Self-confessed troublemakers: An interactionist view of deviance during organizational change

Melanie Bryant, Vaughan Higgins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This article provides an alternative lens for examining organizational deviance within the specific context of change, by drawing upon an interactionist approach. We focus specifically on labelling theory and argue that definitions of deviance can be constructed through social interaction regardless of the behaviour in which individuals engage. This study differs from current literature by shifting emphasis away from acts of norm-breaking and on to the social circumstances in which individuals might define others, or come to be defined, as deviant. The application of labelling theory can advance understanding of how individuals, within the context of organizational change, might come to be defined as deviant without changing their behaviour or engaging in specific norm violations. This approach also enables researchers to contribute to discussions surrounding the construction of organizational norms and explore whether these are developed and enforced by those in powerful positions on the basis of their own values and morals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-277
Number of pages29
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010

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