Workplace Incivility and Commitment in Student Affairs




Pantano, Laura Christine

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Over the past two decades there has been an increased interest in research on interpersonal mistreatment in the workplace and its influence on organizations (Schilpzand, De Pater, & Erez, 2016). The majority of research has focused on physical, active and direct forms of inappropriate behaviors at work, however, the most prominent form of interpersonal mistreatment is a less intense form commonly referred to as incivility.

Andersson and Pearson (1999) used the term workplace incivility to identify "low-intensity deviant behavior with ambiguous intent to harm the target, in violation of workplace norms for mutual respect. Uncivil behaviors are characteristically rude and discourteous, displaying a lack of regard for others" (p. 457). Experiences with workplace incivility have resulted in a lack of collaboration, increased stress and depression, decreased health and well-being, high rates of absenteeism of employees and turnover.

The purpose of this quantitative study was to identify the frequency of workplace incivility among different groups in student affairs professional settings and the relationship of this phenomenon on an individual's commitment to their current position, institution and the Student Affairs profession. Data analysis found that 96.2% of Student Affairs professionals have experienced workplace incivility at varying levels in the past year. The analysis also found a significant relationship between workplace incivility and commitment to the current position, current institution, and profession. Implications of the findings suggest the need for conversations within the Student Affairs profession on how to best address incidents of workplace incivility and what actions should be taken to create civil and welcoming work environments.


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college, commitment, departure, incivility, student affairs, workplace



Educational Leadership and Policy Studies