Below are recent publications on Positive Deviance including articles, books and blogs that caught our eyes.

To feature a publication on this page, please directly email us and include the link of the publication.


General      |    Business    |    Education    |    International Development    |    Child Development

Health Care   |   Nutrition   |   Public/Global Health   |  Governance/Civil Society   | Wisdom Series


- "Book review: The Power of Positive Deviance", The World Bank

"Exceptional responders in conservation"Society for Conservation Biology

- “Dr. Arvind Singhal on Finding Positive Deviants”, UTEP Population Health

- "Nuts and Bolts: Positive Deviance"Learning Solutions

- "Positive Deviance: A Non-Normative Approach to Health and Risk Messaging"Arvind Singhal, Lucia Dura

- "Positive Deviance: An Elegant Solution to a Complex Problem", Curt Lindberg, Thomas Clancy for Managing Organizational Complexity

- "On PD and Ebola" Equal Times

- "Positive Deviance in Theory and Practice: A Conceptual Review", Matthew J. Herington, Elske van de Fliert

- Positive deviance, big data, and development: A systematic literature review”, Basma Albanna, Richard Heeks

- “Professor’s Efforts Make UTEP a Hub for Positive Deviance”, UTEP

- "Quality Improvement Approaches: Positive Deviance"Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

- “Should Positive Deviance be my next Big Thing?”, From Poverty to Power

- Social Justice Initiative: Just Drum Roll, The University of Texas at El Paso

- "The practicalities of change: Positive deviance and land reform in Vanuatu"Developmental Leadership Program

"Unleashing the power of positive deviance",

- "Using a 'Positive Deviance' Framework to Discover Adaptive Risk Reduction Behaviors Among High-Risk HIV Negative Black Men Who Have Sex with Men", AIDS and Behavior

- Why some children from poor families do well—an in-depth analysis of positive deviance cases in Singapore”, Chelsea J.Y. Cheang, Esther C. L. Goh

- The Power of Positive Deviance: How Unlikely Innovators Solve the World's Toughest Problems


Book Summary

Think of the toughest problems in your organization or community. What if hey’d already been solved, and you didn’t even know it? 

In this inspiring and paradigm-shifting book, Richard Pascale, Jerry Sternin, and Monique Sternin turn conventional ideas about problem-solving upside down and reveal a counterintuitive new approach. Their advice? Harness the power of “positive deviants”—the few individuals in a group who find unique ways to look at, and overcome, seemingly insoluble problems. Positive deviants see solutions where others don’t. And they’re the key to spreading and sustaining needed change.

With vivid, first-hand stories of how positive deviance has alleviated some of the world’s toughest problems (including malnutrition in Vietnam and staph infections in hospitals), the authors illuminate this approach’s core principles and practices, including:

  • Initiating an open, curious inquiry into the nature of the problem

  • Using innovative behaviors to shape new thinking, rather than vice versa

  • Confounding the organizational “immune response” seeking to sustain the status quo

  • The Power of Positive Deviance unveils a powerful new way to tackle the thorniest challenges in your own company and community.


About the Authors

Richard Pascale is an associate fellow at Said Business School, and author or co-author of numerous books, including Managing on the Edge. 

Jerry Sternin was the world’s leading expert in the application of Positive Deviance as a tool for addressing social and behavioral change.

Monique Sternin has been an equal partner in these efforts and now heads the Positive Deviance Institute at Tufts University.




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Public/Global Health

- "Complete Child Immunisation: A Cluster Analysis of Positive Deviant Regions in Ghana"Paul Kyere

"Deviance and resistance Malaria elimination in GMS"Chris Lyttleton

- “Identification and Characterization of Families That Are Positively Deviant for Childhood Obesity in a Latino Population: A Case-Control Study”, Byron A. Foster, Christian A. Aquino, Sharol Mejia, Barbara J. Turner, and Arvind Singhal

- "Positive deviance as a novel tool in malaria control and elimination: methodology, qualitative assessment and future potential"Malaria Journal

- "Sanitation and Health practices: A Positive Deviance study of three Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) host villages in Uganda"Jannette Abalo

- “The Development of a Positive Deviancy Strategy to Identify Excellence in Patient Experience”, Rubens, Chen, Ramsay, Forster, Wells, Sundaresan

- “The Positive-Deviance approach for translating evidence into practice to improve patient retention in HIV care”, BMC Health Services Central

- "The potential of positive deviance approach for the sustainable control of neglected tropical diseases", Tropical Medicine and Health

- “The Sweet Taste of Health: A Positive Deviance Inquiry into Communicative Acts that Lead to Effective Management of Diabetes Among Hispanics”, Claudia Martinez Boyd, UTEP

- Using a ‘Positive Deviance’ Framework to Discover Adaptive Risk Reduction Behaviors Among High-Risk HIV Negative Black Men Who Have Sex with Men”, Lucia Dura, Arvind Singhal

- "Using a positive deviance framework to identify Local Health Departments in Communities with exceptional maternal and child health outcomes: a cross sectional study."BMC Public Health

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Wisdom Series

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Download Japanese PDF

The Positive Deviance Wisdom Series is a collection of powerful stories about how the Positive Deviance (PD) approach has been used in the field. The Positive Deviance Initiative, in collaboration with the Social Justice Initiative in the Department of Communication at University of Texas El Paso, invites readers to explore the use of the Positive Deviance approach to address intractable social problems with local resources and wisdom.  

These highly illustrated, and captivating case studies document the use of Positive Deviance approach to reduce malnutrition in Vietnam, increase school retention in Argentina, reintegrate child soldiers and vulnerable girls in Uganda, and reduce hospital acquired infections in the United States. Please share widely with students, scholars, and practitioners who value asset-based, culturally-appropriate, and indigenous wisdom approaches to social change.  

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