(b) Deviance may undermine organisation by destroying people’s willingness to play their parts.
Deviance offends people’s sense of justice and makes uneven the ratio between effort and reward. ‘Idlers’, ‘fakers’, ‘chiselers’, ‘sneaks’, ‘smugglers’, ‘black marketers’, ‘gangsters’, ‘cheats’, and the like offend and threaten the interests of the virtuous. Because, they take away share in rewards sometimes disproportionately without undergoing the sacrifices, sufferings, struggles and disciplines of the virtuous. Deviance may also provoke bitterness and resentment. It may also damage one’s determination to play one’s role according to the rules.
(c) The most destructive impact of deviance on organisation is through its impact on trust, on confidence that others will, by and large, play by the rules. Each participant to the collective enterprise suppresses some of his impulses, makes some sacrifice of time, money and labour, rejects illegal temptations. He does this on the assumption that, if he plays by the rules, so will other. “Distrust, even if it is unfounded, weakens organisation by undermining motivation; to distrust others is to see one’s effort as pointless, wasted, and foolish, and the future as hazardous and uncertain.” (A.K.
Cohen). Deviance in Support of Organisation: It is wrong to believe that deviance is always destructive of organisation. On the other hand, deviance, in some circumstances, may make positive contributions to the stability and vitality of social organisation. Albert K.
Cohen mentions the following functions of deviance in support of organisation. 1. Deviance versus ‘Red Tape’ or Official Delay: Sometimes deviance provides solutions to some typical, recurrent problems. For example, a military unit may face an unanticipated situation in which it needs immediate supply of some articles in a quantity in excess of its normal quota. If the suppliers conform to the rules delay would be the result. The delay may even damage the interests of the military unit.
In this example, if the organisational interest is to be safeguarded somebody must violate the rules. Here, deviance stems from one’s strong identification and concern with the interests of the large organisation. 2. Deviance as a ‘Safety Valve’: A certain amount of deviance may perform a ‘safety valve’ function by preventing excessive accumulation of discontent. It may also reduce some amount of strain of the legitimate order. From this point of view, it may be said that prostitution serves such a ‘safety valve’ function. It provides some satisfaction to some unsatisfied needs without necessarily endangering the institution of the family.
3. Deviance may clarify the Rules: Social norms reduce some of the anxiety and uncertainty of social interaction by specifying rights and duties, and the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’. To do this task norms must be clear to all the participants. But some norms are often found to be vague and ambiguous.
“Don’t take what is not yours “, “Do your own work “, “Friends should stand by one another” and such other normative statements do not make clear the real meaning and expectation of the norms. One comes to know the range or the boundaries of norms only when deviance takes place. Thus, the deviant one renders an important service to the other members by providing an occasion for the clarification of a rule. Due to deviance people come to know more clearly than before what they may and may not legitimately do.
4. Deviance Helps the Unity of the Group (Against the Deviant): It is often said that a common enemy unites the members of a group. The deviant acts as a common enemy against whom the people get organised to revive and revitalise the weakening solidarity. The deviant, thus, functions as a ‘built-in’ out-group, and contributes to the integration of the group. 5. Deviance also helps to unite the Group on Behalf of the Deviant: Deviants are not external enemies. They are the people estranged from the norms.
They are to be set right. They cannot be destroyed or banished from the society. Because they perform a variety of functions for the group. Majority of the people try to keep the deviants within the group by helping them to come back to the conventional life. They try to protect the deviant from the consequences of his own deviance. The group shows its limitless patience and kindness in the face of provocation from the deviant member.
6. The Contrary Effect: Increasing Conformity: “The good deed shines brightest in a naughty world,” said Shakespeare. In the face of deviance even average conformity is appreciated. For example, the conductor who issues tickets to the passengers, or the police who refuses to accept the offer of bribe becomes a ‘model’. The deviants provide the contrast effect that makes conformity something “special’ and a source of satisfaction.
7. A Warning Signal: Deviance may also function as a signal light or warning. It invites attention to defects of organisation. For example, increases in absenteeism from work, ‘drop outs’ from primary schools, failures in college examinations, runaways from rehabilitation centres, deliberate defects of workmanship, etc., may compel re-examination of existing procedures.
Such instances lead to changes that contribute to efficiency and morale. Conclusion: Deviant behaviour is one way of adapting a culture to a social change. Deviant behaviour thus often represents tomorrow’s adaptations in their beginnings.
Without any deviant behaviour, it would be difficult to adopt a culture to changing needs and circumstances. A changing society therefore needs deviant behaviour. But how much and what kinds-are the debatable questions. Still it can be said that much deviation is destructive in nature.
Only some deviation is socially useful for they help us to forecast tomorrow’s norms.