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Workplace Incivility : Investigating bystander behavior, well-being, and coping responses to perceived incivility

Holm, Kristoffer LU (2021)
Abstract
Workplace incivility has been found to be a ubiquitous phenomenon, with adverse effects for individuals, organizations and society. Over the past two decades, substantial research efforts have been made to increase knowledge about workplace incivility, including investigations of its targets and perpetrators. However, less research has been conducted on how workplace incivility impacts bystanders. Additionally, few studies have explored how individuals appraise and cope with experienced and witnessed workplace incivility. To address this research gap, the purpose of the present thesis is to contribute knowledge about the social process of workplace incivility. Specifically, the aim is to investigate the relationship between witnessed and... (More)
Workplace incivility has been found to be a ubiquitous phenomenon, with adverse effects for individuals, organizations and society. Over the past two decades, substantial research efforts have been made to increase knowledge about workplace incivility, including investigations of its targets and perpetrators. However, less research has been conducted on how workplace incivility impacts bystanders. Additionally, few studies have explored how individuals appraise and cope with experienced and witnessed workplace incivility. To address this research gap, the purpose of the present thesis is to contribute knowledge about the social process of workplace incivility. Specifically, the aim is to investigate the relationship between witnessed and instigated incivility as well as mediators and moderators of the relationship cross-sectionally in study I, and over time in study II. Study II also aims to explore the relationship between witnessed incivility and well-being over time, as well as a possible mediator of the relationship. Study III aims to contribute knowledge about coping processes associated with workplace incivility by investigating which types of appraisals and coping responses that are described as a result of experienced and witnessed workplace incivility.

Study I found that witnessed incivility, primarily from coworkers but also from supervisors, was positively related to instigated incivility. Perceived stress and job satisfaction did however not mediate the relationship between witnessed and instigated incivility. Witnessed coworker and supervisor incivility significantly interacted with control, social support from coworkers, and job embeddedness, predicting higher levels of instigated incivility. Additionally, a significant interaction between witnessed supervisor incivility and social support from supervisors was found. Results from study II showed that witnessed incivility was directly positively associated with instigated incivility over time, but the association was not stable across waves. Witnessed incivility was not directly related to wellbeing over time. Perceived organizational justice did neither mediate the relationship between witnessed and instigated incivility, nor between witnessed incivility and well-being over time. Control, social support from supervisors, and job embeddedness moderated the relationship between witnessed and instigated incivility over time, strengthening the association when levels of the moderators were high. The interactions were however not consistently observed over measurement waves. Study III found that experienced and witnessed incivility was primarily appraised as stressful, and that several different types of coping responses were elicited, such as active, passive, and pro-active coping behaviors. The process of coping with incivility was also tightly linked to the social process of how uncivil behaviors are transmitted through the workplace.

