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Tit for Tat? The Spiraling Effect of Incivility in the Workplace

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Tit for Tat? The Spiraling Effect of Incivility in the Workplace

Abstract

In this article we introduce the concept of workplace incivility and explain how incivility can potentially spiral into increasingly intense aggressive behaviors. To gain an understanding of the mechanisms that underlie an "incivility spiral," we examine what happens at key points: the starting and tipping points. Furthermore, we describe several factors that can facilitate the occurrence and escalation of an incivility spiral and the secondary spirals that can result. We offer research propositions and discuss implications of workplace incivility for researchers and practitioners.
Copyright © 1999. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1999. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1999. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1999. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1999. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1999. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1999. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1999. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1999. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1999. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1999. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1999. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1999. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1999. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1999. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1999. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1999. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1999. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1999. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1999. All rights reserved.
... From 1999, a distinct stream of research concentrated on workplace incivility as a unique and less intensive form of interpersonal mistreatment in organizations (Teng, Qian, & Qu, 2021;Liu, Xiao, He, Wang, & Li, 2020;Alola, Olugbade, Avci, & Öztüren, 2019;Arasli, Hejraty Namin, & Abubakar, 2018;Cho, Bonn, Han, & Lee, 2016;Porath & Pearson, 2013;Pearson, Andersson, & Porath, 2005;Andersson & Pearson, 1999). Workplace incivility has been introduced and defined by Andersson and Pearson (1999, p. 457) as "low-intensity deviant behavior with ambiguous intent to harm the target, in violation of workplace norms for mutual respect. ...
... Although there is a substantial overlap between workplace incivility and other mistreatment constructs such as antisocial behavior, deviance, violence, aggression, emotional abuse, and social undermining at work (Andersson & Pearson, 1999;O'Leary-Kelly, Duffy, & Griffin, 2000), these forms of negative treatments have differences in several dimensions such as intention to harm, the type of norm violation, continuation, their targets, and intensity of the actions (Pearson, Andersson, & Porath, 2005). According to Andersson and Pearson (1999), employees' antisocial behavior is inclusive of the other concepts of mistreatment in the workplace that intent harm to the organization and/or the members. ...
... Although there is a substantial overlap between workplace incivility and other mistreatment constructs such as antisocial behavior, deviance, violence, aggression, emotional abuse, and social undermining at work (Andersson & Pearson, 1999;O'Leary-Kelly, Duffy, & Griffin, 2000), these forms of negative treatments have differences in several dimensions such as intention to harm, the type of norm violation, continuation, their targets, and intensity of the actions (Pearson, Andersson, & Porath, 2005). According to Andersson and Pearson (1999), employees' antisocial behavior is inclusive of the other concepts of mistreatment in the workplace that intent harm to the organization and/or the members. Employee's deviant behavior, as a type of antisocial behavior, violates organizational norms and contains employee aggression and incivility. ...
Thesis
Given the different norms across cultures, industries, and organizations, every workplace accepts a number of shared moral understandings as to its own respect norms among the members. However, in today’s global workplace, behavior has more nuances due to the speed and complexity of interpersonal interactions. Workplace incivility is a notable example of a unique form of interpersonal mistreatment in the organization with its low intensity and ambiguous intention of harming the target. With the aim of contributing to the current knowledge, the main purpose of this thesis is to provide a better understanding of workplace incivility perception among frontline employees in the service industry context. Turnover, on the other hand, is a big issue in the tourism and hospitality sectors that results in excessive costs for recruiting and training service employees. As an important source of job stress caused by negative interpersonal interactions, workplace incivility could be a critical antecedent of employees’ turnover. Therefore, the other purpose of this thesis is to shed more light on the employees’ responses to workplace incivility in terms of turnover intentions. Moreover, the current thesis is also aimed to investigate the role of a positive working environment, as environmental factors, as well as individual differences, as personal factors, in the perception of workplace incivility and its effect on turnover intention. This thesis consists of one systematic review and meta-analysis study, one quantitative empirical paper, and one exploratory paper. Firstly, in line with the purpose of the thesis, a deep review of the workplace incivility literature, in twenty years period, was conducted to provide an early meta-analysis of the relationship between employees’ perceptions of workplace incivility and their turnover intentions in the first paper. This paper investigated the consistency