Is there a single word for "insubordination by following rules exactly"? (I think there may be a military term for this.)

The phrase "Work to rule" is similar, but to me feels more connected to industrial action.


"Malicious compliance" is a term for adhering to the precise letter of one's orders and instructions ("the letter of the law"), even when one is well aware that to do so is counter-productive to the organization's best interests, and often counter to the intent of the orders as well.

Unfortunately, I could not, in reviewing about a dozen different links on the topic, find a reference that is not grinding an axe of some shape, so all I can present is the skeleton description from Wikipedia. If you're interested in the topic probably the best thing to do is Google it and try to extract bits of pertinent info from several different articles that pop up.


Within sports, this can be referred to as gamesmanship, sticking to the letter but not the "spirit" of the rules, and doing things which would be considered "unsporting" but not illegal.

It's like the opposite side of the coin to "sportsmanship".


protected by user140086 Jun 19 '16 at 21:37

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