Positive deviance

From WikiMD's Food, Medicine & Wellness Encyclopedia

Positive Deviance is a sociological concept that refers to behaviors or strategies that enable high performance while deviating from established norms. The term was first used by sociologists to describe individuals or groups who, despite facing similar challenges as their peers, are able to achieve better outcomes through unconventional methods.

Concept[edit | edit source]

The concept of Positive Deviance is based on the observation that in every community or organization, there are people who solve problems in unique and superior ways. These individuals or groups, known as "positive deviants," achieve these results not through luck or resources, but through a different approach to the problem. The Positive Deviance approach is a problem-solving, asset-based approach used in behavior change and organizational development.

Application[edit | edit source]

Positive Deviance has been applied in various fields such as public health, education, and business. In public health, it has been used to address issues such as malnutrition, HIV/AIDS, and infection prevention. In education, it has been used to improve student performance and school outcomes. In business, it has been used to improve organizational performance and innovation.

Methodology[edit | edit source]

The Positive Deviance approach involves four basic steps: identifying the problem, determining the presence of positive deviants, discovering their uncommon practices or behaviors, and designing an intervention to promote these behaviors in the community or organization. This approach is different from traditional problem-solving methods as it focuses on solutions that are already working in the system rather than importing solutions from outside.

Criticism[edit | edit source]

While the Positive Deviance approach has been praised for its effectiveness in solving complex problems, it has also faced criticism. Some critics argue that it oversimplifies complex social issues and overlooks structural factors that contribute to these problems. Others argue that it places too much emphasis on individual behavior change and not enough on systemic change.

See Also[edit | edit source]


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD