Mechanisms of social cohesion

Many organizations rely on team building with the presumption that this will lead to positive effects only. Scandals in economic and welfare organizations as well as involving public authorities indicate otherwise – to mention just a few: “Dieselgate”, “Caritas” and the “Petrobras scandal”. These are cases of corporately committed deviance. They show that social cohesion and particularistic loyalty norms can contribute towards preventing confidants within the organization and the (work) group from externally reporting wrongdoing. This cumulative dissertation sheds light on group factors and processes that lead to deviant behavior. One focus in this dissertation is placed on social cohesion in groups, such as “esprit de corps”. Previous literature on social cohesion in groups has applied differing concepts and each concept has also been utilized from varying perspectives (both theoretically and empirically). To date, they are rather unclear in their conceptualization. Based on this substantial deficit, the first paper of this dissertation aims at improving the theoretical basis of esprit de corps as well as its influences on action (in regard to deviance). The second paper provides a theoretical foundation for examining group influences (e.g. moral norms and deterrence) in the causation of crime, within the framework of Situational Action Theory. Both of these papers provide a foundation for future empirical studies. The third paper delivers empirical results by means of a vignette-based factorial survey experiment on situations of conflict between group standards (e.g. loyalty) and general legal standards (e.g. laws). The main section of this dissertation consists of these three papers, offering insights into both theory and empirics as well as their interconnection.


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