Ethnicity and cultural values as predictors of the occurrence and impact of experienced workplace incivility

Jennifer L Welbourne, Ashwini Gangadharan, Ana M Sariol
Journal of Occupational Health Psychology 2015, 20 (2): 205-217
Workplace incivility is a subtle type of deviant work behavior that is low in intensity and violates workplace norms of respect. Past research demonstrates the harmful impact of incivility on work attitudes and employee wellbeing; however, little is known about how incivility is experienced by individuals of different ethnicities and cultural orientations. In the current study, we compared the amount and impact of workplace incivility that was experienced by Hispanic and white, non-Hispanic employees. Further, we examined whether cultural dimensions of vertical and horizontal individualism and collectivism moderated the relationships between workplace incivility and work and health outcomes. A sample of 262 university employees (50% Hispanic; 63% female) provided self-reports of experienced incivility, burnout, job satisfaction, and cultural values. Although male Hispanic employees experienced more incivility, female Hispanic employees experienced less incivility than non-Hispanic employees of the same gender. Hispanic employees displayed greater resilience against the impact of incivility on job satisfaction and burnout, compared with non-Hispanic employees. Additionally, employees with strong horizontal collectivism values (emphasizing sociability) were more resilient against the impact of incivility on burnout, whereas employees with strong horizontal individualism values (emphasizing self-reliance) were more susceptible to burnout and dissatisfaction when faced with incivility. These findings suggest that employees' ethnicity and cultural values may increase or decrease their vulnerability to the impact of incivility at work.

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