Positive Deviance

Marc Lavine

in The Oxford Handbook of Positive Organizational Scholarship

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199734610
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Positive Deviance

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The term positive deviance (PD) has primarily been used to describe uncommon behavior that is norm-defying yet socially desirable, as well as a formal method for learning from this behavior. Organization scholars have largely used this concept metaphorically, whereas those in the health and nutrition sciences have developed PD into a robust learning and social change method. This chapter is an attempt to merge insights from these diverse disciplines and provide an overview of work to date on the subject, as well as to offer a revised construct definition and comparison to related topics such as pro-social rule breaking, tempered radicalism, and appreciative inquiry. The chapter also includes a consideration of key contextual variables that influence the diffusion of PD and proposed directions for future research at varied levels of analysis. This potent concept can serve as a key building block for positive scholarship and positive organizing.

Keywords: Keywords; Positive deviance; positive; deviance; organizational change; social change

Article.  9907 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Organizational Psychology ; Social Psychology

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