1st Edition

How Groups Encourage Misbehavior

By Kevin Murphy Copyright 2021
    408 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    408 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    How Groups Encourage Misbehavior explores the psychological and social processes by which groups develop a tolerance for and even encourage misbehavior. Drawing from decades of research on social, cognitive and organizational psychology, as well as a deep well of historical research, this book shows how commitment to groups, organizations and movements can turn moral individuals into amoral agents.

    Pulling together what have been traditionally distinct areas of study, How Groups Encourage Misbehavior provides a detailed and unified account of how good organizations go bad and how groups of all types can push otherwise honest and upright individuals to behave in ways that violate laws and social norms. This text describes how social norms, rationalization, the characteristics of formal and informal groups, attachment to groups and organizations, and the structure of organizational life can all contribute to misbehavior. Each chapter includes one or more sidebar discussions of relevant and interesting examples to illustrate the ways groups and organizations encourage and support misbehavior. The final two chapters discuss how many of these same attributes and processes can be used to encourage positive behaviors and foster recovery from dysfunctional and corrupt cultures and modes of behavior.

    A valuable text for a broad range of psychology courses, How Groups Encourage Misbehavior will especially appeal to practitioners, scholars, and students interested in ethics in organizations and the intersection between social psychology and organizational behavior.

    Part I: The Psychology of Misbehavior 1. Misbehavior: Role of Persons and Situations 2. Misbehavior in Groups and Social Situations 3. Social Processes that Enable or Support Misbehavior 4. Cognitive Processes that Enable or Support Misbehavior 5. Informal Groups 6. Formal Groups, Parties and Associations 7. Relationships Between Individuals and Groups: Attachment, Identity and Commitment  Part II: The Workplace as a Focal Point for Understanding Misbehavior 8. Misbehavior in Organizations 9. Contextual, Social and Organizational Processes that Encourage Misbehavior 10. How Organizations Go Wrong: Bad Apples or Bad Barrels? 11. Sick Organizations 12. The Corruption of Organizations Part III. Positive Behavior in Organizations 13. Procosial Behavior in Organizations 14. Building Better Organizations


    Kevin R. Murphy is Professor Emeritus at the University of Limerick. He is the author of over one hundred and ninety articles and book chapters and author or editor of eleven books in areas ranging from psychometrics and statistical analysis to individual differences, performance assessment and honesty in the workplace.

    "A top research psychologist provides a comprehensive analysis of why people misbehave. The discussion ranges from minor acts of incivility to major scandals in government and industry. The reader of this book will come away with an understanding of why people misbehave and what can be done to discourage it." –Paul Spector, University of South Florida, USA

    "So why do people so often act badly--immorally, uncivilly, or just unrelentingly selfishly? Explanations often drift, inevitably, to the people themselves, citing their psychological drives, personality traits, character deficiencies, and the like ("bad apples").  These analyses, however, provide only part of the picture, for they overlook the interpersonal processes that cause people to turn from the good to the bad ("bad barrels"). Kevin Murphy, in his book How Groups Encourage Misbehavior, thoroughly reviews these processes, in an analysis that is both sweeping in vision but comprehensive in scope. Drawing deeply on studies of the group and organizational processes, including social influence, socialization, identity, and contagion, Professor Murphy explains the many ways people falter--including wartime atrocities of military squads, corporate decision makers, and overly committed members of extremist groups. The book is a one-stop shop for all you need to know about the social side of misbehavior." —Donelson R. Forsyth, The University of Richmond, The Jepson School of Leadership Studies, USA