A Workplace Incivility Roadmap: Identifying Theoretical Speedbumps and Alternative Routes for Future Research

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Abstract

Andersson and Pearson’s (1999) seminal article on workplace incivility has paved the way for nearly two decades of research focusing on rude and discourteous behavior at work. We now have a better understanding of the dynamics associated with uncivil workplace interactions including the characteristics of those who instigate and are targeted with workplace incivility, the negative consequences of incivility, the mechanisms that link incivility and negative outcomes, and the boundary conditions that affect these relationships. The present article provides a “roadmap” for workplace incivility researchers by identifying five assumptions that we propose are acting as “speedbumps” in current workplace incivility research by limiting advancements about what workplace incivility is and how it functions. We then introduce five “alternative routes” for future workplace incivility research based on these identifications. Our goal is to guide and accelerate research toward a more nuanced understanding of workplace incivility as behavior that occurs within an organizational system.

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