A typology of employee explanations of misbehaviour: an analysis of unfair dismissal cases

Article


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. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022185609353991
Article Title

A typology of employee explanations of misbehaviour: an analysis of unfair dismissal cases

ERA Journal ID19759
Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorSouthey, Kim
Journal TitleJournal of Industrial Relations
Journal Citation52 (1), pp. 81-102
Number of Pages22
Year2010
Place of PublicationLondon, United Kingdom
ISSN0022-1856
1472-9296
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/0022185609353991
Web Address (URL)http://jir.sagepub.com/content/52/1/81.full.pdf+html
Abstract

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.

Keywordsemployee explanation; employee misbehaviour; unfair dismissal; workplace deviance
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020350504. Industrial and employee relations
350710. Organisational behaviour
350503. Human resources management
Public Notes

© Industrial Relations Society of Australia
Submitted version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.

Byline AffiliationsSchool of Management and Marketing
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