How deviants help

Organizations may also try to design structures that avoid excessive socialization of new members. In a socialization process, two things are happening at the same time: (1) The code of received knowledge is learning from the beliefs and practices of individuals. (2) Individuals are learning the code. In such a system of mutual adaptation, individuals ‘get ahead’ by learning the code as rapidly as possible. The code, on the other hand, develops by learning from individuals who deviate from the code in a useful way. Thus, there is a system-level, long-term advantage in slowing socialization to the code (so that the code can learn), but an individual-level, short-run advantage in speeding socialization (March, 1991). Organizational structures that encourage rapid acculturation and socialization reduce the capabilities of the organization to learn from individual deviance.

Levinthal and March. (1993) “The Myopia of Learning”, p. 108.