Skip to 0 minutes and 10 secondsI feel that organisational misbehaviour is quite a subjective subject in its own right and an example of where we have had to deal with say individuals that we perceive are misbehaving and that could be an example of poor attendance etc. It is how we deal with that, what’s the process we go through to ensure that we are addressing it effectively both for the organisation and for the individual.

Skip to 0 minutes and 41 secondsSo, if an individual is not attending work regularly one of the first things I would do is go and talk to the people that are working with that individual on a day to day basis, so they could be involved in the same project or they’re just in the same locality, they might have tuned into something that’s not quite right. From that point if there is something that’s not quite right I would possibly have to start the process off by having an informal conversation with the individual to see what’s going wrong. It could be a personal issue, it could be a professional issue, we don’t know at that stage.

Skip to 1 minute and 17 secondsAnd from that point onwards, you know, we may have to go into sort of a more formal process of dealing what the issue is. They could be going through some mental health issues or issues at home and ultimately some people might have their own agenda, they might feel that their psychological contract has been breached and then they are like a bad apple within your team and they can be disruptive and talking about organisational misbehaviour and its about trying to nip that in the bud before it progresses. If it’s a personal issue that person might need some time. It could be that we need to put some kind of support mechanism or help in place.

Skip to 2 minutes and 5 secondsBut on the flip side if that person is actually poor attending, we may have to go down the more formal route of clearly identifying the times that person isn’t attending so starting to gather evidence. We would do that as a background task and then from that point onwards if it continues through a period of time, so in that period of time we would expect to have further conversations with that individual. If it persists then the ultimate route is to start to make things more formal and potentially disciplinary. Throughout my experience the most important aspect of organisational misbehaviour, how to deal with that appropriately is having robust policies and procedures.

Skip to 2 minutes and 51 secondsHaving support from ACAS is key, looking at their guidance and support and actually going to an Employment Tribunal. I have been in an Employment Tribunal myself for unfair dismissal and it is quite an experience to be cross-examined when things have gone wrong so my advice if you are interested in becoming a manager is go to an Employment Tribunal, so you can have a look at the aspects of that environment. And listen to your employees. If you treat them how you expect to be treated, you won’t go far wrong and its all about that psychological contract with an employee and knowing the warning signs.

The role of managers

What is the role of managers in addressing the issue of misbehaviour?

Should managers just focus on responding to issues of misbehaviour as they occur, or should they try to prevent misbehaviour from occurring, which means starting during the recruitment and selection process?

Within academia and practice, the debate is ongoing as to whether organisations and managers should focus their effort on responsive or preventive activities.

Watch the video in which line managers share their experiences on how they have dealt with misbehaviour at work.

Other ways that managers and organisations could handle or prevent misbehaviour include:

  • screening potential employees
  • informative training on acceptable and unacceptable behaviours
  • creating a code of conduct
  • leading by example

Your task

Having watched the video of line managers talking about their role in addressing organisational misbehaviour, what are some of the key messages you have picked up?

What do you think the role of a line manager is and what course of action would you take to manage, prevent, control or respond to misbehaviour that occurs in the workplace?

You may like to draw examples from your own experiences.


Don’t forget to capture your thinking in your learning log or portfolio.


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This video is from the free online course:

An Introduction to Organisational Behaviour: How to Understand Your People

Coventry University