Employee deviant behavior: role of culture and organizational relevant support

R. Arzu Kalemci (Cankaya Universitesi, Ankara, Turkey)
Ipek Kalemci-Tuzun (Baskent Universitesi, Ankara, Turkey)
Ela Ozkan-Canbolat (Cankiri Karatekin Universitesi, Cankiri, Turkey)

European Journal of Management and Business Economics

ISSN: 2444-8494

Article publication date: 1 April 2019

Issue publication date: 16 July 2019




The purpose of this paper is to increase the knowledge and understanding of organizational and supervisory support in the context of employee deviant workplace behavior (DWB) by examining the potential associations of employees’ cultural value orientations. This paper aims to: clarify DWB; review perceived organizational support (POS) and perceived supervisory support (PSS); discuss the meaning of employees’ cultural value orientations (individualism–collectivism, power distance and paternalism); use the fuzzy logic model to analyze relationships between DWB and POS, as well as PSS and employees’ cultural value orientations.


This research applies a fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis.


The results show the role of employee perceived organizational and supervisory support and cultural dimension (power distance and paternalism) configurations on employee DWB.


The main originality of this study is to further increase the understanding of organizational and supervisory support in the context of employee DWB by examining the potential associations of employees’ cultural value orientations. This study extends the previous research by providing evidence that organizational and supervisory support influences employees’ DWB.



Kalemci, R.A., Kalemci-Tuzun, I. and Ozkan-Canbolat, E. (2019), "Employee deviant behavior: role of culture and organizational relevant support", European Journal of Management and Business Economics, Vol. 28 No. 2, pp. 126-141. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJMBE-11-2018-0125



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, R. Arzu Kalemci, Ipek Kalemci-Tuzun and Ela Ozkan-Canbolat


Published in European Journal of Management and Business Economics. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at http://creativecommons.org/licences/by/4.0/legalcode

1. Introduction

Deviant workplace behavior (DWB), a voluntary behavior, violates significant organizational norms and, in so doing, is perceived as threatening to the well-being of the organization or its members (Bennett and Robinson, 2000). DWB gained attention from organizational behavior researchers with its negative psychological, social and tangible consequences for employees and organizations. Destructive behavior and constructive behavior are two types of DWBs discussed in literature (Bennett and Stamper, 2001). This study emphasizes and highlights destructive deviant behavior.

Upon review of relevant literature, it can be said that the effects of supportive organizational practices on DWB are an interesting area despite the extant evidence on the effect of organizational support on employee attitudes and behavior, including organizational commitment, job satisfaction, organizational citizenship behavior, turnover intention and job performance (Eisenberger et al., 1986, 1990; Maertz et al., 2003; Payne and Huffman, 2005; Tuzun and Kalemci, 2012; Tuzun et al., 2016). Influence of a supportive organizational climate on employee work performance is best explained by the social exchange theory (Blau, 1964; Gouldner, 1960).

Based on the social exchange theory, Eisenberger et al. (1986) developed the concept of perceived organizational support (POS) to understand employee–employer exchange relationships. POS refers to an individual’s perception of how much the organization values employees’ contributions and cares about their well-being. Organizational support theory adopts Levinson’s (1965) view that employees perceive their supervisors as representatives of the organization. Employees may engage in exchange relationships with supervisors that differ from their experience with the organization (Eisenberger et al., 1986; Levinson, 1965). In this manner, perceived supervisory support (PSS) refers to employee views about the extent to which a supervisor values contributions and care about their well-being (Kottke and Sharafinski, 1988). Greater social exchange with the effective application of organizational practices can be associated with stronger employee commitment, better work performance, lower turnover intention and violated behavior (Geddes and Baron, 1997; Geddes and Callister, 2007; Shore et al., 2009). The logic behind work performance and deviant behavior is similar when employees feel they have not found support from both the organization and supervisor. In turn, employees develop negative attitudes and demonstrate negative behavior toward the organization. Negative attitudes and behaviors may cause employees to act against the organization (Dailey and Kirk, 1992; Skarlicki and Folger, 1997).

