The Psychology of Disenchantment

By Adrian Furnham

Justice has always been a major issue among people. Especially in an organisational context, where many employees with different values, interests, and problems have to act in concert, a fair treatment is of huge importance. People who face injustice may become dissatisfied with their job, superior, or organisation and hence turn into a threat for the organisation by showing Counter Work Behaviours (CWBs). This article looks at the perception of injustice at work, and further motivational factors of CWBs.

The Edmund Snowden case has very clearly shown the problem of the‭ ‬Insider Threat:‭ ‬the threat to organisations from people working in‭, ‬or for‭, ‬them‭. ‬It is not only governments and security services that are deeply concerned with the leaking of important secret information dramatically illustrated by Edward Snowden and Chelsea/Bradley Manning‭. ‬The leaking of seriously important information to the wider world can also break commercial organisations‭.‬

Insider Threat is the term most commonly used when referring to current and past employees, associates and contractors who possess sensitive information about an organisation’s internal systems, information, clients and operating procedures. They then sell or utilise their knowledge for an inappropriate or illegal purpose. This misuse of information causes damage to the organisation in the form of financial loss, loss of productivity, damage to reputation or may have some form of legal implication. These individuals may act alone or in concert with others to perpetrate a variety of crimes against the organisation.

But what are the motives of those who commit fraud, theft, who disclose confidential information or who commit sabotage? Are they simply greedy, criminal or pressured from outside for financial gain? Do they start out like this, or do they have such bad experiences in an organisation that they become bad apples?

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