Bricolage and Employee Deviant Behaviour: Overcoming Discontinuous Disruptions to Maintain Organisational Performance

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


This paper aims to introduce bricolage as a form of positive deviant behaviour undertaken by employees operating outside of organisational norms in order to overcome unexpected problems where a sense of urgency and/or resource constraints are primary factors. In overcoming unanticipated problems to maintain output and normal functioning, engaging in bricolage is demonstrative of a capacity for resilience (Weick, 1993; Coutu, 2002; Lengnick, Hall and Beck, 2009; Denhardt and Denhardt, 2010) where entities prevail following a negative situation or absorb an adverse condition without experiencing a discontinuous disruption. As such, individuals engaging in bricolage prevent minor issues escalating into more serious problems for the entire organisation such that performance is maintained and unplanned challenges can be managed quickly and effectively with a degree of flexible adaptation.
This article firstly distinguishes between planners (i.e. ‘ingenuer’), bricoleurs and improvisers and secondly, briefly articulates research regarding positive deviance behaviour. This paper considers the link between these behaviours and proposes the existence of these activities at the individual, employee level within the organisation as a potential source of resilience. As a developmental paper, this submission serves as a foundation to generate debate and to engage in further research. It is proposed that the following question will be addressed: How does Bricolage occur as positive deviance at the grass-roots level in organisations?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBritish Academy of Management Conference Proceedings 2019
PublisherBritish Academy of Management
Number of pages7
Publication statusUnpublished - 3 Sept 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2019 The Authors


  • Bricolage
  • Deviant behaviour
  • Organisations
  • employee
  • Organisational performance


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