The many approaches to organisational misbehaviour: A review, map and research agenda

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    Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to re-map the neglected phenomenon of organisational misbehaviour (misbehaviour) by reflecting the many approaches taken on this emergent field of study, and articulate a revised research agenda.

    Design/methodology/approach - Both preceding and recent empirical and theoretical research papers are discussed and possible overlap and convergence of findings are examined. The discussions mainly surround studies from industrial sociology and organisational behaviour, yet studies from industrial relations and gender studies are also considered. From the re-assessment, a revised map and research agenda for misbehaviour is produced.

    Findings - More research should be directed towards humour and its uses in contemporary organisations, why managers break the rules, the internet as a tool and framework for defiant activities, informal and hidden employee identities as a framework for self-organised misbehaviour, functional misbehaviour and informal strategies used by employees to survive work. Further work is required to unify the field and suggestions are made on how this may be achieved.

    Research limitations/implications - The paper is based on a re-assessment of the extant literature and the findings reflect the broadly problematic matter of reconciling incongruous paradigms.

    Practical implications - The paper puts forward a revised and updated map of organisational misbehaviour. It also offers insights which managers can use to deal with a broad range of misbehaviour conducted within and outwith the workplace.

    Originality/value - The paper provides a new map that goes beyond previous articulations of misbehaviour. The revised research agenda attempts to guide future research on the subject of misbehaviour in a more balanced direction.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number3
    Pages (from-to)653-678
    Number of pages26
    JournalEmployee Relations
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


    • Organisational behaviour
    • Research


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