Workplace Incivility: The Slow Death of Organizational Efficiency

Author Name(s): Prof. Shravan Chandak, Dr. Ruchi Sao, Prof. Pritam Bhadade
Author Email: chandaksj3@rknec.edu

Abstract

This study is an effort to identify various factors which contribute to workplace incivility and the identification of after effects of incivility at workplace through extensive literature review. Workplace incivility represents aberrant behaviors demonstrated either by superiors, co-workers and customers. These behaviors are of low intensity in comparison to workplace bullying and has ambiguous nature; i.e., there might be no specific intention to cause harm to the person. The band of incivility ranges from having negative behaviour which may also lead to verbal aggression and physical aggression in some cases. There are basically two occurrence of incivility namely overt instances and covert instances. The former includes instances which can be seen such as aggressive behaviour whereas the latter represent the instances which are hidden and may not be visible but may have a long lasting impact on the employees. The factors contributing to workplace incivility identified are organizational aspects, demographic variables, source of incivility, past experience to incivility, sociocultural perspectives and personality types. The outcomes of incivility can be on organizational wellbeing or individual wellbeing or both. Workplace incivility aggravates to employee dissatisfaction, turnover intention, low conscientiousness, high instances of ostracism, low employee morale, low affective commitment and many more which are detrimental to organizational efficiency. Various studies have shown that incivility has effects on mental and physical health of the target. Incivility may be experienced by an individual or individuals belonging to a particular strata characterized on the basis of age, colour, gender, race, designation, financial background, caste or religion and alike.

Keywords: Organizational Aspects, Past Experience to Incivility, Personality Types, Sociocultural Perspectives, Source of Incivility, Workplace Incivility

Introduction

Andersson and Pearson (1999) (p. 457) defined workplace incivility is defined as “low-intensity deviant behaviour with ambiguous intent to harm the target, in violation of workplace norms for mutual respect [1].” There are important components or characteristics that differentiate workplace incivility from other negative workplace behavioral constructs. It has low-intensity and actions are not perceived as overtly threatening by target; the intensions are difficult to discern; it involves violation of workplace norm for mutual respect and it can be instigated not only by supervisor but also by co-workers or customers [2]. However, incivility generally does not warrant legal attention unlike sabotage or harassment. Irrespective of type of work, it is almost certain that most of the employees in the today’s environment face incivility at workplace and such incidences appear to be on the rise [3].

Conclusion

On the basis of literature review, it can be concluded that organizational aspects, demographic variables, source of incivility, past experience to incivility, sociocultural perspectives and personality types contribute towards workplace incivility. The outcomes of incivility can be on organizational wellbeing or individual wellbeing or both. Figure 1 is the proposed conceptual model encompassing various dimensions of incivility.

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