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Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Management

Year Degree Awarded

2015

Month Degree Awarded

September

Abstract

Over the last decade there has been increasing interest in incivility in the workplace. Workplace incivility has been defined as low-level, ambiguous, negative behaviors which are rude and discourteous and display a lack of regard for others (Andersson & Pearson, 1999). It has been suggested that incivility may, in some instances, be a manifestation of racism in the workplace (Cortina, 2008). However, research on the relationship between race and incivility has produced equivocal findings. One explanation for the lack of support may stem from the manner in which incivility has been conceptualized. To date, most research on incivility has been conducted using samples predominately comprised of white Americans. Few studies have specifically explored how Black Americans conceptualize and experience incivility. This omission may contribute to a conceptualization of incivility that is incomplete.

In order to address this gap, I conducted a mixed-methods study. The primary goals of this study were: (1) explore the domain of race-based incivility, with a specific focus on Black Americans; (2) create a race-based incivility scale that captures uncivil behavior that may be specific to the experiences of Black Americans; and (3) conduct preliminary testing of the new scale to extend past research on incivility. In phase 1, seventeen interviews were conducted. The purpose of these interviews was to expand and refine the conceptualization of incivility to better reflect the experiences of Black Americans. Using data from these interviews an expanded workplace incivility scale was created. Phase 2 involved administering the survey and testing the scale’s reliability and validity. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were conducted and resulted in a six-factor scale. Regression analyses results indicate that stress is positively correlated to incivility. Career satisfaction was also tested with mixed results. Finally, gender was found to be significantly correlated with incivility with female respondents reporting a higher frequency of incivility.

Findings from this research provide an important first step towards better understanding incivility as a potential manifestation of contemporary racism. Further, the results from this study contribute to the management literature by expanding our understanding of the experiences of Black Americans in the workplace.

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