Positive deviance and leadership: An exploratory field study

Mertens, Willem & Recker, Jan C. (2017) Positive deviance and leadership: An exploratory field study. In 50th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HISCC 2017), January 4-7, 2017, Hilton Waikoloa Village, Hawaii.


Positive deviance refers to behavior that deviates from the norms of the reference group and has positive effects on the organization. It is an endogenous source of organizational creativity that has been shown to be powerful tool for learning and change. Despite growing interest, little remains known about the factors that stimulate positive deviance; in particular, how management can enable its emergence. In this paper, we explore the relationship between leadership and positive deviance through a conversion mixed methods field study of two hierarchical layers of store management in a large Australian retailer. Our findings indicate that management can best enable the emergence of positive deviance by combining empowering leadership behaviors with adequate levels of contingent reward and monitoring behaviors. These findings suggest that, depending on the frame of reference, positive deviance may emerge as a source for innovation that is endogenous to routines, rather than deviance from routines.

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ID Code: 98667
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Positive Deviance, Innovation, Empowerment, Leadership, Mixed Methods
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2017 [Please consult the author]
Deposited On: 06 Sep 2016 23:38
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2017 05:14

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