Dysfunctional organization culture: The role of leadership in motivating dysfunctional work behaviors

David D. Van Fleet (School of Global Management and Leadership, Arizona State University at the West Campus, Phoenix, Arizona, USA)
Ricky W. Griffin (Department of Management, Mays Business School, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Publication date: 1 December 2006



The purpose of this article is to expand and extend previous work on the role of organizations in influencing deviant or dysfunctional behavior in those organizations.


Conclusions from previous work on the role of individuals and organizations in influencing dysfunctional behavior is used to lead to a discussion of the interactions between those two especially through organizational culture and leadership.


A model is developed that more carefully identifies how all of these factors come together, resulting in no, little, some, or a lot of dysfunctional behavior.

Research limitations/implications

The model developed here can be employed to improve understanding of the role of organization culture and leadership in motivating dysfunctional work behaviors. Both the individual and the organization constructs utilized in the framework need more complete conceptual development. In each instance, a more complex and integrative analysis of diverse literatures needs to be undertaken. Clear messages regarding individual tendencies toward violent behaviors are embedded in the literatures from such diverse areas as psychology, psychiatry, criminal justice, medicine, sociology, organizational behavior, biology, social psychology, and anthropology. A comprehensive review and synthesis could theoretically yield far more insights than currently exist.

Practical implications

The proposed manifestations of dysfunctional behavior are most likely to occur as the result of the interactive relationship between an individual displaying a relatively high predisposition for violent behavior and an organization with a relatively high propensity to elicit violence. Clearly, a better understanding of the characteristics of such an organization would assist practicing managers in reducing the likelihood of occurrence of dysfunctional behavior.


This paper fills a gap in the literature about the role of organizations in influencing dysfunctional behavior by delineating more fully the role of organizational culture and leadership.



Van Fleet, D.D. and Griffin, R.W. (2006), "Dysfunctional organization culture: The role of leadership in motivating dysfunctional work behaviors", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 21 No. 8, pp. 698-708. https://doi.org/10.1108/02683940610713244

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