of the incivility–turnover relationship across different sources of workplace incivility (i.e., customer, coworker, supervisor incivility), as well as incivility measures, industries, and countries. The results from the first paper confirm a significant positive relationship between workplace incivility (regardless of the source) and employees’ turnover intention. Following up on this result, the second paper aims to examine to what extent the working environment can affect frontline employees’ perception of workplace incivility and their turnover intentions in the hotel and restaurant industry in Norway. In this quantitative paper, the effect of a perceived caring climate, as an environmental factor, on employees’ turnover intention through a serial multiple mediation model including coworker incivility and emotional exhaustion. The result of the structural equation modeling (SEM) analysis reveals that the perception of caring climate in the workplace has not only a direct negative effect on turnover intention but also has indirect effects through a reduction in both coworker incivility and emotional exhaustion. This result emphasizes the important role of environmental factors in the workplace (i.e., caring climate) in employees’ perceptions of incivility and their responses in terms of turnover intention. Given the same sample set, the third paper is an exploratory study that looks at individual differences as personal factors in the perception of workplace incivility, social supports at work, and intention to turnover through applying cluster analysis. Specifically, this study explores if it is possible to identify distinct groups of employees that perceive and behave differently from other groups. The results of K-means cluster analysis and one-way ANOVA indicate three different clusters/groups of frontline employees with different demographic and behavioral profiles. Taken together, the findings of the present thesis provide valuable insights into our knowledge about the incivility–turnover relationship in service work environments, as well as a better understanding of the role of environmental and personal factors in such a relationship.
... These interpretations and perspectives have resulted in the development of several constructs and definitions. To better describe organizational misconduct, organizational scholars have concentrated on specific misbehavior phenomena and have developed numerous constructs, such as mobbing (Leymann, 1990), workplace aggression (Neuman and Baron, 1998), incivility (Andersson and Pearson, 1999), social undermining (Duffy et al., 2002), victimization (Aquino et al., 1999), abusive supervision (Tepper, 2000), interpersonal conflict (Spector and Jex, 1998), counterproductive work behaviors (CWBs) (Fox and Spector, 1999), interpersonal deviance (Bennett and Robinson, 2000) and workplace aggression (Greenberg and Barling, 1999). The purpose of this study is to review the constructs defining and explaining OMB. ...
... workplace aggression (Baron and Neuman, 1996); emotional abuse (Keashly, 1998)], while others ignore intention [e.g. incivility (Andersson and Pearson, 1999); ostracism (Robinson et al., 2013)]. ...
Article
Purpose Organizational misbehavior (OMB) is a complex phenomenon for researchers and a major issue facing practitioners because of both its copious negative individual and organizational outcomes and its complexity. Researchers and practitioners are increasingly becoming aware of different types of work-related misbehaviors and their significant and costly consequences for both employees and organizations. OMB can take many forms, and a plethora of terms have been introduced to describe those OMBs. This article aims to review the constructs describing workplace misbehaviors in current organizational behavior literature. Design/methodology/approach The authors used a qualitative systematic review to organize OMB-related constructs. Findings This paper provides a review of workplace misbehavior constructs and a broader, more organized picture of OMB by developing a hierarchical reflective model. It highlights some challenges that the OMB literature needs to overcome. Originality/value Unlike previous review articles that primarily focused on workplace misbehaviors intended to cause harm or damage, this review includes misbehaviors intended to both damage and benefit.
... Employees' unpleasant communications indicate a maltreatment spiral and the appearance of more malicious behaviors. However, managers must be energetically engaged and avert these work misbehaviors (Andersson and Pearson, 1999). Therefore, we suggest some valuable implications for the management of private universities of Pakistan. ...
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Unsustainable HR practices impose illegitimate tasks on employees due to a shortage of resources. These illegitimate tasks bring counterproductive work behavior in terms of workplace incivility that creates a sense of ostracism in employees. To address these issues, the study examined the relationship among unsustainable HR practices in terms of illegitimate tasks and workplace ostracism. Whereas workplace incivility is defined as an underlying reason through which this association exists. Adopting a theoretical framework from earlier research, the study used cross-sectional data and subsequently a method of quantitative research, and the sample comprised permanent faculty members of private universities in Pakistan working in different departments with different role titles. Smart PLS was applied to run multiple statistics analyzed on the obtained data. The results from the study supported the hypothesis by depicting a positive and significant association between illegitimate tasks and workplace ostracism. Further, workplace incivility was playing the mediating role between illegitimate tasks and workplace ostracism. The results from the study carry significant implications for managers and researchers. Recommendations and future research directions are also discussed in the paper.
