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Cultural influences on normative reactions to incivility: comparing individuals from South Korea and Spain

Chanki Moon (School of Social Science, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK and School of Psychology, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK)
Ángel Sánchez‐Rodríguez (Centro de Investigación Mente Cerebro y Comportamiento (CIMCYC), University of Granada, Granada, Spain, and University of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain)

International Journal of Conflict Management

ISSN: 1044-4068

Article publication date: 10 September 2020

Issue publication date: 6 April 2021




Antecedents and influences of workplace incivility have recently been studied in many areas of research but there is still a lack of consideration for the impact of culture. Theoretical considerations for the present research are based on the cultural dimensions of power distance and tightness/looseness because the collective levels of power distance are similar between Korea and Spain, but the collective levels of tightness/looseness are different between the two countries. The purpose of this paper is to examine whether individuals’ occupational position affects their normative reactions to incivility differently.


Participant (victim)’s (those who react to uncivil behaviors) social power (low vs high) and perpetrator’s (those who exhibit uncivil behaviors) social power (low vs high) were experimentally manipulated; all participants were randomly assigned to one of four perpetrator × victim conditions in relation to hierarchical positions (Ntot = 467).


The results suggest that the level of social and personal acceptability was greater either among Koreans than Spanish at a collective level or among people who endorsed higher power distance and tightness values. All in all, the findings highlight cultural influences on the importance of social hierarchy as a factor that can impact the people’s normative reactions to incivility.


The findings broaden our understanding of the psychology of employees in relation to incivility, by simultaneously considering the influences of culture (power distance and tightness/looseness) and social power.



Moon, C. and Sánchez‐Rodríguez, Á. (2021), "Cultural influences on normative reactions to incivility: comparing individuals from South Korea and Spain", International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 292-314.



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