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‘Workplace Incivility’ Very High

MARION, Ind., Aug. 8 (UPI) — Incivility in the workplace is “growing and prevalent” as companies lay off workers while expecting to keep productivity up, a U.S. psychologist suggests.

Jeannie Trudel of Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion said academics define workplace incivility as “a form of organizational deviance … characterized by low-intensity behaviors that violate respectful workplace norms, appearing vague as to intent to harm” — in other words, rudeness, insults and plain old bad manners.

“Seventy-five percent to 80 percent of people have experienced incivility. It’s a growing and prevalent problem,” Trudel told USA Today. “It’s very hard to target because you don’t really know if someone actually means to be rude or if it’s just off the cuff, so it’s an insidious problem. There are very, very negative effects of accumulated minor stresses.”

Trudel and study co-author Paul Fairlie of Toronto found 86 percent of 289 workers at three Midwestern companies reported incivility at work.

“White-collar work is becoming a little more blue-collar. There’s higher work demands, longer hours. When you control for inflation, people are getting paid less than in the late ’60s,” Fairlie said. “A lot of people are working much harder. They’ve got fluid job descriptions and less role clarity. So for some people, for a growing fringe, work is becoming more toxic.”

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