Sub-theme 68: Workplace Deviance and Cyber Deviance ---> MERGED with sub-theme 40


Call for Papers

Workplace deviance has been a cause of about 30% of business failure and a loss of billions of dollars per year over a decade, threatening the well-being of organizations and employees (Bennett et al., 2018). In addition to these direct costs, there are indirect costs stemming from lawsuits and diminished brand image, consumer loyalty, and trust. We consider deviant practices as voluntary behavior by employees that has a negative impact on an organization or on employees (Bennett & Robinson, 2000). The advent of new technologies that push employees to spend more time online has relaunched the interest in this area of research. Given the prominent increase of employees working online, new “online” forms of workplace deviance have appeared, known as “cyberdeviance”.
This sub-theme aims to explore and understand the current stage of workplace deviance (offline) and cyberdeviance (online). It is particularly relevant now given the increased level of “remote working” over the past few years, and its rising popularity along with an inclination to remain part of the working conditions after the pandemic (Willcocks, 2020), which has pushed to redefine what workplace deviance is and, in particular, the opportunity to explore cyberdeviance.
Cyberdeviance is a large umbrella term capturing a wide range of technology-related behaviours that are contrary to the explicit and implicit norms of the organization (Venkatraman et al., 2018). They range from web surfing and surfing time, playing online games to more serious forms of whistle-blowing about the company electronically, hacking and unauthorized entry into co-workers’ computers, etc. (Kuo et al., 2018). Such behaviours may be uncritically bracketed together as negative by instating a boundary separating legitimate from invalid utterances (Kenny, 2018). Individuals also engage in particular types of behaviour in response to the different ties and pressures that may pull them in different directions: towards the organizational agenda, their ties with peers and their perceived duties to clients and other stakeholders. Perhaps linked to a general lacuna in understanding employees’ experiences of deviance at work, organizational discourses tend to paint deviance in simplified and stereotypical ways as negative and self-serving behaviours (Bryant & Higgins, 2010).
However, there have been instances of rule-breaking behaviours that deviate from organizational norms including ‘breaking rules in order to solve clients’ problem’ or ‘disobeying managerial orders in order to improve organizational processes’ and have increased organizational learning, creativity and innovation, in periods of rapid organizational change (Bodankin & Tziner, 2009). Most studies tend to focus on ‘the most likely scenario or outcome for most people’ (Singhal & Bjurström, 2015: 5) but ignore the reflexivity and innovativeness of agents, their agency and space to act ‘otherwise’ and to find a different organizational solution by acting as a deviant be it negative or positive. Perhaps, workplace deviance has a broader meaning which is characterized by other interconnected dimensions such as social context, group norms and team dynamics (Götz et al., 2019; Palmer & Moore, 2016).
This sub-theme aims to bring a different school of thought together in order to consolidate and renew this area of investigation. The sub-theme accepts submissions that either enhance our understanding of workplace deviance and cyberdeviance with focus on the relational aspect of deviance at different levels of analysis: the organizational level, individual/employee level (ties with peers and other stakeholders).
Submission can cover, but are not limited to the following questions:

  • Are existing conceptualisation and definitions of deviance and cyberdeviance clear? How do we make sense of deviance/cyberdeviance at work? Is there an overlap with existing nomological networks?

  • What are the different boundary conditions that shape deviance/cyberdeviance at work?

  • How can deviance/cyberdeviance be positive? What are the different instances it can be considered to be positive?

  • What are the consequences of involving in deviance/cyberdeviance for individuals, organization and industry? How are they connected?

  • What is the role/impact of social context, group norms and team dynamics on deviance/cyberdeviance?

  • How did the Covid pandemic influence our conceptualization and dynamics of workplace deviance and cyberdeviance?

More generally, the sub-theme welcomes theoretical, conceptual, review, comparative and empirical studies, in addition to papers making use of different research methodology that shed new light on new ideas in the area of workplace deviance and cyberdeviance at any level of analysis.
The sub-theme is connected to the overall Colloquium theme through the concept of deviance. A better understanding of the definition, antecedents, and consequences of deviance and cyberdeviance by individuals in fact, can help to determine the different boundary conditions involved in making decisions regarding deviance.


  • Bennett, R.J., & Robinson, S.L. (2000): “Development of a measure of workplace deviance.” Journal of Applied Psychology, 85 (3), 349–360.
  • Bennett, R., Marasi, S., & Locklear, L. (2018): “Workplace Deviance.” In: Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Business and Management , 1st edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Bodankin, M., & Tziner, A. (2009): “Constructive deviance, destructive deviance and personality: how do they interrelate?” Amfiteatru Economic Journal, 11 (26), 549–564.
  • Bryant, M., & Higgins, V. (2010): “Self-confessed troublemakers: An interactionist view of deviance during organizational change.” Human Relations, 63 (2), 249–277.
  • Götz, M., Bollmann, G., & O’Boyle, E.H. (2019): “Contextual undertow of workplace deviance by and within units: A systematic review.” Small Group Research, 50 (1), 39–80.
  • Kenny, K. (2018): “Censored: Whistleblowers and impossible speech.” Human Relations, 71 (8), 1025–1048.
  • Kuo, C.C., Wu, C.Y., & Lin, C.W. (2018): “Supervisor workplace gossip and its impact on employees.” Journal of Managerial Psychology, 33 (1), 93–105.
  • Palmer, D., & Moore, C., (2016): “Social networks and organizational wrongdoing in context.” In: D. Palmer, K. Smith-Crowe & R. Greenwood (eds.): Organizational Wrongdoing: Key Perspectives and New Directions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 203–234.
  • Singhal, A., & Bjurström, E. (2015): “Reframing the practice of social research: Solving complex problems by valuing positive deviations.” International Journal of Communication and Social Research, 3 (1), 1–12.
  • Venkatraman, S., Cheung, C.M.K., Lee, Z.W., Davis, F.D., & Venkatesh, V. (2018): “The ‘Darth’ side of technology use: An inductively derived typology of cyberdeviance.” Journal of Management Information Systems, 35 (4), 1060–1091.
  • Willcocks, L.P. (2020): “Remote working: here to stay?” LSE Business Review, accessed from: