Read the attached article about Volkswagen and a couple of other companies. Do you agree with the thesis of the normalization of deviance? Why or why not? Was Volkswagen’s emissions fraud a governance issue or something else? Explain your answer.
According to Diane Vaughn normalization of deviance is "The gradual process through which unacceptable practice or standards become acceptable. As the deviant behavior is repeated without catastrophic results, it becomes the social norm for the organization.” I originally agreed with the thesis until I read a blog about the topic that made me think about it differently.
My original thought was that of course it exists because deviance isn’t the only behavior that gets normalized. Humans are creatures of habit, so it is easy for us to repeat behaviors whether good or bad. With companies I agree that an organizations repeated behavior can cause it to become a social norm, but I think that undermines the power of an individual.
In today’s world there are many social norms but not everyone follows the. I believe following social norms, especially ones within an organization is heavily dependent on your position in life. Like Vandivier’s statement in the case about why he falsified the reports. He said he did it he had responsibilities, which were providing for his family and paying bills. I think the state of a person truly determines if they would be willing to do something unethical regardless of the results that come.
The blog post was written by a man who completely disagreed with the idea that the normalization of deviance actually exists. He argued that it is human nature to break the rules, “there is no “Normalization of Deviation” … the abnormal state is getting everyone to follow strict rules” (Paradies, Mark). An example I can think of is speeding. There are laws on that, but I think it is safe to say not everyone follows them. I have also gotten ticket for it which is has been a negative result, but sometimes I still do it. To get back to my original point I do not think normalization of deviance, if it does exist, happens without pressure or an undesirable outcome if there is refusal.
I believe that it a governance issue. There are laws as well as government agencies that focus solely on emissions and polluting the air. With something that is watched so closely and is so important to the people I think they handled it appropriately. What are everyone else’s thoughts?
Paradies, Mark. “There Is No Such Thing as ‘Normalization of Deviation.’” Root Cause Analysis System, Training and Software by TapRooT®,
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