Deviant workplace behavior can have a damaging effect on a company.
Any action that is outside the norm of what is accepted or expected by society is considered deviant. We all have a general understanding of what workplace behavior should be and although people’s opinions may differ, the basic foundation is obvious. In the business environment, when a person acts in a deviant manner, there is an impact on the work environment. There can be many situational and organizational factors which might influence the behaviors and attitudes of employees. Isolated instances can be attributed to personalities or temporary conditions, but when an organization has an unhealthy ethical work climate, deviant behaviors can be overlooked, accepted or even expected.
One theory developed to measure the Ethical Work Climate that has been studied and validated is the Ethical Climate Index (Arnaud, 2010). The ethical work climate is defined as “the subjective reactions of organizational members to the organization” (PSY 533, 2017).
Arnaud’s Ethical Climate Index (ECI) measures the ethical climate by scoring an organization’s Collective Moral Sensitivity, Collective Moral Judgment, Collective Moral Motivation, and Collective Moral Character. The resulting ECI, according to Arnaud’s theory, represents a potential predictor of ethical or unethical behaviors within the organization and can serve as a tool for identifying some specific reasons for these behaviors (Arnaud, 2010).
The desired end-state is to work toward developing a better ethical work climate. The basic idea is that the environment within the organization should not only allow ethical behavior but rather, it should encourage it (PSY 533, 2017). The absence of an ethical climate can be the source of deviant workplace behaviors. Deviant behaviors violate organizational norms and threaten the well-being of a company, its employees, and in many cases, the products and/or services that they provide.
PSY 533. (2017). Unit 05, Lesson 13: Ethical Climate. Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1868786/pages/l13-overview?module_item_id=23063514
Arnaud, A. (2010). Conceptualizing and Measuring Ethical Work Climate: Development and Validation of the Ethical Climate Index. Business & Society, 49(2), 345-358. Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/doi/pdf/10.1177/0007650310362865