Although there is an apparent generalizability of social exchange theory, there are significant differences in the application of the social exchange in cultures with different value orientations. This is especially true in a relationship between two people. One of the most cited perspectives of cultural values comes from Hofstede’s (1984) four dimensions, which explain differences between cultures. These are: power distance, individualism–collectivism, masculinity–femininity and uncertainty avoidance. In addition, psychologists have dealt with a range of values varying across and within cultures, including individualism–collectivism, power distance, masculinity–femininity and uncertainty avoidance (Hofstede, 1980; Schwartz, 1992; Tyler et al., 2000). Accordingly, paternalistic relationship was nourished from the national cultural dimensions identified by Aycan et al. (2000).

Although past studies used value scores to identify the characteristics of entire cultures, researchers recognize that value orientations can also be used to reflect an individual’s characteristics (e.g. Triandis, 1995). The focus of this prospective research is to moderate the effect of individual-level cultural values on social exchange relationships in organizational settings, as well as cultural values operationalized in the individual and the organizational domain (Dorfman and Howell, 1988).

This paper aims to: clarify DWB; review POS and PSS; discuss the meaning of employees’ cultural value orientations (individualism–collectivism, power distance and paternalism); and use the fuzzy logic model to analyze relationships between DWB and POS, as well as PSS and employees’ cultural value orientations.

2. Perceived organizational and supervisory support relations with employee DWB

Organizational norms are generally composed of expected behaviors, languages and principles (Coccia, 1998). Organizations express various behaviors, which eventually construct organizational norms (Appelbaum et al., 2007). A group of terms associated with deviance has evolved with normal work behavior breaching the norms of the organization. These are defined as antisocial behaviors (Robinson and O’Leary-Kelly, 1998), organizational misbehaviors (Vardi and Wiener, 1996), non-complaint behaviors (Puffer, 1987), workplace deviance (Robinson and Greenberg, 1998) and dysfunctional work behaviors (Griffin et al., 1998). Each term reflects a different pattern of behavior. Indeed, this lack of agreement requires researchers to use different theoretical frameworks to explain types of behavior.

A typology of behaviors (including the mentioned behaviors) has been developed by Robinson and Bennett (1995). Therefore, this paper focuses on the construct of DWB as defined by Robinson and Bennett (1995). This typology provides comprehensive information for the researchers to discuss their arguments in an organized manner (Everton et al., 2007, p. 119; Yoo et al., 2013). Accordingly, Robinson and Bennett (1995, p. 556) defined organizational deviant behavior as “voluntary behavior that violates significant organizational norms and in so doing threatens the well-being of an organization, its members, or both.”

The theoretical framework of social exchange explains why employees want to participate in positive behaviors and why employees prefer to avoid negative behaviors when providing support and resources to their employing organization. According to social exchange theory, individuals act with the belief that the receiver will return the received benefit in a similar manner (Blau, 1964; Gouldner, 1960; Cropanzano and Mitchell, 2005). Based on the social exchange theory, Eisenberger et al. (1986) developed the theory of POS to understand employee–employer exchange relationships. POS refers to an individual’s perception of how much the organization values their contributions and cares about their well-being. Consistent with the POS approach, employees balance their exchange relationships with their organizations. Studies show that a high level of POS leads to increased affective commitment and citizenship behavior (Eisenberger et al., 1990; Hayton et al., 2012; Kurtessis et al., 2015; Rhoades et al., 2001), reduced absenteeism and lower levels of intention to quit (Eisenberger et al., 1986; Tuzun and Kalemci, 2012; Wayne et al., 1997) and less deviant behavior (Geddes and Stickney, 2011; Van Emmerik et al., 2007). According to these studies, employees may continue an exchange relationship with both the organization and their immediate supervisor (Settoon et al., 1996; Wayne et al., 1997). It also means that employees who perceive managers as representatives of the organization (Eisenberger et al., 1986; Levinson, 1965; Shoss et al., 2013) may engage in exchange relationships with supervisors.

