Management Faculty Publications and Presentations

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Workplace incivility refers to low-intensity negative behaviors that violate workplace norms of respect. Incivility is known to be a type of stressor in the workplace, with recent research drawing attention to how it may differentially affect employees with varying personality traits. Drawing from a stressor–strain theoretical framework, we examined the moderating effects of four of the Big Five personality traits (agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and extraversion) on the relationship between individuals’ experienced incivility and their subsequent emotional exhaustion and perpetrated incivility toward others in the organization. Results from a 2-wave survey of 252 working adults indicate that personality traits moderated the relationship between the stressor of experienced incivility and the examined strains. Agreeableness strengthened the relationship between experienced incivility and the strains examined here. On the other hand, highly conscientious employees were less likely (than employees scoring low on this trait) to perpetrate incivility toward others or become emotionally exhausted in response to experiencing incivility. No moderating effects were found for the personality traits of neuroticism and extraversion. Implications for research and practice are discussed.


© 2020, American Psychological Association. Original published version available at

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International Journal of Stress Management





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