The behavioral benefits of other people’s deviance

Brian C. Gunia, Sun Young Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Employees who violate significant organizational norms are organizational deviants engaged in organizational deviance. Yet, few acts of organizational deviance involve all members of an organization; in many cases, many people are uninvolved. The current research examined the responses of the nondeviant actors. Several literatures led us to predict that organizational deviance would cause nondeviants to experience cognitive dissonance, especially its vicarious form, and redouble their own work effort in response. Yet, we also predicted that low levels of identification with the deviant actors would weaken this effect. Three studies with multiple samples and methods supported these predictions, showing that nondeviants experience deviants’ dissonance and increase their own work effort, but only when more rather than less identified with deviants. In addition to extending and connecting theories of deviance and dissonance, these findings suggest that organizational deviance may have unexpected benefits for groups and organizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)653-675
Number of pages23
JournalGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • deviance
  • dissonance
  • effort
  • identification
  • vicarious

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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