Making APA Civil Again: The Efforts and Outcomes of the Civility Working Group

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Although the American Psychological Association (APA) has had challenges with incivility among its membership and ranks, APA leadership proactively assembled a working group in 2016 to develop policies and procedures to “develop aspirational civility principles as well as procedures for all forms of direct in-person communication and online messages and postings within and on behalf of APA.” A diverse working group team then worked closely with APA leadership and council membership as well as investigated best practices and guidelines in the literature about civility in workplace environments. The resulting APA implementation plan was supported with over 90% approval by the APA Council and will be rolled out as soon as feasible. Civility expectations, operational definitions of both civility and incivility, and assigned civility ambassadors for all APA committees and listservs will hopefully result in an organizational culture shift toward more civility. Time will tell if these efforts will be successful and sustainable, but in the current societal and cultural environment where incivility appears commonplace, APA is moving in a more positive and civilized direction. This brief article highlights APA’s recent efforts to make civility a priority throughout the organization.

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