Review Of Literature on Personality and Workplace Deviance

Workplace Deviant Behavior is outlined as acts that hurt the organization further as well as employees operating in it. The foremost well researched work deviant behavior examples would be absence from work, theft,  sabotage, drug usage, explicit acts of aggression etc.




According to Robinson and Bennett (1995), workplace deviant behaviors are voluntary behaviors of employees that violate company norms, policies, or rules which have a negative impact on both the well-being of both the organization as well as its members. Once directed towards individual staff, it's within the kind of creating fun of others, enjoying mean pranks, acting impolitely, engaging in conflicts etc.


Studies have known that factors like job stressors, organizational frustration, lack of management over the work atmosphere, weak sanctions for rule violations etc are the causes of work place deviance. 


Studies have conjointly shown that socialization and impulsivity constructs are also responsible for work deviant behaviors. Employees with high asocial temperament show less social maturity, integrity, and morality and are typically perceived as rebellious, unhappy, and defensive. Employees with this temperament tend to resist rules and laws. (Gough and Peterson, 1952)



Employees high in socialization on the opposite hand are kind, dependable, well-balanced, patient etc. Analysis of Collins and Griffin (1998), conjointly found a relationship between socialization with thievery and disciplinary issues.


Impulsivity, on the opposite hand, is that the tendency to act with very little forethought on the implications of one's actions. Employees who are high on impulsivity are characterized as rash, reckless, incautious etc. Impulsive people/employees also act on the spur of the moment and freely express their emotions.


Employee’s whose evaluations are lower on measures of impulsivity are thought to be non-indulgent and are able to manage their emotions (Megargee, 1972). Gottfredson and Hirschi (1993) have concerned impulsivity with deviant behaviors like drug use, theft, work violence, and employment instability.

For the aim of hiring, several organizations have spent several resources in its plan to ascertain work place deviance. The deviant behaviors at work place are possible to be subjected to employee’s temperament (personality) traits rather than ability-related factors as employees make conscious choices regarding whether they wish to or not wish to indulge in deviant behaviors.


The Five Factor Model (FFM) is the most widely known and used model in industrial psychology as an empirically supported personality measure. The dimensions of factors of personality consist of:

1. Agreeableness may be categorized as a personality where people are compassionate. They like to cooperate together. They don’t prefer to be suspicious and don't like to produce hostility with each other. This trait is more indicative of individual differences in their concern for creating social harmonization. Such types of people are nice, easy-going with others, caring, friendly, optimistic, generous, etc. (Rothmann and Coetzer, 2013).



2. Extraversion is characterized as a personality where people exhibit positive emotions. People who are high on their social skills tend to be assured, dominant, active, happy and really interactive.



3. Conscientiousness is characterized as a personality where people exhibit self-discipline, obedience, and who aim to achieve higher than expectations. This trait emphasizes action that is always planned rather than spontaneous action.



4. Neuroticism is characterized as a personality which is related to people’s emotional stability. The person having high neuroticism exhibits negative emotions such as irritability, easily anxiety etc.


5. Openness to experience is characterized as a personality where people are artistic, creative, and imaginative and take interests in new things as a result of their curiosity.


Layth et al (2016) solely found traits of agreeableness and conscientiousness as those traits which don’t have any significant negative impact on counterproductive behavior. An online survey at a project management practice firm in Singapore was conducted by Santos and Eger (2014). They found extraversion to be the legitimate factor for forecasting interpersonal and organizational deviance and not agreeableness and conscientiousness. One can observe that there is an inconsistency of predictors to workplace. 

Layth and Zulkarnain (2016) found that emotional stability (opposite of neuroticism) had an inverse relationship to work place deviance and has positive and significant effects on counterproductive work behavior.                                                                                           

As outlined by Salovey and Mayer (1990), Emotional Intelligence is a subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to observe one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to differentiate among them and then using this data to know, introspect and guide one's own thoughts and actions. Thus, emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions.


Emotional intelligence allows people to develop a construct referred to as “learned optimism”, the causative attributions people create once they are confronted with failure or setbacks. Another facet of emotional intelligence is that it allows people to manage feelings and handle stress.

Barsade and Gibson (1998) claim that managers having the ability to infect a work group with their good and smart emotions and feelings can lead to improved cooperation, fairness, and overall group performance. Empathy is additionally a very important facet of emotional intelligence. Researchers have familiarity for years that it contributes to occupational and organizational success.


Through training sessions, employees can be taught and trained to use such techniques and methods that can help to strengthen their social skills, build assertiveness etc, which could help them achieved more adaptive behavior which would further reduce their deviant behaviors at workplace and enable the employees to excel on the professional front.


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