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I know I've seen this word somewhere before. It's when a subordinate follows instructions exactly as given when the subordinate knows that the instructions will result in a negative effect (damage to systems, broken processes, etc).

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  • Do you mean the subodrinate acts despite his knowledge of the possible negative effects? Are you looking for a noun, an adjective, or an idiomatic expression? Jan 27 '15 at 19:09
  • The subordinate knows that their following of the instructions would result in bad things happening but do it anyway. I think it's more of an idiomatic expression.
    – Mat
    Jan 27 '15 at 19:13
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Malicious compliance is one phrase, although there might be a better one out there. As @StoneyB points out in the comments, in a union environment it would be called "work to rule" or rule-book slowdown.

An example of malicious compliance is if someone says to me "Drop that dirty dish in the sink for me, would you?" and I actually drop it in the sink knowing that the dish will break instead of placing it in the sink as the asker obviously intended me to do.

An example of "work to rule" is this article in a local paper, Teachers institute ‘work to rule’ plan

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I think that the word you're looking for is "compliant":

: willing to do whatever you are asked or ordered to do : ready and willing to comply

: agreeing with a set of rules, standards, or requirements

If not, you can look up synonyms for it in a thesaurus.

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    I don't think compliant captures the sort of malicious intent of the person that will do what you say to the letter even if they are fully aware that the result of doing that will not be what you intended. If someone says "Drop that dirty dish in the sink for me, would you?" and I drop it in the sink knowing it will break instead of placing it in the sink as the asker intended me to do, I'm not being compliant.
    – ColleenV
    Jan 27 '15 at 19:23
  • Agree with ColleenV - even if the person doesn't have malicious intent, the guilt they assume through lack of action should also be conveyed in the word.
    – michelle
    Jan 27 '15 at 19:26

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