Organizations exist and function within a broader context, and aspects of the broader culture and the legal and political systems of the nations that are home to organizations can have a substantial impact on both the likelihood and the types of misbehavior you are likely to encounter. Broad dimensions of national culture, such as individualism vs. collectivism or deference to vs. disrespect for authority and status can push individuals in the directions of misbehaviors that fit the culture. For example, in organizations located in nations where there is a strong tradition of deference to authority, you might expect to see more incidents of collective misbehavior (e.g., cooperating in large-scale frauds) and few lone-wolf escapades. Some political and ideological systems might be more compatible with abusive leadership and the mistreatment of subordinates than others.

Organizations have their own cultures, and these cultures can have a decisive effect on the behavior of members of the organization, particularly when the culture sends strong and consistent messages about the types of behavior that are approved of and expected by the organization. The cultures of some organizations tolerate or encourage specific types of misbehavior (e.g., masculinity contest cultures are likely to view bullying and harassment more favorably than other cultures), and people who are socialized to internalize the norms and values of these cultures may be perfectly willing to engage in misbehaviors that are consistent with these norms without feeling they are doing anything wrong. Chapter 10 considers some of the processes that lead organizations to adopt cultures that are deviant or dysfunctional.

Perceptions of the way organizations treat their members, particularly the fairness of the procedures they use to make important decisions, appear to be a strong factor in misbehavior. Unfair procedures, or procedures that are perceived as unfair by members of the organization, are particularly damaging because they have the potential to undermine the legitimacy of the laws, rules, and regulations that help to govern most people’s behavior. Perceptions of unfairness will often lead people to strike back at their organization (e.g., through production and property deviance), in extreme cases, leading to insurrection and mutiny.