According to Kottke and Sharafinski (1988), PSS refers to employee views about the extent to which supervisor values employees’ contributions and cares about their well-being. Research indicates that supportive practices from supervisors cause favorable outcomes for both employees and the organization, including reduced stress and improved performance (Rhoades and Eisenberger, 2002; Shoss et al., 2013). The idea that supportive practices affect work-related attitudes and behavior through employees’ perceptions or experiences is supported by the social exchange theory (Blau, 1964; Eisenberger et al., 1986). The link between organizational support and DWB by employees is possible because social exchange theories assert that relationships are built around norms of reciprocity (Gouldner, 1960). The theory argues that employees’ perception of support, whether from the organization or supervisor, is reciprocated back to the organization (Allen et al., 2003). Given this claim of social exchange theory and reciprocity, it is possible to link organizationally relevant support and DWB by employees (e.g. Tuzun et al., 2016):


POS is related to DWB.


PSS is related to DWB.

3. Employee cultural orientations relations with employee DWB

It has been observed that the application of social exchange theory to cultures with different value orientations has significant differences, particularly in terms of the view of an individual relationship with others. Related literature suggests that cultural differences lead to differences in management practices (Bame-Aldred et al., 2013; Newman and Nollen, 1996; Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner, 2004).

One of the most mentioned perspectives on cultural differences is developed by Hofstede (1984), who highlights a need for international managers to understand cultural systems unique to a country. In fact, related studies show that management’s effectiveness is culturally specific; management techniques appropriate for one national culture may not be appropriate for another culture (Hofstede, 1984; Kateb et al., 2014). In fact, previous studies show that differences in national culture provide an important explanation for different compensation (Schuler and Rogocsky, 1998) and recruitment (Milikic, 2009) practices of countries. Accordingly, Aycan (2005) found that Hofstede’s (1984) three cultural dimensions (uncertainty avoidance, individualism/collectivism, and power distance) influence job analysis and outcomes (i.e. job description and job specification).

According to Hofstede (2005, p. 76), “individualism pertains to societies in which the ties between individuals are loose: everyone is expected to look after himself or herself and his or her immediate family and collectivism as its opposite pertains to societies in which people from birth onward are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, which throughout people’s lifetimes continue to protect them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty.” While Hofstede (1984) saw individualist cultures as prioritizing personal goals and self-actualization, collectivist cultures prioritize family and groups, with the culture seeking satisfaction from a respectable job as defined by the group rather than by oneself. Individualist cultures prioritize individual goals over those of the group. On the contrary, those in collectivist cultures significantly consider their relations (Triandis, 2001). Despite country differences, this dimension may have significant within-country differences (Oyserman et al., 2002). Individualism and collectivism, as important cultural dimensions, help to explain and clarify cultural differences with the assumption that people in the same culture are largely homogeneous. However, according to the literature, under different conditions, people selectively shape their attitudes and preferences from both individual and collectivistic cognitive structures (Triandis, 1995).

Thus, it would be misleading to assume that everyone in a collectivistic culture is a collectivist or everyone in an individualistic culture is an individualist. There is considerable evidence to suggest that distinctions between collectivist and individualist exist in the form of individual differences within cultures, and that the defining characteristics of individualism and collectivism exist at the individual level (Wasti, 2003). When measured at the individual level, individualism and collectivism are referred to as idiosentrism and allocentrism (Wasti, 2003), or individualistic and collectivistic values, respectively (Ramamoorthy and Carroll, 1998; Ramamoorthy and Flood, 2002, 2004). Consistent with these suggestions, this paper treats individualism and collectivism as a variable to differentiate individuals.

