Published: September 11, 2009
It was a topic that intrigued University of Tampa student Dana Robbins
’10. Deviance in the workplace was something on which she hadn’t found
much research and the issue, introduced by UT professor Bella Galperin,
inspired Robbins to action.
An honors student, she decided to up
the ante of Galperin’s management class by implementing an honors
tutorial. Galperin, who had spent years studying workplace deviance,
said she was excited to help foster the interest, research and
presentation skills of one of her students.
“I was lucky in my
academic career in that I had a lot of mentors,” said Galperin, an
associate professor of management, who helped Robbins write
“Constructive Deviance: Striving Toward Organizational Change.” The two
will be presenting their paper at the Orlando conference of the Academic
and Business Research Institute in September.
In a presentation
at the Academy of Management Conference in early August, Galperin
argued that employees who fail to follow the organizational norms can be
the roots of successful innovations and champions of change. Defined as
voluntary behavior that violates organizational norms and can threaten
the well-being of an organization, Galperin says that workplace deviance
can be used for the good of the organization and that those engaging in
the negative behavior may also be engaging in the positive.
took Galperin’s research and applied it to a healthcare setting. She
has a part-time job at the Pasco Regional Medical Center as a
receptionist and admitting clerk and found the environment perfect for
testing her proposal: that emotional intelligence, empathy, trust and
extroversion all lead to positive deviance by physicians in the
“Some doctors really go out of their way
for some patients, breaking the emotional distance that is
recommended,” said Robbins, a management major. “I found that the
doctors in our hospital that were favored and had the highest rating
were those who break the norm because they make a connection with the
patient, going the extra distance for them; however, the organization as
a whole benefits.”
Opportunities such as this collaboration
with Galperin are the benefit of small classes and a community
environment, said Robbins, who transferred to UT last year.
bigger schools, you’re one of 400 or 500 in the class. You don’t get the
opportunity to talk one-on-one with your professors,” Robbins said.
“Here, the professors know your name.“