Document Type

Journal Article


This article explores the value of investigating cultural change programmes as exercises in engineering deviance. It does so through a case study of an organizational development cultural change programme at Sprogwheels, a large Australian corporation. Drawing on and extending the classic work of Becker (1966), the article details how the programme combined a moral crusade against what it sought to have labelled as the ‘deviant conservatism’ of the existing organizational culture with social support for ‘deviant radicalism’, in the form of a counter-cultural, self-enterprising set of middle managers promoting corporate change. The article explores the complex and contradictory ideas of deviance that are deployed in such programmes, and examines the implications of a deviance analysis for an improved understanding of the dynamics of cultural change.