which the organizations treat employees with understanding, respect and dignity and informational justice referring to the apparent sufficiency of explanations managements give about measures and outcomes that have an effect on employees.
If employees perceive injustice of any of the two they may resolve to CWB to diminish their supportive behaviours to evade exploitation (Bennett & Robinson 2000). When managers violate trust in their employees, they are likely to do the exact opposite of the instructions of the manager when he goes out. Some managers think that workers cannot be dependable to act morally or in the top interest of the business. Lack of trust is displayed in incidences like when managers harshly reprimand employees in the face of clients or colleagues and the employee feels humiliated for being scolded in public,.
In such cases the trust existing between the managers and his workers is broken, and collegiality dwindles. Employees feel that their manager could not have confidence in them to perform their jobs appropriately. Trust between employees and the managers is a double-edged sword: the existence of trust can improve the connection and raise performance, however when violated it may also lead to worse cases of deviant behaviours (Edwards & Bagozzi 1998).
The most evident reason for counterproductive or deviant behaviours is revenge directed toward the managers or the management. In an attempt to restore their dignity, employees hit back or discipline the manager even if they will not gain directly from being involved in a deviant behaviour. In most cases connection between alleged injustice and unfairness reflect fundamental desires to revenge. Employees seeking to avenge use CWB as their tool. According to research, some even sacrifice the monetary gain to get an opportunity to castigate the unjust individual.
In such cases employees in an attempt to get back at their supervisor or organization may get involved in activities that increase expense or affects the quality of product or services and general sales (Folger & Cropanzano 1998). Apart from the managerial issues there are factors like the social pressure to conform and emotional or personal status of the employee. Social pressure to conform in organizations where there are organization norms may push members to comply to avoid punishments for non-conformity. In a workplace that exposes employees to undue pressure may push them to deviant behaviours.
In another example where a group of workers for example sales representatives have deemed some deviant behaviours acceptable they will definitely coerce new employees to conform to the same habits, for example cheating in sales (Giacalone & Greenberg 1997). On individual factors some employees may not have emotional stability or they may be going through circumstances or have personal traits that would push them to work deviance. Such factors like low emotional stability, low agreeableness, external locus of control and cynicism are some of the personal traits which can be solved by personal counselling.
Age may at times affect the tendency of individuals engaging in deviant behaviours. Financial pressures may also tempt an employee to get involved in counterproductive or deviant behaviour (Jones, 2009). The management can institute measures that could minimize counterproductive or deviant behaviour. To start with they should provide fair and adequate compensation to employees. Adequate reward system will ensure employee satisfaction and will reduce their chances of wanting to steal from the organization. For example if a pay system involves profit sharing it should done promptly and consistently (Giacalone & Greenberg 1997).
Managers should create an ethical climate through leading by example. The workers perception of their organizations climate influences their tendency of deviant or ethical behaviour. Managers must model ethical behaviours to enable employees to perceive a connection between honesty and success. The personnel manager hired should be of high ethical values. The values of honesty should be set by example themselves because in some instances some practices seem acceptable to the managers and thus employees take it is a norm for example failure to disclose some information when selling a policy to a customer (Bennett & Robinson, 2000).
Organizations should create policies and procedures of rules and rewards regarding counterproductive behaviours. This can be done by adopting and communicating policies that concern the subject. It should as well spell the behaviours and specify the consequences of such actions and information communicated on hiring. There should also be a policy of punishing he offenders to ward off prospective behaviours. However in implementing such policies the organization should not establish surveillance which would portray lack of trust (Jones, 2009).
Managers should establish a trusting relationship with employees based on mutual respect and trust. Managers can employ relational psychology between them and their employees. The kind of psychological agreement that managers build up between their workers will determine their employees’ attitude and behaviour. If employees look at their employers’ confidence as mutual, relational psychological contracts are prone to establish commendable levels of participation and devotion by workers.
Supervision styles that replicate low levels of regulation and high levels of trust motivate employees to conduct themselves responsibly (Litzky et al 2006). Finally, managers should treat employees with respect, trust and dignity, because they will be less likely to be counterproductive if employers are respectful and sensitive to their needs. Related to this, is the attempt to enrich their jobs by increasing job autonomy and increasing their responsibility in decision making. This will show that they are appreciated and respected (Giacalone & Greenberg 1997).
In conclusion, there are various reasons as to why employees have counterproductive and deviant behaviour like stealing, overstating expenses or giving the wrong information on sales among much other behaviour. Most of these are related to the managers and therefore they are still within the control of the management or organization. Therefore managers can reduce such behaviours by treating employees with respect and dignity, setting standards for ethical climate and establishing trust between them and having a fair compensation system. References Ajzen, I.
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