Is All Incivility Created Equal? Exploring A Multifoci Approach To Studying Workplace Incivility Through The Lens of Power and Social Hierarchy
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Workplace incivility, a form of workplace mistreatment, has lasting effects on both individuals and organizations. What is less clear, however, is how power and status differences between those involved in uncivil interactions affect outcomes for targets. To address this gap in the literature, this study examines experiences of incivility from the target’s perspective, taking into account power and status characteristics of the target (in the form of occupational position, sex, race, and occupational rank) and instigator (in the form of occupational position). Such status characteristics may affect the experience of uncivil behavior and the subsequent impact on work outcomes for targets. Structural equation models (SEM) were used to test hypotheses using data from an online faculty climate survey (N = 1,583; 42% female) at a large Southern university. Results showed differential effects of incivility on outcomes due to status differentials between the occupational positions of targets and instigators. More specifically, administrator-to-faculty incivility had the strongest relationships with academic turnover intentions, job turnover intentions, and job satisfaction, followed by faculty-to-faculty incivility, and staff-to-faculty incivility. Student-to-faculty incivility exhibited a significant relationship with academic turnover intentions. However, no significant relationships emerged for student-to-faculty incivility on job satisfaction or job turnover intentions. To further examine how power and status differentials may affect the relationship between incivility from different sources and outcomes, multigroup SEM models were used to test the moderating effect of additional target status characteristics (sex, race, and organizational rank) on target outcomes. Neither achieved (occupational position and tenure status) nor ascribed (sex) status characteristics of the target showed significant moderating effects. Finally, because there were estimation problems with the race multigroup SEM models, no hypotheses regarding race could be tested. Overall, results showed that top-down incivility had the strongest negative effect on job outcomes, followed by lateral and bottom-up incivility. These findings highlight the importance of power and status differentials on the relationship between workplace incivility and job outcomes.
January, Samantha Chalupa (2018). Is All Incivility Created Equal? Exploring A Multifoci Approach To Studying Workplace Incivility Through The Lens of Power and Social Hierarchy. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from