In the organizational context, individualism and collectivism describe the relationships of employees with coworkers, work teams, working groups, supervisors and the organization. Individuals with collectivist values define themselves as members of the group (Earley and Gibson, 1998; Triandis, 1995). Collectivists often see themselves as embedded in the social context as they seek close, long-term relationships. Within the working environment, the interpersonal harmony is important for the collectivist. On the other hand, the individualist sets up relationships with the organization in a calculative manner. Employees with individualistic values need a stronger freedom and establish low-context, unemotional relationships. According to Wagner (1995), employees with individualistic values view the self as separate from others, with an emphasis on personal achievements and goals. Employees with individualistic values cooperate with the working group as a tool to achieve individual goals which cannot be achieved through individual work (Ramamoorthy and Flood, 2002).

Employees with high values of collectivism expect beneficial behaviors with the organization, such as organizational citizenship behavior (e.g. Van Dyne et al., 2000). It is important to emphasize the effect of groups in the workplace when evaluating DWB within the organization (Robinson and O’Leary-Kelly, 1998). Individuals with collectivist values aim to establish harmonious interpersonal relationships within the group (Kim et al., 1994). Collectivists want to achieve group success vs individual success. On the other hand, employees with high individual values focus on personal interests and self-satisfaction. Nevertheless, highly individualistic employees perceive heterogeneity within the group as a positive factor to increase group effectiveness (Sosik and Jung, 2002). According to Kim and Markus (1999), uniqueness can be perceived as a form of DWB in collectivist cultures because these cultures emphasize harmony and individual responsibility within a group (Fiske et al., 1998; Markus et al., 1997; Triandis, 1995). Collectivist orientation with organizational support in terms of POS and PSS has an interrelatedness relationship with DWB:


Employees’ individualist/collectivist orientation is related to DWB.

Although individualism and collectivism variables influence employee response to organizational support, this paper argues that power distance is also critical due to its focus on understanding how employees reciprocate in situations with more (or less) powerful exchange partners. According to Hofstede (2005, p. 46), “power distance can be defined as the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organizations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally.” Although Hofstede (1980) introduces cultural values on the societal level, researchers find that a majority of studies investigate Hofstede’s cultural values at the individual level rather than the societal level (Farh et al., 2007; Kirkman et al., 2006). In accordance with these studies, this paper defines and operationalizes power distance at the individual level. At an individual level, power distance refers to the extent to which an individual accepts the unequal distribution of power in organizations and its influence on how individuals perceive and react to authority (Clugston et al., 2000). Social exchange theory, with its main argument of reciprocity, suggests that employees react to an abusive supervisor by engaging in deviant behaviors. In other words, employees are more likely to engage in behaviors that harm the organization and its members when they are abused by authority (Thau et al., 2009):


Employees’ power distance orientation is related to DWB.

The role of high power distance in relationship to POS, PSS and between DWB leads to the idea of paternalism. Webster (1975, p. 21) defines paternalism as “the principle or system of governing or controlling a country, group of employees, etc., in a manner of suggesting a father’s relationship with his children.” When paternalism is addressed in the organizational context, it refers to the supervisor’s role of caring, protecting and guiding subordinates in both work and nonwork environments (Aycan et al., 2000). Consistent with the social exchange theory’s main argument of reciprocity, it is expected that subordinates will be loyal and virtuous against their supervisor. Paternalism is accepted in hierarchical societies. The paternalistic relationship is based on power inequality between the leader and the followers. Inequalities in power distribution are legitimized, especially in cultures with high power distances (Aycan, 2005). Western cultures criticize paternalism for creating inequality. One of the most important assumptions of paternalistic leadership is that the leader is superior to subordinates in knowledge, skills, experience and morals. Although this assumption may be untrue, it leads to unquestioned obedience and loyalty by subordinates (Aycan et al., 2000). In addition, as part of the paternalistic role, the leader has social roles, such as joining employees’ weddings or celebrations. Thus, leaders reduce the social distance between followers and act as a father (Aycan, 2001). Paternalism moderates the relationships between POS, PSS and DWB. Individuals with high paternalism values are more loyal due to the support they receive from the organization and their supervisors. These individuals are less likely to engage in DWB:


Paternalism is related to DWB.


POS, PSS, collectivism, power distance and paternalism have a bidirectional relationship with DWB.

4. Methodology

This paper aims to reveal the effects of POS, PSS and impacts of cultural values on the deviant behavior of employees in a comparative way. The analysis unit of the research is the actors-employees. The research uses a structured interview as its data collection method. To assess POS and PSS, this study uses Eisenberger et al. (1986) and Tate et al. (1997) items to assess employees’ perception that their organization and supervisors take care of their workers. This paper assesses Bennett and Robinson’s (2000) deviant behaviors of the employees’ scale. Dorfman and Howell’s (1988) scale is used to assess the impact of individualism/collectivism (high scores evaluated as collectivism and addressed as collectivism). Power distance cultural values and paternalism are assessed with Aycans et al. (2000). The interviews are carried out in 8 companies with 241 interviews, including the general manager, production manager, marketing manager and human resource manager (or their assistants).

The findings are the result of a descriptive analysis. Then, the process rates the findings on the basis of the hundred system intended for analysis through the fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) program utilized in the assessment of the relationship between the deviant behavior and POS, PSS and the impact of cultural values. The industry selection process focuses on the service industry due to its dynamic market structure, which responds to employees’ deviant behaviors. Thus, there is a need to examine reasons for deviant behaviors.

This portion of the research uses fsQCA. As a theoretical approach tool, the qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) technique studies cases including groups with different qualitative properties suitable for testing the configuration theories. As opposed to the regression and correlation methods matching the Boolean Algebra (Fiss, 2007) linearity theory, QCA may focus on equifinality and togetherness of the variables to obtain simplified statements creating specific results. QCA refers to scenarios that “enable a system to reach at the same final situation from different start points and through different (or multiple ways)” (Katz and Kahn, 1978, p. 2).

QCA offers a framework for the comparison of organizational configurations. This paper follows the recommendations of Fiss (2007) to avoid several analytic methods, including cluster analysis, interaction effects and deviation scores. When demanding complex causality and non-linear relationships, the paper follows the theories of the QCA method. A qualitative focus enables the analysis of a few cases as it is both intense and complementary (Ragin, 2008). For this reason, this paper uses a specific type of QCA (the fsQCA) to determine the relationships between product innovation and strategic flexibility configurations.

This research determines the impact of cultural values configurations, including individualism/collectivism, power distance and paternalism and perceived supports in organizational life configurations (i.e. POS and PSS as causes/conditions). The survey includes six questions to determine the collectivism dimension, six questions for power distance and five questions for paternalism. This survey uses eight questions to examine POS; three questions examine PSS. This paper assesses the cumulative of the questions for defining configurations. Deviant behavior scales are used as outcomes related to the hypotheses. The outcomes show the cumulative of deviant behavior questions in the survey.

While collecting the measures for conditions, researchers took the cumulative valuation of POS, PSS and impacts of cultural values. The following sub-effect summations were found: seven POS; two PSS; six individualism/collectivism cultural impact; six power distance cultural impact; five paternalism cultural affect. The researchers examined the deviant behavior of employees as an outcome and calculated outcomes with respect to 19 sub-effects. While determining the measures for outcome, researchers used the same conditions and took the cumulative valuation of these sub-effects.

After collecting measures for the conditions and the outcome, the researchers calibrated the conditions such that they were computable in an fsQCA (Schneider and Wagemann, 2012). For the outcome, the researchers set a maximum value of 54 for the outcome, the threshold for the crossover value for outcome at 29 and a minimum value at 19.

This paper presents quantitative analysis with data provided by 235 employees through a survey. The authors set the threshold for the crossover value at 29, meaning employees perceive deviant behavior occasionally on average. The minimum value indicates that employees perceive deviant behavior in no way. The maximum value for the outcome indicates employee’s highest perceived deviant behavior in the organization.

