Accounting for within-person differences in how people respond to daily incivility at work

Larissa Beattie*, Barbara Griffin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated employees' behavioural responses to incivility, a form of interpersonal mistreatment, across time. Having established substantial within-person differences in the way individuals responded to incidents, we examined how appraisals of severity and blame, the relative status of instigator, and target personality affected how a target responded on a given day. Perceived severity of the critical incident significantly predicted whether or not a target engaged in negative behaviour towards the instigator, negative behaviour towards others, support seeking, and forgiveness. Neither the hierarchical status of the instigator relative to the target, nor the target's attributions of blame for the specific incident predicted an individual's responses to that incident. Target neuroticism predicted three response categories: ignore/avoid the instigator, respond negatively to the instigator, and seek support. Neuroticism also significantly moderated the within-person relationship between the perceived severity of an uncivil event and two daily responses: ignore/avoid the instigator and forgive the instigator. The results are discussed in terms of their practical implications for understanding how and why individuals respond to acts of incivility at work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-644
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014

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