Center for Executive Education (CEE)


Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management


Dr. Shahid Mir

Project Type

PGD Project Report

Executive Summary

Understanding workplace incivility has become a burning topic in the past years and this can be evidenced by the increasing number of scholarly articles/comments on social media and the increase in counseling services offered on and off the workplace. Workplace incivility is defined as low-intensity deviant behavior with ambiguous intent to harm the target (Anderson and Pearson, 1999). Incivility is carried out by the people and to the people in the organization. We found many articles on this topic that have been conducted overseas, but not in Pakistan. During our literature review, we found a questionnaire named “Uncivil Workplace Behavior Questionnaire (UWBQ)” which we customized for our research to be used in Pakistan. In addition, we also included some qualitative and quantitative questions.

We learned that there were three distinct types of incivility: experienced incivility, witnessed incivility, and, Instigated (or prompted) incivility.

Workplace incivility may lead to ‘the business invisible cost/loss’. Anderson and Pearson first introduced the concept of the incivility spiral. We studied from various perspectives: societal, legal, and academic. Also, during our literature review, we learned about the worker and Organizational Antecedents and Outcomes Framework.

As per the literature review, the key leaders of the organizations, such as Human Resources Personnel or Team Leaders may take the following steps: define and standardize incivility, provide managers with effective tools to manage incivility before it spirals out of control, and study workplace incivility separately for each department: the results may vary within an organization

Forty respondents were approached belonging to healthcare companies in Karachi where the majority were less than 35 years of age and with less than 10 years of experience. The questionnaire had 10 (ten) sections: Interruptions, Abusive Supervision, Inappropriate jokes, Alienation (Social exclusion), Free-riding / Social Loafing, Gossip / Rumors, Hostility, Lack of Respect, Inconsiderate and Verbal Attacks.

Through the survey it was learned that respondents most frequently get interrupted in meetings by supervisors, respondents agree that their boss shouted at them, jokes were made at the minority group, professional jealousies play an important role in social exclusion, people taking credit for work they did not conduct and gossiping was the favorite past time. However, respondents defended the organization when other employees were criticizing it, which is a positive sign.

It was concluded that Healthcare Industry was very stressful where every nanosecond led to a life and death situation. However, even then we must all respect each other and adhere to being civil n the workplace.

In order to ensure ‘workplace civility’, it was recommended that the Human Resources leaders should build a mechanism and a system commencing from the recruitment and selection phase of an employee, during the implementation of the Performance Management System and via training and development. In addition, many companies can also introduce a ‘hotline’ via phone or through email for the management to manage.

Workplace Incivility.pdf (617 kB)

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