For causes and conditions, the researchers set the maximum value for collectivism and power distance at 30, the threshold for the crossover value at 10 and minimum value at 6. The researchers set the maximum value for paternalism at 25, the threshold for the crossover value at 8 and minimum value at 5. The researchers determine the maximum value for POS and PSS at 35 and 10, the threshold for the crossover value at 11 and 4 and minimum value at 7 and 2, respectively. In doing so, the researchers calibrate the entire effects of cultural aspects, POS configurations and PSS configurations with respect to all cases. This research processes deviant behaviors of employees as the outcome testing for certain combinations of cultural impacts with respect to individualism/collectivism, power distance, paternalism effects and POS and PSS effects. The study uses these negations separately.

5. Solutions

The core of fsQCA is a truth table analysis, which seeks to identify casual combinations that are sufficient for the outcome. Truth tables give an indication of identical cases and limited diversity phenomenon. Table I presents a truth table for the interrelatedness of deviant behaviors and the effects of cultural factors and POS and PSS configurations.

The truth table lists every combination of conditions, in this case 25 with 5 being the number of conditions (Schneider and Wagemann, 2012). The researchers set the consistency threshold to 0.8, which is a value expected to create robust results (Fiss, 2011; Rihoux and Ragin, 2009; Schneider and Wagemann, 2012). Only solutions that belong to more than zero cases are reported. The truth table for the interrelatedness of deviant behaviors and the effects of cultural aspects and POS and PSS configurations satisfies the required assumptions.

The concept of asymmetric causality (Lieberson, 1985) is important when evaluating the potential of QCA for social science research. Different to most statistical procedures, QCA links conditions and the outcome through set asymmetric theoretical relations. Therefore, QCA provides both presence and absence of phenomenon in two different analyses (Schneider and Wagemann, 2010). The analysis of the negation of outcome determines understanding of casual logic driving the positive cases with respect to negative ones (Ragin and Rihoux, 2004). The researchers also contribute a truth table for the negation of deviant behaviors and the effects of cultural factors and POS and PSS configurations for checking the results (see Table II).

According to the first procedure, the researchers determine the following intermediate solutions (see Table III).

Table III shows six alternative solutions to explain the interrelatedness of cultural effects, POS and PSS configurations, and deviant behavior. Ragin (2006) suggests using raw and unique coverages to evaluate empirical importance. The findings of Schneider and Wagemann (2010) determine that raw coverage refers to the size of overlap between the causal condition sets and the outcome sets. Additionally, unique coverage that partitions the raw coverage controls the overlapping explanations.

The total coverage with respect to the importance of all causal paths is 0.894, which explains that a causal path covers most of the outcome. The raw coverage for the single causal paths ranges from 0.804 to 0.158. While all the unique coverage of the causal paths is above 0, three have unique coverage of 0.001, 0.002 and 0.003, which are close to 0. Therefore, the first three combinations are important in explaining deviant behaviors of employees’ results.

The most notable expression with a unique coverage of 0.098 is PSS*~power distance. This solution (first solution) shows that configurations of PSS and negation power distance (absence of power distance) cultural effect are consistently indicators of deviant behaviors of employees. The second notable expression with a unique coverage of 0.027 is PSS*paternalism solution, which shows that PSS and paternalistic cultural effect interrelate with employees’ deviant behaviors. The third empirically important causal path with unique coverage of 0.030 indicates that employees’ deviant behaviors depend on the absence of paternalistic and power distance cultural effects, as well as the absence of POS (~POS*~Paternalism*~Power distance).

As the analysis of negation cases provides the causal logic driving the positive cases and/or help to understand substantively interesting insights in their own right (Ragin and Rihoux, 2004), researchers use negation of DWB as control variable for checking reliability of DWB variable interrelatedness with POS and PSS and cultural dimensions of employees’ configurations. The researchers determine the following complex solutions for negation of deviant behavior (see Table IV).

