Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Herding Positive Deviants

Some phrases are simply too good to pass up, especially when they are asides.

From a management article on the effect of bad apples on teams (emphasis added):

Felps and Mitchell also found that negative behavior outweighs positive behavior -- that is, a "bad apple" can spoil the barrel but one or two good workers can't unspoil it. [snip]

The authors caution there's a difference between "bad apples" and employees who think outside the box and challenge the status quo. Since these "positive deviants" rock the boat, they may not always be appreciated. And, as Felps and Mitchell argue, unlike "bad apples," "positive deviants" actually help spark organizational innovation.
(Kudos to this post which introduced me to the article.)

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