Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2021

Abstract

While much is known about the prevalence and impact of incivility in the workplace, relatively less is known about those who instigate workplace incivility. This research aims to investigate incivility instigation through a moral lens by examining the roles of other-condemning moral emotions (contempt, disgust, and anger) and appraisals of coworkers’ morality as predictors of this behavior at work. In Study 1, we used structural equation modeling to analyze two waves of self-report data collected from a sample of 447 full-time United States (U.S.) working adults. Findings from this study indicate that appraising coworkers as low in morality elicited feelings of contempt, disgust, and anger. However, only contempt predicted incivility instigation and mediated the relationship between appraising coworkers as low in morality and instigating incivility. In Study 2, we collected self-report data from a sample of 309 full-time U.S. workers using a critical incident technique. Structural equation modeling was used to analyze the data. Results from Study 2 replicated the association between low morality appraisals and contempt, anger, and disgust found in Study 1. However, anger predicted incivility instigation and mediated the relationship between appraising coworkers as low in morality and instigating incivility. Additionally, contempt and perceived civility norms had an interactive effect on instigated incivility. These studies provide insight into the roles of contempt, disgust, and anger in predicting incivility instigation, suggesting that employees may engage in incivility to condemn others who engage in moral transgressions. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Publication Title

Journal of Business Ethics

DOI

10.1007/s10551-021-04955-5

Available for download on Wednesday, September 28, 2022

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