January 22, 2010
I’m always watching for global attitudes toward incivility – and since I do a lot of teaching and exec developoment electronically, cyber findings are key. I was delighted to find the recent work out of Singapore by Lim and Teo who take a close look at incivility in the cyber world.
Their findings? Rude e-communication leads to employee dissatisfaction, loss of commitment to work, and increased desire to quit. Study participants working for male bosses were more likely to experience what Lim/Teo called “active incivility” (e.g., directly hurtful, condescending, or demeaning emails). For those reporting to female supervisors, “passive incivility” was more prevalent (e.g., lack of email acknowledgements, using email for time-sensitive material). Lim and Teo pressed how important netiquette actually is. Since cyber connections lack immediate follow-up and non-verbals, tone is critical.
Fantastic to see further branching of incivility research!
January 7, 2010
Happy New Year! I hope 2010 ushers in a decade of greater, more consistent civility.
What a way to start the new year! CBB has received extraordinary praise from Tom Peters. He’s ranked CBB #2 in his list of management books of the year! With the numbers and varieties of mgmt books of 2009, we take that as high, high praise from one of our favorite gurus. Particularly we love his summary: “this is not a ‘be good’ book, it’s a ‘make money’ book.”
We’re grateful for the thousands of stories we have already heard that enrich the core of our research. We want to keep the pipeline open. So, let us know your successes and challenges regarding employee-to-employee behavior in your workplace. We can all continue to learn from each other through this exchange.
Thank you and, again, here’s to a more civil 2010!
Individuals and organizations are doing a lot more talking about the consequences/costs of incivility today, but action seems slow to follow. Perhaps yesterday’s stance by Senator John McCain will help to quell the frequently uncivil tone that seems to surround the health care debate. (Link to MSNBC “McCain Evicts Yelling Woman from Town Hall” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32577833/ns/politics-health_care_reform/ )
Whenever I present a lengthy list of workplace incivilities, the one that draws the most attention is texting/checking email during meetings. Even when I’m speaking overseas, this item gets the most push-back. Generally, a very vocal group (about 20%, whether in Albuquerque or Amman) claim that (a) it’s the only way they can get all of their work done, (b) everybody else does it, (c) there’s nothing offensive about it or (d) all of the above. So what’s the problem?
I always turn to the group at large and about 75% (including some who admit that they do it all the time) acknowledge that they find such behavior uncivil, disrespectful. Their argument: texting/checking email conveys more importance to the email than to the meeting…or to the people holding the meeting. For some, maybe that’s reason enough to re-evaluate this habit. Others might want to think about the ‘stupid’ factor: research has shown that “Multitasking Makes You Stupid” http://www.ccbi.cmu.edu/news/WallStreetJournalFeb2003-Multitasking.doc (thanks to Karen Brown for this resource) - more precisely, when you’re trying to do two things at once (like taking part in a meeting and clearing email), research shows it’s not only less effective, it’s also less efficient.
In our work, we hear dramatic tales of personal, professional and financial losses. Our desire to help improve these situations keeps us focused on the dark side of organizational life. But, today, the official release day of The Cost of Bad Behavior, our perspective is filled with anticipation, high spirits, and heartfelt gratitude.
First, thanks to the thousands of you who have shared your experiences of workplace incivility with us - your candor and your resilience (even when you don’t see yourselves that way) inspire us to keep aiming for better relationships at work. Then, thanks to our friends and families, academic colleagues and publishing advisors - you motivate, reinforce and stretch us more than you might imagine. Finally, thanks to those of you who are newly examining our work - above all, we hope you find it richly grounded and practical for your particular needs.
Many people claim that theirs is the most uncivil work environment out there. In support, they provide specific dramatic examples from their home turf.
When we’re asked, we tend to claim that bad behavior cuts across all industries because, well, that’s precisely what our data show - and that the burn of proximity can make everyone believe their own settings must be the worst.
But, what do you think? Based on your personal experiences and observations - - what would it take for an industry (yours or another) to “win” that title?
Audio clips from Thunderbird School of Global Management (15 May,
2009): Christine Pearson discussed issues from The Cost of Bad Behavior at
Thunderbird School of Global Management. Listen to the audio clips from
that lecture at THUNDERBIRD.EDU or click below:
Part 1: Research Origins: From workplace homicide to incivility (02:27)
Part 2: Incivility Defined: What it looks like (04:22)
Part 3: Incivility Costs: How it hurts your business (02:17)
Part 4: Habitual Incivility: Beware of repeat offenders (02:21)
Part 5: Coping with Incivility: What to do about it (03:11)