‘The Nature and Implications of Perceived Face Threats in Public Workplace Incivility Incidents’
by Arzu Wasti
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Research that documents negative effects of workplace incivility for the targets mostly focuses on target-instigator dyad, and understanding of contextual factors on appraisals and responses of individuals remains limited. By adopting a social interactionist perspective, we studied public workplace incivility, incivility experienced in the presence of others, in its social context by considering relative effects of instigators, targets and witnesses. With two studies, a vignette experiment and a qualitative study, we showed that public incivility is appraised more negatively than private incivility, incivility experienced without witnesses. Moreover, our qualitative data revealed that public incivility triggered different face threats depending on the power of witnesses. We also observed that both instigator power and witness power jointly shaped target’s responses to disrespectful treatments. Overall, the results indicated a complex picture of workplace incivility appraisal affected from multiple contextual factors simultaneously.