This chapter deals with organizations in which particular types of misbehavior are tolerated, and sometimes even encouraged. Four particular types of organizational cultures are described, each of which is likely to lead to an increase in a characteristic set of misbehaviors. Cultures of mistreatment encourage incivility, bullying, harassment, and aggression, all of which can be thought of as tactics for asserting dominance. Organizations with a culture of mistreatment tend to respond to these misbehaviors by ignoring, minimizing, or condoning them.
Inauthentic cultures tolerate or encourage lying and misrepresentation. One of the hallmarks of this culture is that it can become difficult to accept anything a person says or does at its face value. In an inauthentic organization, members might devote considerable time and effort to managing impressions and to presenting false fronts, and as a result, these cultures can breed fraud, misrepresentation, and mistrust.
Organizations in which members believe that have been treated unfairly and that they lack any effective means of addressing or reversing this mistreatment are likely to develop a revenge culture, in which there is broad social support for behaviors that harm the organization (e.g., property and production deviance, badmouthing the organization). The central theme of revenge cultures is the need to restore equity. Thus, if an organization harms you, you might feel compelled to return harm for harm.
Finally, rigid cultures create wide-ranging sets of expectations, rules, regulations, and norms that tightly control the behavior of their members. Tight control, especially in areas that appear to have little to do with the mission of the organization, is likely to be resented and likely to motivate resistance. The characteristic misbehaviors associated with tight cultures include racism and sexism. The rules and norms of these organizations almost invariably reflect the preferences and experiences of a narrow group of leaders, in most case, upper-class White males, and if the only pattern of behavior that is accepted is one that is comfortable and familiar for this group, other groups in the organization (e.g., women, members of minority groups) are likely to be marginalized. If taken too far, cultural rigidity has the potential to undermine the legitimacy of the organization and its rules.
These four cultures are not necessarily the only ones that might encourage or tolerate misbehavior, and some organizations might show a mix of several of these cultures or a different pattern of norms and expectations that leads to tolerance for specific types of misbehavior. This taxonomy describes four variations of organizational culture that are frequently discussed in studies of misbehavior in organizations and should be thought of as a starting point for understanding how organizations might become hotbeds for misbehavior rather than as a definitive taxonomy.