Taken together, the findings of the present thesis indicate that witnessed incivility may influence the bystanders’ behavior both in the short and long term, whereas well-being outcomes were more pronounced in the short term. Additionally, psychosocial work factors may enhance the spread of uncivil workplace behaviors. Lastly, individuals use a variety of responses to cope with workplace incivility, which may in turn result in the maintenance of an uncivil workplace culture. Overall, incivility in the workplace is a complex social phenomenon, with implications for bystanders’ behavior, well-being, and coping responses. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Ohövliga beteenden har visats vara ett vanligt förekommande fenomen, med negativa effekter för individer, organisationer och samhället. Under de senaste två decennierna har omfattande forskningsfokus lagts på att öka kunskapen kring ohövlighet i arbetslivet, bland annat genom att undersöka utsatta, och utövare av ohövlighet. Trots detta så har färre studier undersökt hur ohövliga beteenden påverkar åskådare, och de som bevittnar ohövliga beteenden på arbetsplatsen. Få studier har även utforskat hur individer uppfattar och bedömer (appraise) ohövliga beteenden, och vilka copingmekanismer som används i respons till både upplevda och bevittnade ohövliga beteenden. Den föreliggande avhandlingen syftar till att delvis fylla denna kunskapslucka,... (More)
Ohövliga beteenden har visats vara ett vanligt förekommande fenomen, med negativa effekter för individer, organisationer och samhället. Under de senaste två decennierna har omfattande forskningsfokus lagts på att öka kunskapen kring ohövlighet i arbetslivet, bland annat genom att undersöka utsatta, och utövare av ohövlighet. Trots detta så har färre studier undersökt hur ohövliga beteenden påverkar åskådare, och de som bevittnar ohövliga beteenden på arbetsplatsen. Få studier har även utforskat hur individer uppfattar och bedömer (appraise) ohövliga beteenden, och vilka copingmekanismer som används i respons till både upplevda och bevittnade ohövliga beteenden. Den föreliggande avhandlingen syftar till att delvis fylla denna kunskapslucka, genom att öka kunskapen om den sociala processen kring ohövliga beteenden. Mer specifikt syftar avhandlingen till att undersöka sambandet mellan bevittnad och utövad ohövlighet samt möjliga mediatorer och moderatorer av dessa samband i tvärsnitt i studie I, och över tid i studie II. Studie II har även som syfte att undersöka sambandet mellan bevittnad ohövlighet och välbefinnande över tid, samt en möjlig mediator i detta samband. Studie III syftar till att bidra med kunskap om copingprocesser associerade med ohövliga beteenden genom att undersöka hur ohövliga beteenden uppfattas och bedöms, samt vilka typer av coping-responser som beskrivs till följd av upplevd och bevittnad ohövlighet på arbetsplatsen.

Studie I fann att bevittnad ohövlighet, främst från kollegor men även från chef, var positivt relaterat till självrapporterad utövad ohövlighet. Upplevd stress och yrkestillfredsställelse medierade inte sambandet mellan bevittnad och utövad ohövlighet. Individer som rapporterade höga nivåer av bevittnad ohövlighet från kollegor och chefer, tillsammans med höga nivåer av kontroll, social stöd från kollegor, och förankring i organisationen, var än mer benägna att rapportera att de själva utövat ohövliga beteenden. Individer som rapporterade höga nivåer av ohövlighet från chef, samt höga nivåer av socialt stöd från chef, rapporterade också högre nivåer av utövad ohövlighet. Resultat från studie II visade att bevittnad ohövlighet var direkt positivt relaterat till utövad ohövlighet över tid. Detta samband observerades däremot inte konsekvent över flera mättillfällen. Bevittnad ohövlighet var inte relaterat till välbefinnande över tid. Upplevd organisatorisk rättvisa medierade inte sambanden mellan varken bevittnad och utövad ohövlighet, eller mellan bevittnad ohövlighet och välbefinnande, över tid. Sambandet mellan att bevittna och utöva ohövlighet över tid var starkare för de individer som rapporterade höga nivåer av kontroll, social stöd från chef, och förankring i organisationen. Dessa interaktioner observerades däremot inte heller konsekvent över flera mättillfällen. Studie III fann att upplevd och bevittnad ohövlighet främst uppfattades som stressande, och att flera olika typer av coping-responser användes, vilket inkluderade både aktiva, passiva, och proaktiva beteenden. Copingprocessen framstod även som tätt kopplad till den sociala processen av hur ohövliga beteenden kan spridas på arbetsplatsen.

