Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Jamie S. Martin, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jennifer Roberts, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Erika Frenzel, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Timothy Austin, Ph.D.


This study sought to examine the relationship between employee deviance within restaurants and the components of social learning theory. The behaviors examined in this research were based on the research of Robinson and Bennett (1995, 2000) who defined employee deviance as two different categories of behavior – one directed against the organization (organizational deviance, production deviance, and property deviance), and the other directed against coworkers (interpersonal deviance). While the literature on employee deviance in restaurants is limited, very few studies take into account more than one type of deviant behavior. In addition, some studies suggest that social learning theory may play a role, but few, if any, studies have examined the relationship between this theory and the types of deviance that are prevalent in the restaurant industry. Therefore, the current study was one of the first examinations of the process of social learning within the restaurant industry, making a contribution to the literature on social learning theory and employee deviance in restaurants. This dissertation used a survey methodology to understand the extent of involvement in deviant behavior by restaurant employees, their coworkers’ involvement in a number of deviant behaviors, the perceived reaction of managers and coworkers to these behaviors, and individual attitudes and perceived attitudes of coworkers of deviance in the restaurant. The survey was administered via the Internet to a random sample of college students. Only those with experience in the restaurant industry were able to participate in the study. The results from this study suggest that while employee deviance occurs in the restaurant industry, it is not prevalent. Although restaurant employees may be involved in certain types of deviance more than others, they are not deviant often. In addition, only two of the measures of social learning, “imitation” and “definitions”, were significant in explaining increased involvement in employee deviance. This indicated that these two components help to understand employee deviance in restaurants more than the other social learning components.