Table IV determines that one solution may explain the interrelatedness of cultural effects, POS and PSS configurations, and the absence of employees’ deviant behaviors. The most notable expression with a unique coverage of 0.526 is collectivism*power distance*~paternalism* ~POS*~PSS, which shows that cultural effects of collectivism, power distance and negotiation of paternalism, and negotiation of POS and PSS configurations affect are consistent indicators of negation of employees’ deviant behaviors. The solution of the negation of employees’ deviant behaviors is a different solution from employees’ deviant behaviors. The researchers accept the three causal paths when they determine employees’ deviant behavior and cultural effects, and POS and PSS configurations relatedness.

6. Discussion

The main purpose of this study is to further increase the knowledge and understanding of organizational and supervisory support in the context of employee DWB by examining the potential associations of employees’ cultural value orientations. The results indicate that PSS with employees’ cultural orientation interrelates with employee DWB in two ways. The first path explains a high level of employees’ PSS with low or absent level of power distance (PSS*~power distance) related to employee DWB. Employees have a positive attitude toward their organization, which increases their motivation and performance, when they perceive that they are receiving support, courage and feedback to successfully improve their skills (Colbert et al., 2004). The opposite case may lead to frustration (Colbert et al., 2004), which also leads to deviant behavior, including hostility or aggression (Spector, 1997).

On the other hand, Bennett and Robinson (2000) suggest that perceived fairness and justice to the employees are negatively associated with interpersonal and organizational deviance. Employees with low power distance are more sensitive to unequal treatment by their supervisors. They react negatively compared to employees who have high power distance orientation (Thau et al., 2009; Wang et al., 2012). Individuals who are high in power distance orientation perceive their managers as superior, legitimizing power disparity and avoiding acts against their superiors as they obey leadership’s decisions (Bochner and Hesketh, 1994). This also means that they are less likely to react adversely to distributive and procedural injustice from supervisors (Lian et al., 2012). Therefore, high levels of power distance with organizational support in terms of PSS interrelate with DWB. Employees with high levels of power distance do not negatively react to distributive and procedural injustice from supervisors. They receive support from their supervisor; the organization makes more sense to the individual who is high in power distance orientation.

The second path shows that a high level of employees’ PSS with paternalistic behavior of supervisor interrelates with DWB (PSS*paternalism). A main assumption of paternalistic leadership is that the leader is superior in knowledge, skill and experience. This assumption may lead to unquestioned obedience and loyalty by subordinates (Aycan et al., 2000). Accordingly, as a part of the paternalistic role, the leader has social roles, including joining employees’ celebrations and acting in a father role (Aycan, 2001). Based on this information, this paper concludes that paternalism moderates the relationship between PSS and DWB as individuals with high paternalism values will be more loyal to support from their supervisors and less likely to engage in DWB.

The third path shows different types of DWB relationships with employees’ PSS, POS and cultural orientation. ~POS*~Paternalism*~Power distance indicates that absence or low level of POS with paternalism and power distance relates to DWB. Although related empirical research basically investigated the relationship between POS and positive work outcomes (e.g. Hayton et al., 2012; Rhoades et al., 2001; Wayne et al., 1997), supportive practices in terms of POS and PSS are also negatively related to DWB (Colbert et al., 2004; Ferris et al., 2009; Liao et al., 2004; Tuzun et al., 2016). When employees feel desirable support, they will reciprocate the obligation through positive behaviors. On the other hand, when support is seen to be undesirable, employees will return such favor by engaging in unfavorable behavior.

Due to the above explanations, this paper finds that employees’ PSS, POS, cultural dimensions, power distance and paternalism relate with DWB. Cultural dimension individualism/collectivism with employees PSS and POS only relates with the absence of employee deviant behavior (see Table IV) (collectivism*power distance*~paternalism* ~POS*~PSS). This path explains that low level or absence of DWB may emerge with a high level of collectivism and power distance with the absence of paternalism where employees do not feel POS and PSS. Employees with high collectivist values think – and even internalize – that it is their duty to adopt organizational policies and norms. For this reason, it is less likely that these individuals show behaviors contrary to organizational goals. This research shows that employees’ individualist/collectivist behavior does not relate with DWB in contrast to employees’ individualist/collectivist behavior related to the absence of DWB.

