Psychology Ph.D. Dissertations


Is it them? Or is it you? Examining Perceptions of Workplace Incivility Based on Personality Characteristics

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Clare Barratt (Advisor)

Second Advisor

Angela Nelson (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Steve Jex (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Yiwei Chen (Committee Member)


Despite a wealth of research on the antecedents and outcomes of workplace incivility, little is known about the effect of individual differences on perceptions of incivility. The current study sought to examine whether personality and additional individual difference characteristics were predictive of perceptions of incivility. A sample of 295 working adults were exposed to vignettes depicting workplace interactions that could be interpreted as uncivil, and were asked to rate the degree to which each of these were perceived as rude, as well as to describe how they would hypothetically respond to a subset of these items. Results indicated that conscientiousness, narcissism, and hostile attribution bias were positively related to perceptions of incivility. Qualitative analysis demonstrated that the majority of participants would not escalate the described situations. Analyses additionally demonstrated that customer- and coworker-perpetrated incivility were perceived as more uncivil than supervisor incivility. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings for future incivility research are discussed.