Consequences of “Facades of Conformity”

Patricia Hewlin

Patricia Hewlin

Patricia Hewlin proposed that employees, especially those with minority status in the workplace, adopt “Façades of conformity (FOC)” when they “act as if” they embrace an organization’s values to remain employed or to succeed in that organization.

Her article in The Academy of Management Review was followed by Flora Stormer and Kay Devine’s study in The Journal of Management Inquiry, “Acting at Work: Façades of Conformity.”

Earlier research indicates that one negative consequence of Facades of Conformity is that employees develop “rationalizations” that enable them to carry out work assignments, even if these seem distasteful or unethical.

Jerome Kerviel

Jerome Kerviel

This paradigm may explain Jerome Kerviel’s experience at Societe General. He was branded as a “rogue trader,” though he was thought not to have benefitted personally from unauthorized trades.

He and others explain his motivation to please his managers and to earn a bonus based on his trades, in the context of his outsider status as someone who had not attended elite universities and was not considered a “star.”

-*In what organizational contexts have you observed “Facades of Conformity” and their consequences?

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Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

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