Workplace Politics – Deviance

People used to think earlier that Workplace Deviance is a cultural phenomenon and depends on understanding of interpersonal skills alone. However, recent data proves that employees exhibiting deviant behavior come from various organizations and almost all countries. This has changed people’s view towards the way work is managed in organizations worldwide.

Some very common examples of Workplace Deviance are listed below −


Absenteeism is defined as the ratio between the number of unauthorized leaves (employee being absent without informing) and the frequency of such incidents. Experts find a significant link between absenteeism and job dissatisfaction, role conflict (unclear authority), role ambiguity (unclear job description), and feelings of tension. Women are more likely to exhibit the deviant behavior of remaining absent from work than men.

Workplace Abuse

Acts of aggression like display of anger and interpersonal conflict have been linked to workplace abuse. Many times, employees are subject to abuse at the hands of their supervisors because of organizational constraints like steep deadlines, heavy workload, and bad time management.


Workplace bullying is defined as mistreatment of an employee by his supervisors, colleagues, and co-workers. This includes verbal assault, gossiping and spreading rumors. Extreme cases may also include isolating someone from the professional circle. Bullied employees reduce their productivity, quality of output, and increase absenteeism. Many bullied employees quit the organization and sue it later, resulting in financial losses for the company.

Cyber Loafing

Cyber loafing is a time-wasting process where employees keep surfing the Internet, not for any work-related tasks, but for personal use. A recent survey states that 64% of people only in US have admitted to using the Internet for personal gains and completing personal tasks while at work. A 1999 survey held cyber-loafing responsible for a 30-40% decrease in employee productivity, costing US businesses $5.3 billion in just that year.


Workplace incivility is treating others disrespectfully and rudely. It can be caused due to an unhealthy competitive spirit, withdrawal, and inept social skills. However, majority of incivility has been linked with lower job satisfaction, lesser agreeable co-workers, and violation of workplace norms for employee respect.


Lateness is the action of deliberate arriving late at work and early leaving. Lateness has cost more than $3 billion dollars annually in US alone. The reason behind lateness is reduced efficiency and output. Employees who arrive late at work keep others waiting for approval or delay team targets. Cases of employees deliberately being late to work and early to leave are established cases of workplace deviance.

Substance Abuse

Deviant behavior also involves employees engaging in substance abuse at work which causes lesser attendance, lower performance, compromising on safety and can lead to other injuries both for that particular employee and his co-workers.


Unsatisfied employees withdraw in order to avoid work tasks or pain, and remove themselves from their jobs. Withdrawal behavior may be explained as employee retaliation against inequity in the work setting. Withdrawal may also relate to job dissatisfaction, job involvement, and organizational commitment.

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