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06 Oct 2015

Managers, for a pleasant workplace, be nice

Workplace incivility is rampant and on the rise, with costs to individuals and organizations. Despite the increased need for civility, little is known about potential individual benefits of civility, defined as behaviour involving politeness and regard for others in the workplace.

Alexandra Gerbasi, researcher for the Social Networks team, and her co-authors conducted an analysis on the R&D department of a biotechnology firm and observed civility, work advice and leadership.

A study based on social exchange theory : how do people benefits from civility ?

First, they found that people who perceived a colleague as civil would be more likely to seek that person out for work advice and to see that person as a leader. The more the individual was perceived as civil by others in their network, the better their performance. In a second experiment, they extended their understanding of what drove these benefits. They found that people who are civil were perceived as warm and competent, and these positive perceptions, in turn, helped to explain the benefits garnered.

Did you know that ?

  • Incivility and negative interactions have sizeable costs for organizations: up to $6 billion per year.
  • In 1998, 25% of employees said they were being treated rudely at work at least once a week. Today it’s 50%!
  • Throughout history, civil behavior has been extolled because it paid dividends to the person who behaved well.