... In the realm of organization and management studies, the dark side metaphor has been used to suggest a new concern with issues that have historically been disregarded, ignored, or concealed (Linstead et al., 2014). Their research focuses on behavior that are damaging to both humans (Andersson and Pearson, 1999;Tepper et al., 2007;Bjørkelo, 2013) and organization (Bennett and Robinson, 2000;Anand et al., 2005). In the field of organizational sociology, Vaughan (1999) believes that the dark side may be regarded as "routine non-conformity, " which can be utilized to demonstrate why things will constantly go wrong, and that dark side research can enhance policy and practice by uncovering causal structures and processes. ...
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The dark side of entrepreneurship, especially the dark side of student entrepreneurship, has received little attention from academia. This study tries to examine the dark side of entrepreneurship among students in Chinese universities. Employing qualitative method by conducting semi-structured interview with students at the universities. Our study identifies the unproductive and destructive factors that drive the dark side of student entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship costs that accompany students in the process of entrepreneurship are usually time pressure, academic conflict, and even health damage. There is a huge discrepancy between the knowledge given to students by universities and the knowledge required for entrepreneurship, and college students frequently lack entrepreneurial knowledge and business logic. In China, the use of inappropriate policy tools has decoupled the student entrepreneurship policies it pursues from the purpose the policies are supposed to serve. In so doing, this study contributes to the micro-level of the notion of the dark side of student entrepreneurship.
... Incivility encompasses a broad range of hurtful behaviours such as rude speech, disruptive behaviour, demeaning comments (Lachman, 2015), failure to respond (Clark et al., 2014), trying to hurt/embarrass/annoy others (Rafferty & Vander Ven, 2014) and violating the norms of mutual respect (Andersson & Pearson, 1999). Incivility can affect cooperative learning (Feldmann, 2001). ...
Article
This study examined the relationship between incivility and mental health and how rumination moderates the effect of incivility on mental health. Participants were 802 Chinese nursing students (female = 90.6%; mean age = 19.8 years, SD = 1.31 years). They completed measurements of incivility, rumination, and mental health. Hayes’s PROCESS v 3.5 was used to examine the nomological network among incivility, rumination, and mental health. The results indicated that incivility experience was highly related to mental health among nursing students and rumination enhanced the effect of incivility on mental health. Male students reported less rumination than female students. Rumination moderated the relationship between incivility and mental health. Incivility experience was associated with lower mental health for those who reported to ruminate more. These study findings provide evidence to suggest a need to provide gendered counselling to reduce rumination; thereby mitigating the risk to mental health due to incivility experience.
... Organizational vice Uvnäs-Moberg (1997) Betraying the trust of colleagues at workplace Retaliation Skarlicki & Folger (1997) Hostile reactions by the dissatisfied employees Dysfunctional Behavior Griffin et al. (1998) Actions by employees or groups of employees that have negative consequence for an individual, a group, and/or the organization itself. Workplace Incivility Andersson & Pearson (1999) The deviant Behavior with intent to harm the organizational culture by behaving rudely with coworkers. ...
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Our research extends past envy research by considering how envy and gender congruence shape interpersonal dynamics at the dyadic level and their bottom-up effects for team performance. Integrating social comparison theory and social identity theory, we examine when and how dyadic level envy influences team performance. Using time-lagged data from 428 dyads of 161 employees in 51 teams, our results show that envious employees are likely to engage in interpersonal deviance directed toward envied team members and that envied employees are likely to seek advice from envious team members. Gender congruence further influences these relationships, with different patterns for males and females. Specifically, while envious male employees are more likely to engage in interpersonal deviance toward envied male team members (i.e., male–male dyads), envied female team members are more likely to ask envious female employees for advice (i.e., female–female dyads). Interpersonal dynamics involving envy have performance implications, such that team performance is worse where envious employees are more likely to engage in interpersonal deviance directed toward envied team members, in comparison to teams where this relationship is weaker. Finally, collective team identification mitigates the negative effect of envious employees’ interpersonal deviance on team performance.
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