The Current Crisis

Employees’ health, satisfaction, engagement, and productivity reflect the quality of their social contacts at work. People want to belong to dynamic and supportive teams, but reality too often falls short of this ideal.

Recent attention and legal clout has been focused on addressing blatant forms of mistreatment (bullying and abuse). But the small stuff matters as well.

Workplace incivility comprises a wide range of behavior others experience as disrespectful, thoughtless, or rude. People may consciously intend to offend others with their behavior or they may fail to appreciate the impact of their behavior on others. Either way incivility undermines a workgroup’s culture.

People shrug off occasional rudeness. Problems arise when incivility and disrespect become embedded in a workgroup’s culture, making them dysfunctional.

What to do?

The framework for addressing civility problems:


  • Establish means to assess a workgroup’s social culture with regard to civility, incivility, and other forms of mistreatment.
  • Understand the management, social, and personal factors that influence a workgroup’s social culture.
  • Appreciate the impact of incivility on employees’ psychological wellbeing and productivity.


  • Identify everyone’s contribution to enhancing workplace civility: senior leaders, first line managers, employees all have something to contribute.


  • Individual: Develop your personal capacity for civility, respectful behavior.
  • Workgroup: CREW (Civility, Respect, and Engagement at Work) facilitates a process of workgroups improving their social environment.
  • Organization: Establish ongoing assessments of workgroup civility with definitive options for addressing problems and acknowledging successes.

Links to Action:

CREW: (Civility, Respect, and Engagement at Work)is an evidence-based intervention to enhance the level of civility and respect in workgroups. It is effective and the results endure.

Classroom Civility: Contemporary classrooms bring together students and instructors from diverse backgrounds and generations. It is not reasonable to assume that they implicitly agree on proper classroom comportment. This workshop prompts a guided conversation for developing a vibrant classroom culture.

Civility Workshop Handout: Initiate the conversation on civility and respect at your workplace. This handy PDF introduces an interactive workshop guiding participants through reflection on their workplace experiences.

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