Even more possible evidence that the weirdos of the world provide crucial social utility! Researchers at Wichita State University have published their findings in the Journal of Social Psychology.
“Drawing on the labeling perspective of deviance, we investigate employee reactions to coworkers perceived as deviants. We look at two positive effects for employees in the presence of a deviant coworker. First, in comparison to a deviant individual, other employees can draw more positive conclusions about themselves; and second, a deviant can be informative about organizational norms, thereby improving employee role clarity. We also examine individual and situational moderators. For the purpose of the study, we developed a measure of the presence of a deviant. The hypothesized relationships were tested in two large samples using multiple regression analyses. The results revealed that in the presence of a deviant coworker, employees reported enhanced self-evaluation. The presence of a deviant coworker was associated with better role clarity only for employees with more interdependent jobs.