Sample Essay On Organizational ‘dark Side’

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Workplace, Organization, Behavior, Employee, Management, Employment, Journal, Violence

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2021/03/21

(By) Name


Over the past decade a number of researchers and scholars have dedicated their time in studying how bad behavior affects organizations. There is enough literature discussing the different varieties of bad behavior in organizations. In this context, bad behavior is used to refer to intentional behaviors by an employee or employees that may be detrimental to the individual employee, other employees or the entire organization. Knowledge about the consequences of bad behavior in organizations is of high significance to both employees and managers. This study looks at some of the main issues that cause employees to behave in certain ways and how it affects their colleagues and the entire organization. Further examples such as physical violence, theft, verbal abuse, political wars and sabotage are discussed in the paper. By looking at past literature and making recommendations, this study will benefit managers and employees on how to avoid dark side organizations in the modern world.
The dark side of organization behavior entails a lot of facets. Many definitions have been suggested by scholars trying to address this issue (Linstead, Marechal and Griffin, 2014). It involves all the negative consequences of organizational behavior and how it impacts on other employees and the organization in general. Organizational misbehavior refers to anything that an employee does, which they are not supposed to do at the workplace. Meanwhile contests between employees and employers over different matters such as time, products, identity and work may also lead to a dark side within organizations. In organizational behavior, dark sides are viewed as negative and destructive phenomena since they affect the performance of the organization toward its objectives.
For instance, political wars between two managers seeking to get a promotion will result in misbehavior. Such responds to a slow workforce and poor results in the short run. Similarly, the managers will eventually start back biting each other (Griffin, 2005). The consequence is not only portrayed in the end term results of the business, but also the general morale of employees. In other words, the ‘dark side’ of organizational behavior does not happen out there but rather it is a rooted disease that kills the organization slowly and furiously. The perpetrator, his colleagues and the entire organization will be affected simultaneously.


When and Why Misbehavior Occurs in Organizations
Workplace deviance occurs when a member of the organization voluntarily violates workplace norms and thus threatens the general wellbeing of self, other members of the organization and the entire organization. This departure from norms occurs when an individual has personal interests and thus feels like they do not have to follow the set rules as per the organizational culture of their workplace (Bellot, 2011). While workplace deviance can be constructive, of particular importance is the destructive deviance that seeks to break the well being of the organization through negative means. From this we prove that bad behavior is voluntary and aims to break mutual arrangements of the employee and their colleagues which then lead to organizational failures.
Another observation is workplace aggression which is a relatively new field in studies related to organizational behavior. This perspective has a substantial intellectual heritage as it stands. It involves all forms of behavior that one member portrays in trying to harm others in the organization. Workplace aggression can either be verbal aggression, overt aggression, covert aggression obstructionism or violence at the work place (De Schrijver et al., 2010). Further, employees may have bad behavior due to their own antisocial natures. Anti social behavior is the opposite of pro- social behavior and includes all behaviors by an insider intended to harm or purports to harm other employees, the organization or its stakeholders.

Consequences of Bad Behavior and Who Takes Responsibility

Dire consequences will be observed if bad behaviors are not contained, especially immediately when noticed. First the perpetrator of the bad behavior will have a successful opportunity in enacting the intended behavior until it succeeds. In most cases, successful enactment will be very costly for the actor, other employees and the organization. For instance, if the intention of an employee is to kill a particular employee, discovery of such behavior may have severe repercussions, let alone the action itself. Prior disarmament before the killing takes place will have consequences on the actor, intended target and the reputation of the organization.
Several groups of interest must own up the responsibility of bad behaviors in an organization. Researchers are not left out in this (Richards, 2008).
Very little work has been done in this field and human resource professionals have very little knowledge of this concept. On the other hand, human resource managers must ensure they observe trends and deviations from original organizational culture. Prior and extensive background checks on employees might be very beneficial in curbing misbehavior in the future. Job security might also be an issue for concern as several misbehaviors result from informal survival strategies by the actors (PRICE, 2007). The perpetrators may need to remove a competition, get through a working day or get rid of monotony and this may amount to serious misbehavior.

Role of Managers in Eliminating a Dark Side

Although employees are also responsible for misbehavior in organizations it is the role of the managers to ensure such problems are eliminated and a dark side situation contained. Since misbehavior is costly and affects the entire organization’s performance, managers should be responsible to act, solve and correct problems (Ferguson, 2011). A workable approach is developing a communication policy strictly for organizational reasons. Reports should be acted upon with reasonable fairness and use of common sense. Further, managers should not intrude into the private lives of employees off the job. This may actually aggravate the situation and make it worse. Selective hiring based on backgrounds may work best for the managers.
Organization misbehavior takes place within an organization and managers must ensure their workplaces to not depict any signs of a dark side. They must have transparent dealings and open minded discussions when making conclusions (Elsbach, 2003). Avoiding the dark side of organizations helps save on costs and performance. On the other hand consequences to other employees and the entire organization will be protected.


In this article two different perspective of organizational misbehavior have been discussed. First, the whole concept of misbehavior and second the dark side of organizations. Misbehavior may occur in vey many ways including arson, fraud, theft, intimidation, threats, cheating, violence, sexual harassment among others. They include all behavior intended to harm another employee or the organization. Misbehavior will occur either due to workplace aggression, workplace deviance or simply anti- social behavior by the employees. The consequences are very fatal and may cost the organization in terms of performance, reputation or even finances. Managers must take responsibility to ensure problems are solved amicably and with fairness without which problems will increase into an organizational dark side. Although organizational misbehavior studies have not had a lot of attention, managers and stakeholders will find this article very helpful in solving problems and ensuring success in management.


Bellot, J. (2011). Defining and Assessing Organizational Culture. Journal of the Nursing Forum, 46(1), pp.29-37.
De Schrijver, A., Delbeke, K., Maesschalck, J. and Pleysier, S. (2010). Fairness Perceptions and Organizational Misbehavior: An Empirical Study. Journal of the American Review of Public Administration, 40(6), pp.691-703.
Elsbach, K. (2003). ORGANIZATIONAL PERCEPTION MANAGEMENT.  Journal of Research in Organizational Behavior, 25, pp.297-332.
Ferguson, M. (2011). From Bad to Worse: A Social Contagion Model of Organizational Misbehavior. SSRN Journal.
Griffin, R. (2005). "Bad Behavior" in Organizations: A Review and Typology for Future Research. Journal of Management, 31(6), pp.988-1005.
Linstead, S., Marechal, G. and Griffin, R. (2014). Theorizing and Researching the Dark Side of Organization. Organization Studies, 35(2), pp.165-188.
PRICE, R. (2007). Infusing Innovation into Corporate Culture. Journal of Organizational Dynamics, 36(3), pp.320-328.
Richards, J. (2008). The many approaches to organizational misbehavior. Journal of Employee Relations, 30(6), pp.653-678.

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