Knowledge@Wharton: Kick Incivility Out of the Workplace

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Christine Porath, author and associate professor of management at Georgetown, discusses civility in the workplace with Knowledge@Wharton.

Lack of civility in the workplace is a growing problem that, left unchecked, can lead to serious problems for both the company and its employees, said Christine Porath, author and associate professor of management at Georgetown, during an interview with Knowledge@Wharton.

Rampant incivility not only makes the work environment tense, but can also lead to a drop in productivity and even cause serious health issues to those involved.


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According to Porath, the most common reason people give for this behavior is being too stressed or overloaded at work. Also, the ongoing growth in e-mail communication sometimes causes issues. This is due to neither party being able to hear the other’s tone of voice or see facial expressions.

She also noted that the most common cases are between a manager and an employee. Porath, though, believes it is possible to reverse this trend.

“I’ve definitely seen leaders in organizations go from being fairly uncivil to winning awards for best places to work,” she said. “The first step is to make a commitment.”

Listen to the entire interview at Knowledge@Wharton by clicking here.

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