What is it about?

Have you ever experienced rudeness or discourtesy from others at work? Experiencing workplace incivility can be detrimental for our wellbeing and our attitudes towards our jobs and organizations. We proposed a dual path model that explains how stress and reduced commitment act as two different mechanisms that link experiencing incivility to wellbeing and job attitudes. Instead of collecting new data, we used data from 246 studies published between 1999 and 2021 to test the model using meta-analytical methods. We found support for our model in relation to emotional exhaustion and somatic complaints through stress, and job satisfaction and turnover intentions through reduced commitment to the organization. However, the dual path model did not explain the strong association (a correlation of .71) between experiencing and enacting incivility in the workplace. What does that strong association mean? We discuss it in terms of patriarchal and masculinity contest cultures in organizations.

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Why is it important?

Now that the research on incivility has proliferated, the Dual Path Model of Experienced Workplace Incivility explains the mechanisms through which experiencing incivility relates to occupational well-being and other organizational metrics. We hope that this model, meta-analytically supported, helps to synthesize and explain existing research findings, advances theory and serves as a guide for future research.


As occupational health psychologists, we have the resources to design organizational development processes for promoting positive social capital (Baker & Dutton, 2007) consisting of personal relationships with high-quality connections and reciprocity at work. Using the discourse of the victim precipitation theory, we fail to notice the precipitation factors created by the actual organizational context that set employees up to predate on each other (e.g., pitting employees against each other, creating conflicting roles and expectations, rewarding competitive behaviors; Köhler et al., 2018). Previous research on masculinity context cultures (MCC; Berdahl et al., 2018) characterizes organizational cultures according to varying levels of toxic masculinity values. We offer the possibility that workplace incivility may be a symptom that emerges when organizations, based on MCCs and built on kyriarchal societal systems (i.e., intersectional systems of oppression, domination, and submission, Schüssler Fiorenza, 1992), cannot adapt to the current challenges of engaging a more diverse and inclusive workforce. The implication is that solutions should rise above the individual or group-level, and involve a transformative effort with bottom-up and top-down practices that disrupt toxic organizational cultures. We can use relational theory and practices characterized by connection, interdependence, collectivity, empathy, mutual empowerment, vulnerability, and mutual responsibility (Fletcher, 1998) and consistent with empirical research approaches such as companionate love cultures (Barsade & O’Neill, 2014). The ultimate goal should be to displace the toxic precipitation factors of MCCs (Berdahl et al., 2018) and to increase the positive social capital that enables respectful engagement (Dutton, 2003) as relational behavior that conveys presence, communicates affirmation, listens effectively, and communicates supportively (Dutton, 2003) and that prevents disrespectful and uncivil interactions.

M. Gloria Gonzalez-Morales
Claremont Graduate University

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This page is a summary of: A meta-analysis of experienced incivility and its correlates: Exploring the dual path model of experienced workplace incivility., Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, May 2022, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/ocp0000326.
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