When Does Incivility Lead to Counterproductive Work Behavior? Roles of Job Involvement, Task Interdependence, and Gender

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This research investigated the conditions under which exposure to incivility at work was associated with engaging in counterproductive work behavior (CWB). Drawing from stressor-strain and coping frameworks, we predicted that experienced incivility would be associated with engaging in production deviance and withdrawal behavior, and that these relationships would be strongest for employees who had high levels of job involvement and worked under task interdependent conditions. Gender differences in these effects were also investigated. A sample of 250 United States full-time employees from various occupations completed 2 waves (timed 6 weeks apart) of an online survey. Results indicate that employees with high job involvement were more likely to engage in production deviance and withdrawal behavior following exposure to incivility than were employees with low job involvement. The moderating effect of task interdependence varied by gender, such that the relationship between incivility and CWB was strengthened under high task interdependence for female employees, but weakened under high task interdependence for male employees. These findings highlight that certain work conditions can increase employees’ susceptibility to the impacts of incivility, leading to harmful outcomes for organizations.

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