Seeing the Shadow of the Self: Studies on Workplace Deviance Defended on Friday, 12 December 2008

Why do good people do bad things? The assumption that underlies the research presented in this dissertation is that only some of those who engage in workplace deviance are individuals of dubious morality, and that most of the workplace deviants are good people who are merely trying to make a living. What then drives these people to engage in deviance? The research presented in this dissertation answers this question. Three studies delve into the processes that underlie especially collective forms of deviance that are committed out of other reasons than monetary gain seeking. Each study does so from a different perspective. The first study examines intra-individual drives that unconsciously entice people to commit deviance. The second study advances managerial practices that coerce people into committing deviance, and the third study examines forces in the social context that have that same result. The findings suggest that good people indeed have a shady side capable of doing bad things for the sole reason of doing a good job, earning a living and leading a happy life. This dissertation adds to the growing body of research that focuses on the processes underlying the development of deviance in organizations. It also informs management about how to better prevent workplace deviance.


deviance, behavioral business ethics, status, self, sensebreaking, sensegiving, institutional theory, organizational processes, qualitative research

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