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Deviant and Criminal Behavior in the Workplace

Steven M. Elias

Publication Year: 2013

Workplace crimes are never far from the news. From major scandals like Enron to violent crimes committed by co-workers to petty theft of office supplies, deviant and criminal behavior is common in the workplace. Psychological factors are almost always involved when an employee engages in such behavior.
Deviant and Criminal Behavior in the Workplace offers insights at the level of the individual employee and also sheds light on the role organizations themselves may play in fostering such criminal behavior. The volume considers psychological factors involved in theft and fraud, workplace violence, employee discrimination, and sexual harassment. It also analyses a number of variables which can influence such behavior including employee personality, employee emotional processes, experience of occupational stress, organizational culture, organizational injustice, and human resource management practices. The book will be of core interest to those interested in the psychology and sociology of work, organizational behavior, and human resource management.

Published by: NYU Press


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pp. 1-3

Title Page

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pp. 4-7


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xi

Several years ago, Allen K. Hess contacted me and asked if I would be interested in editing a book on deviant workplace behavior. Allen, up until his untimely death in 2010, was the Psychology & Crime Series editor for NYU Press. How important a topic is deviant workplace behavior? All one need do is turn on the evening news or read a local newspaper to be reminded...

Part I: Introduction

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pp. 1-16

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1. Conceptual Foundations: Insights from Criminology and the Sociology of Work

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pp. 3-16

In a review of literature on crime and the workplace in 1999, we noted that “Neither crime at the workplace nor crime generated by workplace experiences has received much attention in criminology” (Jensen & Hodson, 1999). Assessments since that time have yielded similar conclusions. Based on a citation analysis, David Shichor (2009, 175) reports an...

Part II: Employee Characteristics Associated with Deviant Workplace Behavior

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pp. 17-98

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2. Emotions and Deviance

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pp. 19-49

In this chapter, we discuss the nexus of emotion and workplace deviance. Consistent with Robinson and Bennett (1995), we define workplace deviance as a form of behavior that violates organizational norms and that consequently negatively impacts the well-being of the organization and its members. In fact...

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3. Born to Be Deviant? An Examination of the Relationship between Workplace Deviance and Employee Personality

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pp. 50-76

Researchers and managers alike have sought for decades to reduce the occurrence of detrimental employee behaviors like theft, unexcused absences or tardiness, sabotage, violence, property destruction, physical assault, on-the-job alcohol or drug use, social undermining, and rudeness. Identifying the antecedents of such behaviors is important because they can impact...

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4. The Role of Occupational Stress in Workplace Deviance

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pp. 77-98

Occupational stress is a serious issue for employees and organizations alike. At the employee level, occupational stress is associated with a range of physical and psychological health problems, including chronic illness and disease. Furthermore, there is increasing consensus that occupational stress is related to both short-term and...

Part III: Organizational Influences on Deviant Workplace Behavior

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pp. 99-113

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5. Accounting in Organizational Environments: Contextualizing Rules and Fraud

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pp. 101-127

Merely say the name WorldCom or Enron and most individuals will respond with a grimace. These once respected companies are known today as mere commonplace names that symbolize fraud and deception. While less known than WorldCom and Enron, numerous other cases of widely reported corporate fraud and misconduct exist, involving...

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6. Human Resource Management and Deviant/Criminal Behavior in Organizations

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pp. 128-151

Human resource management (HRM) emerged as a profession, formally recognized in work organizations, about a century ago. It is generally agreed that since emerging as an organizational function, HRM has evolved through a variety of approaches, starting as an administrative discipline and eventually becoming a potential strategic partner to top management...

Part IV: The Role of (In)Justice and Social Power in Deviant Workplace Behavior

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pp. 153-194

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7. Hazards of Justice: Egocentric Bias, Moral Judgments, and Revenge-Seeking

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pp. 155-177

Research has long documented a relationship between workplace fairness and organizational deviance. When individuals are treated unjustly, they tend to retaliate by harming others (for reviews, see Folger, 1993; Folger & Baron, 1996; Tripp & Bies, 2009). This can have pernicious effects on organizations. In one study...

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8. The Role of Social Power in Sexual Harassment and Job Discrimination

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pp. 178-194

Instances of sexual harassment are all too common in the workplace (see Chamberlain et al., 2008). Jokes with sexual content, whistling at a woman in a skirt, and soliciting favors of a sexual nature are just a handful of instances where one employee is inappropriately exercising power over another employee. Because of the wide range of behaviors that can fall into the...

Part V: Violence in the Workplace

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pp. 195-246

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9. When Employees Turn Violent: The Potential Role of Workplace Culture in Triggering Deviant Behavior

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pp. 197-220

Unfortunately, tragedies such as these are not uncommon in the least. According to recent statistics, an employee is killed at a U.S. workplace by a current or former co-worker an average of once each week. In addition, another twenty-five are seriously injured by violent assaults. Overall, some two million U.S. workers are victims of some form of workplace violence...

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10. Workplace Violence: Prevention and Aftermath

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pp. 221-246

Violence has become all too common in our workplaces. These tragic outbursts of mayhem have disparate causes and involve innumerable types of disputes. However, all events of workplace violence share two distressing features: they cause tremendous pain and anguish to the workplace involved and they contribute to a broader environment...

About the Contributors

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pp. 247-253


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pp. 255-259

E-ISBN-13: 9780814722626
E-ISBN-10: 0814722601
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814722602
Print-ISBN-10: 0814722601

Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2013