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J Occup Health Psychol. 2009 Jul;14(3):272-88. doi: 10.1037/a0014934.

Patterns and profiles of response to incivility in the workplace.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1043, USA. lilia@umich.edu


The authors draw on stress and coping theory to understand patterns of individual response to workplace incivility. According to data from 3 employee samples, incivility tended to trigger mildly negative appraisals, which could theoretically differentiate incivility from other categories of antisocial work behavior. Employees experiencing frequent and varied incivility from powerful instigators generally appraised their uncivil encounters more negatively. They responded to this stressor using a multifaceted array of coping strategies, which entailed support seeking, detachment, minimization, prosocial conflict avoidance, and assertive conflict avoidance. These coping reactions depended on the target's appraisal of the situation, the situation's duration, and the organizational position and power of both target and instigator. Implications for organizational science and practice are discussed.

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