Constructive deviance and proactive behaviors: Two distinct approaches to change and innovation in the workplace

Empirical research
By Guillaume Roland Michel Déprez, Adalgisa Battistelli, Jean-Sébastien Boudrias, Nicola Cangialosi

This article examines the factorial structure and nomological network of constructive deviant behavior, relying notably on Galperin (2012) scale. In a series of two studies, we investigate the construct internal structure and its relationships with theoretically related constructs to deepen our understanding of the nature of this construct. Data were obtained from French workers (N = 680) using social media. The first study is a validation of the French translation of Galperin (2012) constructive deviant behavior scale. The second study investigates how this scale fits within the domain of positive deviance behaviors. As such, we challenge the proposition of Vadera, Pratt & Mishra (2013) that a single second-order “umbrella” construct would explain the manifestation of different first-order constructive deviance (e.g., constructive deviant behavior, prosocial rule-breaking behavior) and proactive constructs (e.g., voice, innovative work behavior, and taking charge). We hypothesize that these constructs would be best represented in two second-order factors. Concerning the first study, convergent and discriminant validity evidence supported a 7-item scale. Regarding the second study, confirmatory factor analyses revealed the discriminant validity of each first-order construct and their convergence in two higher-order factors, labelled “constructive deviance work behavior” and “proactive work behavior.” Constructive deviance and proactive behaviors thus represent two fundamentally different approaches for change and innovation in organizations. As expected, Galperin’s (2012) scale is associated with constructive deviance work behavior rather than with proactive work behavior. Following the current research popularity of constructive deviance, our research provides keys to understand its specificity in relation to other types of positive behaviors.

  • Psychological contract breach
  • two-wave design
  • perceived organizational support
  • perceived supervisory support
  • affective and normative commitment
  • job satisfaction
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