Workplace Incivility as an International Issue

The role of HRD

Authored by: Thomas G. Reio

The Routledge Companion to Human Resource Development

Print publication date:  October  2014
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415820424
eBook ISBN: 9780203386446
Adobe ISBN: 9781136727061


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HRD professionals need to be aware that incivility is prevalent in organizations, as it can be targeted towards coworkers, supervisors, supervisees, vendors and customers. In a US study of one healthcare and two manufacturing companies, Trudel and Reio (2011) found that roughly 86 per cent of the participants experienced incivility over the past year; 90 per cent admitted instigating it during the same time period. Moreover, incivility is not only prevalent, but on the rise. Porath and Pearson (2013) observed that as compared with their 1998 workplace research where one quarter of those surveyed had been treated rudely once a week or more, half of the respondents indicated being treated rudely at least once a week in their research conducted over a decade later. Rudeness at work has been shown to occur not only in US workplaces, but throughout the world (Power et al. 2013). In a large Asian study encompassing six countries and territories, for instance, the large majority of respondents reported experiencing incivility from either their coworkers or their superiors at least once in the previous year (Yeung and Griffin 2008). Thus, workplace incivility is not merely an oddity in select local settings; instead, it occurs all too frequently internationally to the detriment of all.

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