Further Understanding Incivility in the Workplace: The Effects of Gender, Agency, and Communion

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Abstract

Research conducted on workplace incivility—a low intensity form of deviant behavior—has generally shown that women report higher levels of incivility at work. However, to date, it is unclear as to whether women are primarily treated uncivilly by men (i.e., members of the socially dominant group/out-group) or other women (i.e., members of in-group) in organizations. In light of different theorizing surrounding gender and incivility, we examine whether women experience increased incivility from other women or men, and whether this effect is amplified for women who exhibit higher agency and less communion at work given that these traits and behaviors violate stereotypical gender norms. Across three complementary studies, results indicate that women report experiencing more incivility from other women than from men, with this effect being amplified for women who are more agentic at work. Further, agentic women who experience increased female-instigated incivility from their coworkers report lower well-being (job satisfaction, psychological vitality) and increased work withdrawal (turnover intentions). Theoretical implications tied to gender and incivility are discussed.

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