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Small Acts of Leadership by G. Shawn Hunter

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Chapter 11 Defy Convention

The term “deviance” has long been associated with behavior that is harmful, dangerous, or perhaps immoral, such as lying, cheating, stealing, and other dishonorable acts. But sometimes bucking the norm in a positive way—positive deviance—may be more honorable behavior.

“Positive deviance focuses on those extreme cases of excellence when organizations and their members break free from the constraints of norms to conduct honorable behaviors,” writes professor Gretchen Spreitzer of the University of Michigan. “It has profound effects on the individuals and organizations that partake and benefit from such activities.”1

Positive deviance is the kind of behavior that, when recognized by others, should be commended and praised. ...

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