Sammantaget tyder resultaten från den föreliggande avhandlingen på att bevittnad ohövlighet kan påverka åskådarnas beteende både på kort och lång sikt. Sambandet mellan bevittnad ohövlighet och åskådarnas välbefinnande observerades främst på kort sikt. Utöver detta visade resultaten även på att psykosociala faktorer riskerar att förstärka spridningsprocessen av ohövliga beteenden på arbetsplatsen. Slutligen visade även fynden på att individer kan använda en mängd olika coping-beteenden i respons till ohövlighet på arbetsplatsen, vilket kan resultera i vidmakthållandet av en ohövlig arbetsplatskultur. Ohövlighet i arbetslivet är sammanfattningsvis ett komplext socialt fenomen, med implikationer för åskådares beteende, hälsa, och coping-responser. (Less)
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author
supervisor
opponent
  • Professor Sverke, Magnus, Stockholm University
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Workplace Incivility, Bystander, Social Learning Theory, Coping, Workplace Behavior, Well-Being
pages
172 pages
publisher
Lund University
defense location
zoom
defense date
2021-02-19 10:00:00
ISBN
978-91-7895-737-8
978-91-7895-738-5
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
7e2039dd-860d-4708-aa23-06620582c41b
date added to LUP
2021-01-22 16:17:47
date last changed
2021-01-28 21:31:32
@phdthesis{7e2039dd-860d-4708-aa23-06620582c41b,
  abstract     = {Workplace incivility has been found to be a ubiquitous phenomenon, with adverse effects for individuals, organizations and society. Over the past two decades, substantial research efforts have been made to increase knowledge about workplace incivility, including investigations of its targets and perpetrators. However, less research has been conducted on how workplace incivility impacts bystanders. Additionally, few studies have explored how individuals appraise and cope with experienced and witnessed workplace incivility. To address this research gap, the purpose of the present thesis is to contribute knowledge about the social process of workplace incivility.  Specifically, the aim is to investigate the relationship between witnessed and instigated incivility as well as mediators and moderators of the relationship cross-sectionally in study I, and over time in study II. Study II also aims to explore the relationship between witnessed incivility and well-being over time, as well as a possible mediator of the relationship. Study III aims to contribute knowledge about coping processes associated with workplace incivility by investigating which types of appraisals and coping responses that are described as a result of experienced and witnessed workplace incivility.<br/><br/>Study I found that witnessed incivility, primarily from coworkers but also from supervisors, was positively related to instigated incivility. Perceived stress and job satisfaction did however not mediate the relationship between witnessed and instigated incivility. Witnessed coworker and supervisor incivility significantly interacted with control, social support from coworkers, and job embeddedness, predicting higher levels of instigated incivility. Additionally, a significant interaction between witnessed supervisor incivility and social support from supervisors was found. Results from study II showed that witnessed incivility was directly positively associated with instigated incivility over time, but the association was not stable across waves. Witnessed incivility was not directly related to wellbeing over time. Perceived organizational justice did neither mediate the relationship between witnessed and instigated incivility, nor between witnessed incivility and well-being over time. Control, social support from supervisors, and job embeddedness moderated the relationship between witnessed and instigated incivility over time, strengthening the association when levels of the moderators were high. The interactions were however not consistently observed over measurement waves. Study III found that experienced and witnessed incivility was primarily appraised as stressful, and that several different types of coping responses were elicited, such as active, passive, and pro-active coping behaviors. The process of coping with incivility was also tightly linked to the social process of how uncivil behaviors are transmitted through the workplace. <br/><br/>Taken together, the findings of the present thesis indicate that witnessed incivility may influence the bystanders’ behavior both in the short and long term, whereas well-being outcomes were more pronounced in the short term. Additionally, psychosocial work factors may enhance the spread of uncivil workplace behaviors. Lastly, individuals use a variety of responses to cope with workplace incivility, which may in turn result in the maintenance of an uncivil workplace culture. Overall, incivility in the workplace is a complex social phenomenon, with implications for bystanders’ behavior, well-being, and coping responses.},
  author       = {Holm, Kristoffer},
  isbn         = {978-91-7895-737-8},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {Lund University},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {Workplace Incivility : Investigating bystander behavior, well-being, and coping responses to perceived incivility},
  url          = {https://lup.lub.lu.se/search/ws/files/90339860/e_spik_ex_Holm.pdf},
  year         = {2021},
}