Into darkness: A study of deviance in Star Trek

Furneaux, Jonathan & Furneaux, Craig W. (2014) Into darkness: A study of deviance in Star Trek. Research in Ethical Issues in Organizations, 11, pp. 103-129.

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The purpose of this chapter is to analyse the deviant behaviour of individuals in organisations. Deviants are those who depart from organisational norms. A typology of perceived deviant behaviour is developed from the deviance literature, and subsequently tested.


Star Trek: Into Darkness text is qualitatively analysed as a data source. Three different character arcs are analysed in relation to organisational deviance. Starfleet is the specific, fictional, organisational context.


We found that the typology of deviance is conceptually robust, and facilitates categorisation of different types of deviant behaviour, over time.

Research limitations/implications

Deviance is socially ascribed; so better categorisation of such behaviour improves our understanding of how specific behaviour might deviate from organisational norms, and how different behaviours can mean individuals can be viewed positively or negatively over time.

Further research might determine management responses to the different forms of deviance, and unpack the processes where individuals eschew ‘averageness’ and become deviants.

Practical implications

The typology advanced has descriptive validity to describe deviant behaviour.

Social implications

Social institutions such as organisations ascribe individual deviants, both negatively and positively.


This chapter extends our understanding of positive and negative deviance in organisations by developing a new typology of deviant behaviour. This typology has descriptive validity in understanding deviant behaviour. Our understanding of both positive and negative deviance in organisational contexts is enhanced, as well as the utility of science fiction literature in ethical analysis.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 78086
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Organizational ethics, deviance, typology, science fiction, Star Trek, qualitative analysis
DOI: 10.1108/S1529-209620140000011005
ISBN: 9781783509492
ISSN: 1529-2096
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Organisation and Management Theory (150310)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Accountancy
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Deposited On: 28 Oct 2014 23:41
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2016 00:26

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