Individual and organizational factors that predict workplace incivility: Impact on costs, absenteeism, and productivity




Lewis, Patricia Smokler

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Workplace incivility is defined as "low-intensity deviant behavior with ambiguous intent to harm the target, in violation of workplace norms for mutual respect." (Andersson & Pearson, 1999). The nursing research literature on workplace incivility is limited. With the current state of healthcare, nurse leaders are focused on factors that contribute to an unhealthy work environment. It is clear that healthy work environments are associated with superior outcomes.

The purpose of this study was to: (1) Determine individual and organizational factors that contributed to workplace incivility. (2) Examine the impact of workplace incivility on costs, absenteeism, and productivity.

The study was a non-experimental, correlational and predictive model design with staff nurses from the Board of Nursing and professional organizations in Texas. The sample was composed of 659 direct care RNs who were e-mailed and/or sent an anonymous survey. IRB approval was obtained.

The findings of the study demonstrated: (1) Experience with workplace incivility during the last year was 85% while 37% instigated workplace incivility. (2) Nurses' experience with workplace incivility correlated with higher Nurse Incivility Scale (NIS) scores. (3) Years of experience category differed for the supervisor and patient/visitor subscale for GNs compared to nurses with over six years of experience. (4) There was a significant negative relationship between the RNs' perceptions of their manager's ability to handle workplace incivility for all subscales except patient/visitor. (5) There was a negative relationship related to productivity for all Work Limitation Questionnaire (WLQ) subscales except physical and the NIS subscales. (6) The type of unit did relate to the NIS scores. Ors had higher incivility scores except for the patient subscale. (7) Scores on the patient/visitor subscale predicted absences from work. (8) The financial impact of workplace incivility due to lost productivity was $11,581/nurse annually.

In summary, there are significant issues related to this subtle form of workplace violence. Healthy work environments are a healthcare imperative. Nurse Leaders are the pivotal people who must ensure a healthy work environment.



Health and environmental sciences, Social sciences, Absenteeism, Costs, Productivity, Workplace incivility