Southey, Kim (2010) A typology of employee explanations of misbehaviour: an analysis of unfair dismissal cases. Journal of Industrial Relations, 52 (1). pp. 81-102. ISSN 0022-1856
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Official URL: http://jir.sagepub.com/content/52/1/81.full.pdf+html
Identification Number or DOI: doi: 10.1177/0022185609353991
This article investigates an aspect of employee misbehaviour research that has received limited attention: the explanations employees provide for their behaviour. In Australia, employees dismissed for inappropriate behaviour may be able to pursue an unfair dismissal claim. To progress our understanding of employee misbehaviour, this research examines the explanations that employees provide to defend their behaviour at unfair dismissal hearings before the Australian Industrial Relations Commission. In this investigation, organizational behaviour theories of cognitive dissonance and organizational justice, and criminal sociology theory of neutralization, underpin the contention that employees’ explanations of their behaviour may reflect rationalizations of their behaviour that may differ from actual events. This article presents the ‘employee explanation model’, a conceptual framework categorizing the range of rationale employees provide to their employer. The model identifies three domains of rationalization: workplace related; personal-inside; and personal-outside. These domains may or may not operate independently, with mutual occurrence demanding the employer interpret and manage a ‘conflated’ rationale. This model further develops the description of organizational misbehaviour contained in Vardi and Weitz’s (2004) general framework.
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