Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Criminology and Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Gabriela Wasileski, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Alida Merlo, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Bitna Kim, Ph.D.


Based upon 20 in-depth interviews with employees who previously worked within the steakhouse-buffet, as well as years of (retrospective) participant observation as a server in the research setting – this thesis explores the nature of occupational stress as it relates to norm-violation and occasional law-breaking associated within the setting of the steakhouse-buffet. The research focuses on restaurant social structure, its unique culture, and the relationships between patrons, servers, cashiers, kitchen workers, and management. With similar eateries found in many towns and cities, this research pertains, at least indirectly, to a wide if not global audience. This thesis integrates aspects of role theory by exploring how actors in the restaurant setting perform a variety of functions that occasionally result in role stress. Styles of norm-breaking and social deviance, including some legal infractions, emerge in what must be seen as a complex, often stressful, and sometimes chaotic social system. The varieties of social deviation found in the steakhouse restaurant that arguably result from the acquirement of role-stresses are cross-referenced with interview respondents’ accounts/narratives. The collected accounts/narratives that have been analyzed provide an argument establishing some linkages between occupational stress and justifications for employee deviance or law-breaking.