7. Conclusion

Through different methodological perspectives, this study extends the previous research by providing evidence that organizational and supervisory support influences employees’ DWB. With an fsQCA, results show the role of employee PSS, POS and cultural dimension configurations to foster employee DWB. This study also examines equifinality in POS, PSS, power distance and paternalism configurations with respect to DWB. Conclusive supportive PSS with lack of power distance orientation may cause employees to engage in deviant behavior. Supportive PSS with paternalistic orientation may also cause employees to engage in deviant behavior. On the other side, lack of supportive POS with lack of paternalistic and power distance orientation may cause deviant behavior. This study indicates that a lack of POS, power distance and paternalistic cultural orientation interrelates with DWB. Within this aspect, this research differs from other studies.

Truth table for the outcome “deviant behavior”

Collectivism Power distance Paternalism PSS PSS Row cons. Pri cons. Sym cons.
0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1
1 0 0 1 1 1 1 1
1 0 0 0 0 1 1 1
0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1
1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1
0 0 0 0 0 0.996 0.991 0.998
0 1 1 0 1 0.996 0.987 0.998
1 0 0 0 1 0.994 0.987 0.990
0 0 1 0 1 0.993 0.990 0.992
0 0 0 1 1 0.993 0.985 0.993
1 0 1 1 1 0.992 0.983 0.982
0 1 1 0 0 0.991 0.957 0.957
1 0 1 0 1 0.989 0.983 0.995
0 0 0 0 1 0.988 0.981 0.988
1 1 1 1 1 0.986 0.965 0.975
1 1 0 0 0 0.896 0.935 0.935

Truth table for outcome negation of deviant behavior

Collectivism Power distance Paternalism POS PSS Row cons. Pri cons. Sym cons.
1 1 0 0 0 0.805 0.065 0.065
0 1 1 0 0 0.795 0.043 0.043

Solution terms for deviant behavior

Solution term Coverage (raw) Coverage (unique) Consistency
PSS*~power distance 0.804 0.098 0.960
PSS*paternalism 0.642 0.027 0.965
~POS*~ paternalism*~power distance 0.434 0.030 0.981
~PSS*~POS*~ paternalism*collectivism 0.156 0.002 0.988
~POS*paternalism*power distance*~collectivism 0.158 0.001 0.986
POS*paternalism*power distance*collectivism 0.173 0.003 0.987
Overall solution 0.894 0.948

Solutions terms for negation of deviant behavior

Solution term Coverage (raw) Coverage (unique) Consistency
collectivism*power distance*~paternalism* ~POS*~PSS 0.526 0.526 0.805
Overall Solution 0.526 0.805


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Corresponding author

R. Arzu Kalemci is the corresponding author and can be contacted at: arzukalemci@cankaya.edu.tr

About the authors

R. Arzu Kalemci is Associate Professor in Management Department, Cankaya University, Turkey. She received the BA Degree in Economics in 1998 from Bilkent University, and the PhD Degree in Management and Organization in 2009 from Baskent University. Her research interest includes organizational behavior, organizational theory, social exchange and business ethic.

Ipek Kalemci-Tuzun received the PhD Degree in Management from Gazi University. She is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Commercial Sciences, Baskent University. She is currently lecturing Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management courses. Her areas of research include human resource management applications and employee behavior, social exchanges in organization and social identity theory.

Ela Ozkan-Canbolat is Associate Professor in the Management Department, Cankiri Karatekin University in Turkey. She received the BA Degree in Economics in 2001 from İhsan Dogramaci Bilkent University, and the PhD Degree in Management and Organization in 2008 from Baskent University. She joined the Cankiri Karatekin University in 2009. She is interested in the influence of organizational network, evolutionary game theory, coopetition and innovation. She has focused a major portion of his teaching and research program on the use of evolutionary game theory and methods for understanding organizations and behavior strategies. She has received an award from the Global Innovation and Knowledge Academy Conference in 2015 with Aydin Beraha. Ela has had teaching experience in economics, management, sociology and statistics.

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