Psychology Ph.D. Dissertations


Incidence and Attributions of Uncivil Events: Should they be Studied Separately?

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Michael Zickar

Second Advisor

David Jackson

Third Advisor

John Tisak (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Steve Jex (Committee Member)


Workplace incivility is defined as the violation of workplace norms for mutual respect that leads to corruption of cooperation, motivation, and empathy. Incivility is typically measured by frequency of experienced incivility. Recently, some researchers (Cortina, et al., 2001; Cortina, 2008) have studied exposure to incivility in addition to attributions of the uncivil event. Drawing on research in sexual harassment, exposure and attribution are categorized as distinct constructs with separate nomological networks. However, the utility of separating the two components of incivility has not been explored. This study focused on the utility of examining incivility as separate constructs versus a unitary incivility construct. A new scale and measurement technique are presented to explore the utility of separating these two constructs. Findings suggest the construct of incivility has been poorly measured and the strength of the relationships with outcome measures may be exaggerated. Additionally, the construct of incivility exhibits unidimensionality when both attribution and exposure are measured simultaneously suggesting a singular construct of incivility (no separation of exposure and attribution) is the correct paradigm.